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George Porter, Anders Osborne & More Boogaloo At NOLA Festival On The Bayou

first_imgRobin Barnes “Tell Me Something Good”George Porter Jr. brought his Runnin‘ Pardners to the main stage for a rump shakin’ set of the bass heavy funk as only he can play.  Taking a moment to honor the recent loss of a friend, Porter dedicated a moving rendition of his song “Talkin’ Bout My Old Friends,” to her memory, along with the many musicians we’ve lost over the last year, from Allen Toussaint to Prince and many more. Check out his spirited tribute below:George Porter & The Runnin’ Pardners – “Talkin’ Bout My Old Friends”Legendary area percussionist and obvious madman Mike Dillon has joined forces with Johnny Vidacovich, James Singleton and Brian Haas to capture the essence of his insanity with the group known as Nolatet. Acting as band leader and whirlwind of motion Dillon burned more calories in a set than most folks do in an entire day. Check out some of his exhausting and chaotic musicianship below in his show opening tune:NolatetJared Zeller, founder of the MotherShip Foundation, took the stage alongside emcee The Voice to thank the crowd for their continued support before turning the mic over to fest closer Anders Osborne. Though not a true native, Osborne has spent the last couple of decades ingraining himself, personally and musically, into the heart and soul of the Crescent City. With special guest, Galactic‘s Stanton Moore on the drums, Osborne brought the crowd to a frenzied crescendo. Have a listen to his dark but moving ode to finality from his collaboration with the North Mississippi All-Stars, “Dyin’ Days,” below:Anders Osborne – “Dyin’ Days”With another successful year closed, the Bayou Boogaloo organizers took pride in their accomplishments, and justly so.  With the noble purpose of reconnecting the families of the then-devastated city with the music and arts that inspire and enrich us all, they have helped heal a wounded city’s spirit. Their hard work and the power of music serve to draw us all together, resulting in a weekend of memories and a sense of community pride that will guide the coming generation to take up these wonderful traditions on their own, and ensure a brighter future for, not just them, but the world. For the eleventh straight year, the Bayou Boogaloo brought the people of New Orleans, LA together for a weekend of music and the arts in a free-to-all celebration of community and hope for the Bayou Saint John neighborhood and the city in general. Founded in 2005, the MotherShip Foundation set out to revitalize a city brought to its knees by Hurricane Katrina.  With an emphasis on togetherness and hope, the Bayou Boogaloo draws heavily on the incredibly rich pool of musicians, along with a few national acts with ties to the area like The Wailers, The Lowrider Band (AKA the legendary funk band WAR), Irma Thomas, Anders Osborne, George Porter Jr., the Nolatet, Soul Brass Band and many more.Closing off a few blocks of the Mid-City neighborhood for the weekend, residents flocked to the block party in record numbers.  Thanks to partnerships with other charitable organizations, special exceptions and grants from the city and the tireless work of Jared Zeller and the board of directors of the MotherShip Foundation, the festival grown exponentially from its noble but humble beginnings.  The diverse lineup featured everything from rock, funk, reggae, zydeco and soul, blaring from speaker stacks and whipping the crowd into a joyful dancing frenzy.One of the more charming and unique features of the festival isn’t on any of the stages, it’s the bayou itself.  Dozens of watercrafts, some barely sea-worthy, floated along the lazy stretch of water that runs along the park. Children run along the banks as the music plays, laughing and pointing to some of the more outrageous floating concoctions. With a strong commitment on bringing in families and giving the kids something fun and just for them, numerous faces painters, jugglers, play areas and a full, dedicated “Kids” tent with a non-stop schedule of daily activities gave pleased parents a place to make memories that will last a lifetime. Load remaining images Friday’s lead-off schedule of bands was the shortest, with the festival waiting until after five to kick things off.  Local rock act The Quickening got one end of the sprawling two city block affair going on the Dumaine Stage, while socially conscious hip hop band Truth Universal brought their positive message of unity and hope to the Orleans Main Stage. Dwayne Dopsie brought his natural born zydeco heritage to the crowd throughout his set. The skies darkened and the opened up with a gentle rain as reggae legends The Wailers kept the party going through the short, tepid cloud burst.  Fans might have been a bit waterlogged, but the smiles on their faces told a story of enjoyment.Dwayne Dopsie & The Zydeco Hellraisers – “Jambalaya>Iko Iko” Area restaurants and caterers brought seemingly endless, delicious local specialities, with pastries, roasted meats and frozen concoctions to help music fans fight any pangs of hunger or thirst. To keep the event free, no outside food or beverages were allowed, but, with such an amazing array of delicacies available, it would have been a crime not to try a taste of the aromatic edibles.Check out a choice sit-in as Rebelution and Runnin’ saxophonist Khris Royal joins his friends in progressive rock band Gravity A for a fun musical sandwich of their original tune Bark and the Paul Simon classic, “50 Ways To Leave Your Lover,” below:Gravity A w/ Khris Royal – “Bark > 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover > Bark” The highlight of the evening was surely the welcome surprised looks on the faces of the audience who didn’t realize the “Lowrider Band” was actually comprised of the majority of beloved seventies era funk band WAR. Upon taking the stage, Howard Scott, guitarist and lead vocalist explained that, for legal reasons, they weren’t allowed to play under the name WAR, but it was perfectly fine for everyone else to call them that. With multiple members of the band maintaining residences in New Orleans, it was something of a hometown show for the band, and they played a non-stop set of all of their most classic tunes. Check out their crowd pleasing opening number, “The Cisco Kid,” below:The Lowrider Band (WAR) – “The Cisco Kid”center_img The duo of Carly Meyers and Adam Gertner, known collectively as ROAR!, made their return to the Boogaloo, and showed why they are a festival favorite with a free-wheeling set of pure charm and positive vibrations.  Check out a bit of their impossible to ignore happiness below:ROAR! Leading off Saturday was a wonderful cross section of area talents, with the Soul Brass Band, the Creole String Beans, Big Pearl & The Fugitives Of Funk and Debbie Davis & The Mesmerizers.  Davis was steeped in rag time jazz traditions and used her rich, sultry voice on a variety of originals and covers, including The Beatles classic “Your Mother Should Know.” Watch below.Debbie Davis & The Mesmerizers – “Your Mother Should Know” With issues of race relations in the public consciousness due to recent tensions across the country, festival promoters were pleased to once again see a truly cross section of humanity gathering together to share in music, the true language of us all. Nowhere was that more evident than in the Greyhawk Band/Rampart Revival set, where two bands and proud members of multiple ethnicities gathered for the purpose of creating something together. Listen to a sample of the wonderful results of their experiment below:The Greyhawk Band & Rampart Revival Sunday’s stages featured another full selection of the many styles and flavors of Nawlins music, with latin tinged Muevelo, Robert Tate, the Red Hot Brass Band and the “Songbird of New Orleans,” Robin Barnes all showing the crowd the many different ways music can be used to spread the same message of love. Check out a few selections of the diverse goings on below: Muevelolast_img read more

Moving Disaster Recovery to the Cloud – When Does it Make Sense?

first_imgIf a business faces a disaster scenario and no longer has access to their data, it is imperative for companies to to be able to recover their data. According to a recent ESG research report, 40% of customers surveyed said they use their cloud infrastructure for disaster recovery.[1] Disaster Recovery (DR) in a traditional data center can be expensive, inefficient, and complex. Dell EMC, working with VMware and Amazon Web Services (AWS), can simplify these complexities through flexibility, scalability, integration, and automation to empower data owners for quick, efficient, and cost effective data recovery.Hans Ammitzbøll, Business Development Manager from Dell EMC, Henry Axelrod, Solutions Architect & Storage Specialist from AWS, and Adam Osterholt, Principal Cloud System Engineer for VMware CloudTM on AWS from VMware, recently presented about the current capabilities of the VMware CloudTM on AWS and how Dell EMC provides exceptional data protection solutions by combining market-leading technologies and easy-to-use management.Customers worldwide trust Dell EMC’s cloud-optimized data protection solutions and AWS to provide a secure cloud infrastructure. A key service that AWS offers for DR workloads is the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), which are virtual servers hosted on AWS cloud. This AWS offering enables customers to easily scale up or down, pay only for what they use, and provides instance types for virtually every workload and business need.VMware CloudTM on AWS is an integrated cloud offering developed by AWS and VMware that delivers a highly scalable and secure service that allows organizations to seamlessly migrate and extend their on-premises VMware VMs to the AWS Cloud running on Amazon EC2 infrastructure. Customers can spin up an entire VMware Software Defined Data Center (SDDC) in a couple of hours, and scale host capacity up and down in minutes. When a customer needs to extend their on-premises data protection to VMware CloudTM on AWS, there are four typical use cases: data center extension, DR, cloud migrations, and next-gen applications. VMware CloudTM on AWS is powered by VMware Cloud Foundation™, a unified SDDC platform that integrates VMware vSphere, VMware Virtual SAN™ and NSX™ virtualization technologies to provide access to the broad range of AWS services. Together, they offer customers a SDDC with the functionality, elasticity, and security customers have come to expect from the AWS Cloud and various offerings. It allows companies to run applications on the cloud without expensive refactoring of code, increase the value of their enterprise applications by giving them access to a broad range of AWS services for integrated application modernization, and capitalize on cloud agility and scale in an operationally consistent and familiar way.Dell EMC has partnered with VMware to deliver the first data protection solution for VMware CloudTM on AWS. With Dell EMC’s enterprise-grade data protection, companies can leverage the same data protection solution of VMware CloudTM workloads as they use for their on-premises workloads. Using one solution to protect hybrid cloud workloads simplifies data management and lowers the total cost of ownership (TCO). The Dell EMC data protection solution also provides customer integration with on-premises data protection, simplifying administration and enabling best-in-class deduplication and automated operations to lower cloud consumption costs.Dell EMC also leverages AWS to provide modern DR of virtualized workloads to lower the costs of legacy brick and mortar DR sites. With Cloud DR, organizations can protect their on-premises backup data residing on Data Domain using Data Protection Suite or through the Integrated Data Protection Appliance (IDPA). This is accomplished by transferring metadata and backing up data securely and efficiently into AWS S3 for VMware DR scenarios while taking advantage of agility and cost effectiveness of cloud object storage. Cloud DR requires minimal footprint in AWS as well as minimal compute cycles, enabling a DR solution at minimal cost. In the event of a disaster, the workloads can be run directly in AWS, or recovered to VMware CloudTM on AWS.  This provides companies with a unique benefit as no backup and recovery infrastructure is needed for AWS recovery.Cloud DR adds value to existing on-premises Dell EMC data protection. Customers can now protect their workloads in AWS S3, and then recover to VMware CloudTM VMs with Cloud DR from Dell EMC. In just 3 clicks to failover, and 2 clicks to failback, Dell EMC enables easy and complete orchestrated DR. Recovery of VMs on VMware CloudTM requires no data conversion and provides rapid recovery of VM images from Amazon S3 using intra-region network where customers can recover VMs in minutes. This solution is also simple to operate, so customers can use familiar on-prem UI and have direct in-cloud access, monitoring, and reporting.There are cost benefits associated with deploying DR in this manner. Its efficient architecture allows customers to extend their on-premise data protection with minimal cloud cost and footprint, while eliminating DR data center costs. Specifically, customers have the option to provision VMware CloudTM’s SDDC on-demand when recovery is needed for cost efficiency. Resources within the cloud are only spun up if the primary data center is not available. This is much less expensive than having hardware up and running constantly within the public cloud.  The resources are then decommissioned when no longer needed. All cloud DR orchestration features are available in both Standard and Advanced deployment models.In today’s data environment, customers require data integrity and flexibility in their data protection solutions. If a disaster happens, quick, efficient, and low-cost recovery is business critical. Together, VMware, AWS, and Dell EMC create a powerful cloud backup and recovery solution. Allowing customers to deploy and scale the right-sized cloud data protection no matter where their data lives can save time and money while reducing their cloud footprint. Dell EMC Data Protection cloud solutions natively tier up to 100 PB of logical capacity to the cloud and can be deployed through Amazon’s cloud marketplace. These solutions protect various workloads including traditional and cloud IaaS / PaaS workloads. They also offer multiple cloud use cases and help reduce monthly in-cloud data protection costs by 50% or more. This is just another example of how Dell EMC, VMware, and AWS are better together.To learn more: https://www.dellemc.com/en-us/data-protection/cloud.htm#scroll=offAdditional ResourcesClick here to watch an On Demand recording of the webinarClick here for Implementing a Sound Multi-Cloud Strategy blogClick here on How Dell EMC and VMware Simplify, Automate, and Protect your OrganizationClick here on how Dell EMC offers data protection in a multi-cloud worldClick here to read what Data Protection Strategies Dell EMC has for a multi-cloud world using VxRail[1] ESG Research Report, Data Protection Cloud Strategies, December 2016last_img read more

University to upgrade printers in dorms

first_imgHeadaches with printer issues should be alleviated by the beginning of next semester. New Xerox 4510 printers will be placed in the residence halls and several other locations on campus, replacing the 3600 model currently in use, said Brian Burchett, manager of Technology Enhanced Learning Spaces for the Office of Information Technology (OIT). “[The problems with printers] happened very quickly last year,” Burchett said. “We were concerned with the Xerox 3600 printers in the residence halls.” The problems occurred when printing PDF files and because students began using the printers more, he said. The University leases the printers from Xerox, and OIT decided to lease the 3600 model after looking at printer usages from previous years. The Xerox 3600 is equipped to handle up to 8,000 pages printed per month, Burchett said. Problems occurred when student printer usage went up by 50 percent this year. The average residence hall printer is now printing 12,000 to 15,000 pages per month, which contributed to printer hardware breaking down, he said. “The 4510 model can handle 25,000 pages per month,” he said. “We’re expecting far fewer mechanical breakdowns.” Junior Kristy Cloetingh said has been printing more this semester from University printers, and said she has noticed other students printing more as well. Printing in DeBartolo Hall seems to be the most troublesome, she said. “It would print one page, take three minutes and then print the next,” she said. “I had to print one document two pages at a time because the printer kept jamming.” PDF file printing was another problem seen this semester and another factor in choosing to upgrade printers, Burchett said. Burchett said the problem with PDF printing came from the printer drivers, which communicate between the computer and printer. The development of new drivers has since helped the situation, as Burchett said print times for one test PDF document on the 3600 model improved from 16 minutes to three minutes. Cloetingh said she and other students have experienced the PDF printing problem firsthand. She said her entire class groaned when a professor asked them to print out PDF articles because of the trouble it would cause. “Professors don’t seem to understand how long it takes,” she said. “But what’s the alternative? When you need to take notes on the article, or need to look back at it in class, it’s hard to bring your laptop to class all day.” Since problems with printers were both hardware and PDF related, OIT decided to upgrade instead of just changing the drivers, Burchett said. “Normally when you lease anything, there are penalties in breaking the lease early. Xerox is allowing us to upgrade [the printers] without any penalties,” he said. “This is very beneficial to the University.” When students return from winter break, Burchett said students will have to test printing and possibly rerun [email protected], the printer installer, if there are problems. For now, students can rerun [email protected] now to get PCL drivers to help with problems until the new printers are installed, he said. Burchett said students should look at printing as a shared resource and read things online, if possible, instead of printing them out. “A lot of people have worked hard on this. We appreciate all the problem reports and student help,” he said. “Printing is an important service on campus and we’re committed to make this a service students can depend on.”last_img read more

International cooperation leads to U.S. financial sanctions against alleged Colombian drug traffickers

first_imgThe two brothers remain at large – but now, thanks to international cooperation between Colombia and the United States, they’re facing strict financial penalties. On November 6, the U.S. Treasury Department named them as Specially Designated Narcotics Traffickers (SDNTs) under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act). It also sanctioned Germán’s business, Compra Venta Gerpez, an import and resale company in the city of Tuluá in the Department of Valle del Cauca. For more than a decade, Colombian Germán Alberto Pérez Ocampo has allegedly supplied cocaine to major international drug trafficking groups, including Los Cachiros in Honduras, the Clan Úsuga in Colombia, and the Sinaloa Cartel, La Familia Michocana, and the Beltrán Leyva Organization, which are Mexican transnational criminal enterprises. “Despite being a prominent narcotics trafficker, Germán Alberto Pérez Ocampo evaded law enforcement for more than a decade,” Adam J. Szubin, the director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), said in a prepared statement. “His work supplying cocaine to many of the most violent drug cartels targeted by the U.S. government underscores his global reach, and it is time that he is brought to justice.” Since June 2000, Treasury officials have named more than 1,600 individuals and entities under the Kingpin Act, according to the Treasury Department. Penalties for violations of the Kingpin Act range from civil fines of up to $1.075 million (USD) to more severe criminal penalties. Criminal penalties for corporate officers may include up to 30 years in prison and fines up to $5 million (USD). The two brothers remain at large – but now, thanks to international cooperation between Colombia and the United States, they’re facing strict financial penalties. On November 6, the U.S. Treasury Department named them as Specially Designated Narcotics Traffickers (SDNTs) under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act). It also sanctioned Germán’s business, Compra Venta Gerpez, an import and resale company in the city of Tuluá in the Department of Valle del Cauca. “Despite being a prominent narcotics trafficker, Germán Alberto Pérez Ocampo evaded law enforcement for more than a decade,” Adam J. Szubin, the director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), said in a prepared statement. “His work supplying cocaine to many of the most violent drug cartels targeted by the U.S. government underscores his global reach, and it is time that he is brought to justice.” This announcement comes less than two months after it imposed financial sanctions on eight alleged leaders of La Oficina de Envigado, an organized crime group based in Medellin. The Treasury identified the eight suspects as: Juan Carlos Mesa Vallejo, Julián Andrey González Vásquez, Diego Alberto Muñoz Agudelo, Freyner Alfonso Ramírez García, Jesús David Hernández Grisales, Rubiel Medina Cardona, Didier de Jesús Ríos López and Edinson Rodolfo Rojas. By Dialogo November 13, 2014 For more than a decade, Colombian Germán Alberto Pérez Ocampo has allegedly supplied cocaine to major international drug trafficking groups, including Los Cachiros in Honduras, the Clan Úsuga in Colombia, and the Sinaloa Cartel, La Familia Michocana, and the Beltrán Leyva Organization, which are Mexican transnational criminal enterprises. And in June, the Treasury Department designated La Oficina de Envigado as an SDNT. La Oficina engages in narco-trafficking, extortion, and murder-for-hire, according to the Treasury Department. “Germán Alberto Pérez Ocampo is one of the last remaining ‘old guard’ drug traffickers in Colombia,” said A. D. Wright, acting special agent in charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Miami field division. “Through his criminal association with high level Mexican drug traffickers, Germán Alberto Pérez Ocampo was able to export multi-ton kilo quantities of cocaine.” Meanwhile, his brother, Santiago Pérez Ocampo, has worked as German’s enforcer, and is suspected of helping him run his drug enterprise, according to Colombian and U.S. authorities. The U.S. Treasury worked cooperatively with the Mexican federal government and the DEA to impose the sanctions. “Germán Alberto Pérez Ocampo is one of the last remaining ‘old guard’ drug traffickers in Colombia,” said A. D. Wright, acting special agent in charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Miami field division. “Through his criminal association with high level Mexican drug traffickers, Germán Alberto Pérez Ocampo was able to export multi-ton kilo quantities of cocaine.” Since June 2000, Treasury officials have named more than 1,600 individuals and entities under the Kingpin Act, according to the Treasury Department. Penalties for violations of the Kingpin Act range from civil fines of up to $1.075 million (USD) to more severe criminal penalties. Criminal penalties for corporate officers may include up to 30 years in prison and fines up to $5 million (USD). The U.S. Treasury worked cooperatively with the Mexican federal government and the DEA to impose the sanctions. This announcement comes less than two months after it imposed financial sanctions on eight alleged leaders of La Oficina de Envigado, an organized crime group based in Medellin. The Treasury identified the eight suspects as: Juan Carlos Mesa Vallejo, Julián Andrey González Vásquez, Diego Alberto Muñoz Agudelo, Freyner Alfonso Ramírez García, Jesús David Hernández Grisales, Rubiel Medina Cardona, Didier de Jesús Ríos López and Edinson Rodolfo Rojas. And in June, the Treasury Department designated La Oficina de Envigado as an SDNT. La Oficina engages in narco-trafficking, extortion, and murder-for-hire, according to the Treasury Department. Meanwhile, his brother, Santiago Pérez Ocampo, has worked as German’s enforcer, and is suspected of helping him run his drug enterprise, according to Colombian and U.S. authorities. last_img read more

Training Boosts U.S. Response Capabilities in the Americas

first_imgBy Story by U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Osvaldo Equite, Special Operations Command South March 20, 2018 Within minutes, an elite multinational security force team managed to close with and overwhelm armed groups hiding along Panama’s Caribbean shores and remote jungle locations. The team’s mission success however, would depend on the next 100 or so split-second decisions made – under fire and stress – between team members that had only met weeks before. Still, the team freed all simulated hostages, while successfully culminating a month-long training exchange between U.S. Special Operations Forces and Panamanian security counterparts held January 5-February 6, 2018, throughout Panama. “The Joint Combined Exchange Training improved the readiness of assigned quick reaction forces with Special Operations Command South by developing capabilities needed when responding to a crisis alongside partner nation security forces,” said U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Marcus Hunter, Special Operations liaison officer with U.S. Special Operations Command, in Panama City, Panama. Participating U.S. SOF units improved their overall competencies in marksmanship, small unit tactics training, air and maritime operations, communications, and sustained interoperability with counterparts by exchanging techniques, tactics, and procedures, while enhancing service members’ language proficiency in Spanish. SOCSOUTH integrated U.S. SOF units from the Air Force, Army, and Navy to train alongside elite Panamanian counterterrorism units in coordination with the U.S. Embassy in Panama City and Panamanian security forces. Nothing like back home Although U.S. SOF train regularly at their home station units in preparation for contingencies in the Americas, JCETs provide training opportunities not easily replicated stateside. “Every day was about learning something new, even if it was just a small interaction with our counterparts in Spanish,” said U.S. Air Force Technical Sergeant Gordon Boyer, a radio frequency transmission specialist with the 6th Special Operations Squadron, Hurlburt Field, Florida. For weeks, Tech. Sgt. Boyer, a Michigan native responsible for the maintenance and repair of communications equipment, relied on his working proficiency in Spanish to work side-by-side with his counterparts on a daily basis. “We dove into the manuals for hours, figuring things out together,” he said, recalling an instance where he enabled communications between Panamanian air support, U.S. and partner nation ground forces. “We figured out the best way for us to accomplish our missions every day, using what we had and speaking with the little we both knew,” he added. Tech Sgt. Boyer noted that the interactions really tested his Spanish and his counterpart’s English. Like Tech Sgt. Boyer, Spanish is a second language for the majority of the American exercise participants. Only a third of the service members who took part in the training were fluent, with the rest having a minimal working proficiency in the language. “That’s why training like this is so important. We get a full language and cultural immersion we wouldn’t get back home,” said Matt, a senior Special Forces weapons sergeant with the 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), out of Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, who for security reasons spoke on condition of anonymity. The first time many junior service members gain valuable experiences in leadership, mentorship, instruction, and advisory roles is also during joint combined training. “The first opportunity I had being a team leader was during a previous JCET, where I was responsible for leading a group of partner nation members as we conducted training,” said the Special Forces sergeant, who has deployed eight times, with this trip being his first to Panama. “It was during a prior JCET that I was also put in charge as a ground convoy commander for the first time,” he added. “With little prior experience in such a position I put together a plan, thought of all the obstacles we might come across, and began to develop contingencies for a two-hour movement. The contingencies included coordination with an air element.” Additionally, U.S. SOF tackle logistics, communications, and transportation hurdles on a daily basis during joint combined training that begins as soon as they arrive in country. “That’s another benefit to this training, working through and finding solutions to the day-to-day real-world problems that you do not encounter back home,” said the Special Forces sergeant. Beyond the training Aside from boosting U.S. force’s response capabilities in the Americas, this exchange training also strengthened working relationships and built trust between the elite forces. This not only saves valuable time in being able to make split-second decisions during training, but also when working together in the event of a crisis. “These relationships and trust can help reduce the scope and duration of a crisis and increase the likelihood our partners can respond to crises on their own,” said U.S. Navy Admiral Kurt W. Tidd, U.S. Southern Command commander, before a Senate Armed Services Committee in 2017. Similarly, the most rewarding aspect of the training for many of the exchange participants was building professional relationships needed if they are one day called to work alongside each other. “Our mission is to execute high-risk operations in urban areas and to intervene against sabotage against the canal,” said Captain Javier Bethancourt, deputy operations officer with the Panamanian National Police (PNP) Special Forces Counterterrorism Unit. Without these working relationships and training, it would be difficult for the multinational forces to work together, said the operations officer. “So building these relationships is important, especially if it comes to protecting the canal.” “We build a relationship with these guys because they are the best, and they might stay in the same unit for years,” said the U.S. SOF weapons sergeant. “This makes integration easier, knowing that we speak the same language when it comes to tactics and techniques. At the end of the day, the ultimate outcome for us is to build and maintain steady relationships that prepare us for any type of crisis we are tasked to respond to.” Other participating units included PNP Rural and Maritime Anti-Drug Unit and elements of Panama’s National Air and Naval Service.last_img read more

Legislators face variety of issues

first_img March 15, 2005 Senior Editor Regular News Legislators face variety of issues Legislators face variety of issues New judges, constitutional revisions, procedural rules all on the table Gary Blankenship Senior EditorConstitutional issues, past and future, and more judges will be on the Florida Legislature’s agenda for its 2005 Regular Session.Lawmakers, after several weeks of committee meetings in January and February, opened the 60-day session on March 8 (after this News went to press). It is scheduled to adjourn on May 6.Some core issues of interest to Bar members appear not to be on the agenda. There are no proposed constitutional amendments to remove The Florida Bar from the Supreme Court’s oversight, and there are no bills to impose a sales tax on legal, or any other, currently untaxed services.But there are plenty of issues major and minor that will affect the court system and lawyers and their practices.“We would expect most of the normal issues that traditionally deal with the independence of the judiciary to be brought up and discussed, primarily the rule-making authority of the court,” said Steve Metz, the Bar’s legislative counsel. “But we feel confident that given a fair hearing and debate, that the legislature will realize there is a healthy tension there and a proper balance.“I don’t anticipate any attacks on The Florida Bar or the ability of the court to regulate lawyers,” he added. “I do think there will be a healthy discussion about advertising and whether or not there is legislation that can increase the regulation of advertising without running afoul of the constitution.”Things are also looking up for the court system with an easing of the state’s financial condition. “One very encouraging thing is the universal acceptance in the House and Senate of the need for new judges,” Metz said. For the past two years, no new judges have been approved, and this year the Supreme Court has asked for 110 new judges.Legislative leaders say they expect a busy year, including enacting implementing legislation for constitutional amendments approved last November, particularly relating to medical records and doctor discipline — amendments pushed by the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers.There are also several proposed amendments aimed at the citizen initiative process and also a proposed streamlining of the Florida Constitution by removing “statutory” type provisions that have been added by amendment over the years.In addition to that, bills have been filed to again look at the procedural rule-making powers of the Supreme Court, and some lawmakers say those will at least be debated.On the fiscal side, expected increases in state revenues could mean not only more judges, but other improvements for the courts and their employees.“Clearly, we’re going to be focusing much needed attention on additional funding for trial court judges,” said Rep. Dudley Goodlette, R-Naples, chair of the influential Rules and Calendar Council. “There are going to be some constitutional issues that we’ll be dealing with.”Rep. David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs, chair of the House Judiciary Committee, gave a list of likely priorities and issues.That includes implementing legislation for Amendments 7 and 8, approved by voters last year. The former gives patients access to adverse medical reports on doctors and hospitals and the latter provides for the license revocation of any doctor who has been disciplined three times by the state.Simmons noted there is controversy about whether any implementing laws are needed, but that courts are already weighing in that some statutory guidance is needed.“My committee is within the ambit of its responsibility and jurisdiction to deal with it,” he said. “So we’re going to do implementing legislation with respect to both 7 and 8.. . . I hope that there will be a resolution and a convergence of interests of both the trial lawyers and the medical profession in getting good policy, and good policy means a proper implementation of 7 and 8.”There will also likely be three or four amendments proposed dealing with the citizen initiative process for constitutional amendments (something the Bar is studying as well). Those include, Simmons said, requiring any amendment — whether initiative or placed on the ballot by the legislature — to be approved by 60 percent of the voters, requiring a fiscal impact disclosure for any amendment that would surpass a certain projected cost, and limiting amendments to certain subjects and having the Supreme Court review amendments for compliance.The changes are needed, Simmons said, because special interests have hijacked the initiative process with slick promotion campaigns that may actually have little to do with the actual impact of the proposed amendment.“Darn near anything will pass now,” he said. “What they didn’t have when this (the initiative process) was put into the constitution they have now, which is mass media with the ability to reach everyone with very slick advertising and get it done.“What is truly missing. . . is a deliberative process and a debate process. You cannot debate something in 30-second sound bites.”In conjunction with the initiative amendments, Goodlette said he has introduced a bill calling for statutory changes, including more disclosure from initiative backers including that signature gatherers must reveal when they are paid to collect signatures.Simmons also said he supports Winter Park Republican Sen. Daniel Webster’s effort to streamline the Florida Constitution by removing unnecessary provisions that should be in statute rather than the state’s basic charter.“I hope we will have the opportunity to have joint meetings to begin an article-by- article review of the constitution, so we can put a streamlined constitution. . . on the ballot in 2006,” he said. Procedural Rules Noting bills have been filed in both the House and Senate to have the legislature create a judicial council to take over court procedural rule-writing authority from the Supreme Court, Simmons expects that to be at least studied, perhaps with an emphasis on criminal procedural rules.But Webster, the Senate Judiciary Committee chair, said he doesn’t see the upper chamber moving on that issue, although he knows some lawmakers are concerned the Supreme Court has overstepped its authority.“I don’t think that I’m to the point of saying we’re going to do that,” he said. “I know it’s an issue, but I’m not ready to go there yet.”Other issues Simmons expects his committee to examine include:• Premises liability. “Some appellate judges have stated they believe we have moved to strict liability de facto,” he said. “We’re going to review that and see if there’s some way of making it more fair.”• Questions related to streetlight maintenance and liability.• Fixing glitches with the Revision 7 transfer that saw the state take over most trial court funding from the counties. Simmons said that will include substantive issues on disputes that have arisen between counties, court clerks, and judges.On the Senate side, Webster said the Judiciary Committee will consider the constitutional streamlining and amendments to change the initiative process. He noted he has long supported an amendment to allow the Supreme Court to review proposed constitutional changes to ensure they belong in that document.Those might be limited to the separation of powers between branches and levels of government, the rights of people, duties of public officers, and the like, he said.“Anything external to that may not be a bad idea, but maybe we should have a statutory initiative to accommodate those ideas,” Webster said.The committee will also take up Gov. Jeb Bush’s proposed litigation reform package. Webster said that includes looking at premises liability, giving sellers immunity from products liability as long as they had no part in manufacturing a defective product, and limiting plaintiffs in a state class action suit to state residents, unless an out-of-state resident has no recourse in his or her home state.The committee will also have a Revision 7 glitch bill and look at the streetlight liability. Webster said the committee, at the request of Senate President Tom Lee, R-Brandon, will look at a policy to compensate people who are wrongly convicted and serve time and later are freed without requiring them to go through the claims bill process. That stemmed from the Wilton Dedge case, where Dedge spent more than 20 years in prison on a rape charge before being exonerated by DNA testing. (See story on page 11 in this News. ) Lawyer Advertising Webster said his committee, probably early in the session, will look at a proposed law to regulate lawyer advertising.Simmons, who championed that issue last year when it passed the House but died in the Senate, said he’s not pushing it this year. This session, legislation has been introduced by Rep. Jeff Kottkamp, R-Cape Coral, and Sen. Skip Campbell, D-Tamarac.Simmons, though, said he promised the Bar he wouldn’t push his own measure while its Advertising Task Force 2004 was studying the issue. The Bar Board of Governors is scheduled to act on the task force’s recommendations at its April 8 meeting.“I would hope the Bar would realize that if it doesn’t do something, then the whole process is going to be open for review by the legislature,” he said. “I hope the Bar takes action and does what is right.”Another measure facing an uncertain future is a proposal to allow gay foster parents to adopt, irregardless of a state law banning gays from adopting, if a bond has formed with the child and a judge determines it is in the best interest of the child. The Family Law Section, which was earlier turned down on its request to lobby for the repeal of the homosexual adoption ban, is asking the Bar Board of Governors to allow it to support the new bills. That also is expected on the board’s April 8 agenda.“It remains to be seen how quickly that bill would move through the process,” Goodlette said. “My guess is there would be some obstacles to that bill proceeding.”Goodlette, Simmons, and Sen. Rod Smith, D-Gainesville, all said there is support in both chambers for approval of all or most of the 110 new judges requested by the court.“Clearly, we’re going to be focusing much needed attention on additional funding for trial court judges,” Goodlette said. “That is a high priority with the House and Senate.”Smith said that support is likely to extend to other court issues, such as increasing staff and salaries for state attorneys and public defenders.“We can’t increase the number of judges and not increase the state attorney and public defender budgets. That would be irresponsible,” he said. “Salary increases for prosecutors and public defenders and for people who are providing juvenile services, I think those are on the table in the Justice Appropriations Committee and will be dealt with.”He also agreed with Webster that the Senate is unlikely to change the Supreme Court’s procedural rule-making prerogatives. “There’s been some talk about. . . some sort of statutory address of those rules. I think that’s unlikely to come to fruition,” Smith said. “We’re at a decided disadvantage in dealing with questions of procedure, because we’re not in the courts every day.” Court Priorities Expectations that funding may be relaxed after several tight budget years is good news for the court system. State Courts Administrator Lisa Goodner said the courts have several priorities, mostly related to budget issues.First is getting the new judges sought by the court.“That is obviously a high priority issue to deal with the deficit that has been created by the lack of funding for new judges over the past few years,” she said.Along with that, the courts want 33 new trial law clerks, to keep up with the one clerk for every three judge ratio that has been set in recent years.And, about 15 years after the Supreme Court building was renovated, there are some significant and routine maintenance needs that will call for about $6 million.Another priority will be addressing salary-related budget issues. Goodner said last year the court system did not get enough appropriations to meet its salary obligations, and had to leave vacancies unfilled in order to save enough money to pay employees.Other goals are:• Working to resolve remaining glitches with the Revision 7 transition. That includes seeking about $7.5 million additional funds for court reporting services.“This would transition toward a more efficient model of court reporting and increase the use of digital technology to produce a record,” Goodner said. “That’s a big one we’re still looking for.”• Getting funding to pay for maintenance agreements and leases on equipment being turned over by counties to the state as part of Revision 7.• Getting additional funding to bring mediation court services up to the level they were before Revision 7.• Getting funding for the “judicial inquiry system,” which allows judges on the bench to link through computers to information they need, such as cases in other circuits involving someone before them, state Department of Corrections records, or a party’s criminal history. “It doesn’t give judges access to any information they are not specifically authorized by law to have,” Goodner said, but does give them much quicker access to information they routinely need. Funding for that has twice been approved, but then either cut in a budget crisis or vetoed.• Getting better pay and benefits for court employees, particularly at the Supreme Court. Goodner said salaries and benefits not only lag behind the private sector, but other government agencies as well, making it difficult to find and retain qualified staff.• Working on a family court efficiency act to streamline operations of family courts.• Passing a drug court bill to enhance operations.• Passing a bill to create a court interpreter certification program. Sections’ Efforts Praised While the state budget and constitutional amendments may get more headlines and media attention, Goodlette there are many less publicized issues that will be addressed during the 60-day session, and he said Bar sections frequently play vital roles in that work.Goodlette noted he is co-sponsoring one bill sought by the Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section, while the Business Law Section is active on a rewrite of the state’s business entities law.“I think the sections of the Bar continue to provide meaningful input and important real leadership on substantive areas of the law,” he said. “I would like to have members of the Bar who contribute to the sections help the legislature. I would like to express appreciation and encourage them to continue to provide that kind of in-depth, of invaluable assistance.”last_img read more

Plitvice Lakes increase ticket prices

first_imgPlitvice Lakes National Park has announced a new ticket price list for 2018, and a big change is that the prices are significantly more expensive than last year.According to the new price list for 2018, ticket prices have risen significantly, so the ticket price in the season for an adult is HRK 250,00, while last year it was HRK 160,00. Also one of the news is that during the tourist season, in the period from 01.07. to 31.08., it is possible to buy tickets for half a day, ie after 16.00 the ticket price is cheaper by 100,00 kn and is 150,00 kn.Side dish: Ticket price list for 2018 Plitvice Lakes National Park  Related news:TRAKOŠĆAN CASTLE WILL CHARGE TICKETS FOR A WALK IN THE PARK FROM APRILMOTOVUN MUNICIPALITY HAS DECIDED TO CHARGE THE ENTRY TO THE MOTOVUN WALLSlast_img read more

Viral video captures brawl in North Jakarta waters

first_imgA video of young people brawling in the waters of a seafront area in Kalibaru subdistrict, Cilincing, North Jakarta, has gone viral on social media, prompting authorities to stand guard near the location.The video, posted on Sunday by Instagram account @jakut.info, showed dozens of young people having a confrontation in the waters while swimming, some of them carrying various kinds of sharp weapons. Topics : Responding to the video, Cilincing Police chief Comr. Imam T. B. said most of the people involved in the brawl were Cilincing residents. He then sent personnel to visit the location, despite it being outside of his authority.“We went to the location and they disbanded immediately,” Imam told tempo.co on Wednesday, adding that some of the youths threw their weapons into the sea.According to a press release issued by the North Jakarta administration on Tuesday, the police also detained two teenagers with sharp weapons and ceramic shards.In the statement, Kalibaru subdistrict head Slamet Alfarizi said that police, military and Public Order Agency (Satpol PP) personnel, as well as local residents, also conducted patrols in the past three days around the area to prevent another brawl.Cilincing district head Muhammad Andri commended the joint patrol.“May our hard work build a safe and orderly Kalibaru for all of us.” (mfp)center_img “On Sunday at 5 p.m., there was a brawl on the coast of Jakarta; a group of youths was seen fighting,” the caption of the Instagram post said.last_img read more

Dutch union demands state pension age freeze at 66

first_imgTuur Elzinga, FNVEarlier, Gijs van Dijk, MP for the labour party PvdA and a former FNV trustee, said a gesture from the government on the retirement age was needed for a breakthrough in pensions reform.Both Elzinga and Van Dijk underlined the importance of allowing people in physically demanding jobs to retire earlier.When asked by IPE’s Dutch sister publication Pensioen Pro, Elzinga said that an agreement between unions and employers on the merits had not been reached yet. The FNV said that freezing the retirement age was one of its three key demands for an agreement with government and employers.Inflation compensation for all generations and pensions accrual for all workers, including flexible workers and the self-employed, were also crucial elements to be agreed upon.The FNV has been making similar demands for nearly a year as discussions over pensions reform have stalled.Next Saturday, the FNV will underline its demands at a demonstration in Amsterdam. FNV, one of the Netherlands’ largest trade unions, has demanded that the government freeze the state pension age at 66 in exchange for its support for a proposed new national pension contract.In an interview in daily newspaper Trouw last Friday, Tuur Elzinga, the FNV’s lead negotiator on the pensions system, emphasised that the government had to take such a step in order to secure the support of the union’s membership.His comments came after Wouter Koolmees, minister for social affairs, said he would stick with the government’s decision to gradually raise the state pension age to 67 by 2021. The minister said the increase was necessary to keep pace with rising longevity.Elzinga said the union needed a signal from the government that it was willing to compromise. “If I were to conclude an accord with the employers with no changes to raising the retirement age, I’ll hit a wall with my supporters,” the paper quoted him as saying.last_img read more

Xi Jinping meets with Mauritanian President Abdel Aziz

first_imgPresident Xi Jinping met with Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz in Beijing on Monday, vowing to improve ties with Mauritania within the framework of the China-Arab Cooperation Forum.  Aziz is in China for the second China-Arab States Expo, a key platform for promoting ties between China and Arab states, in Yinchuan, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, northwest China.last_img