Guitarist John Warren Geils Jr., better known as J. Geils of the rock band The J. Geils Band, was found dead in his Massachusetts home at the age of 71. The J. Geils Band was formed in the late 1960’s, becoming first popular with their R&B and Blues-infused sound. During the span of their career, the band led by Geils ended up touring with acts such as the The Eagles, Billy Joel, ZZ Top, and U2. Geils is best known for the songs “Centerfold,” which seized the number 1 spot Billboard chart spot in 1981, as well as “Freeze Frame,” which made it to number 4 in 1982.Rest in peace, Mr. Geils.“Centerfold”[Photo: Carl Lender via Wikipedia; H/T WCVB 5]
Over the summer, Saint Mary’s juniors Anne Maguire and Chiara Smorada traveled to Washington D.C. to attend the SALT (Summit Adventure Leadership Training) Summit, an event which sought to gather 150 student ambassadors from around the country in order to enhance their advocacy and leadership skills. The Summit, sponsored by Catholic Relief Services (CRS), focused on various social issues, including anti-human trafficking, climate change awareness, migration and refugee reform and global hunger. Smorada said in an email that CRS built the Summit around the mission statement, “I am the Cause. I am the Solution.”“Sometimes, when I hear about suffering around the world I feel powerless and frustrated — there are moments when I feel very isolated and insignificant in society,” she said. Maguire said this mission statement is akin to a call to action. “[The statement] calls us all to hold ourselves accountable for the problems we have created as humans and, at the same time, recognizes how we need to start taking the steps to fix the problems that we’ve caused in order to live in a better world,” she said. The summit largely consisted of lectures from international Catholic Relief Services employees, as well as presentations from students, Maguire said. “Some students shared the projects that they’re involved in on their own campuses and the campaigning that they do,” she said. “[At the Summit] we can share ideas and collectively move forward in the best way that we can [in order to] find ways to address social justice issues on our own campuses.”The Summit energized Smorada’s desire to start mobilizing events at the College, she said. “To me, more than anything, the Summit was an energizer and eye-opener,” she said. “As I learned more about the work CRS does both overseas and domestically, I felt a desire to mobilize on Saint Mary’s campus. Hearing about other college and university chapters also gave me some event ideas.”Maguire said her group got the chance to come together with a few of the staff members who work under U.S. senators from Indiana Todd Young and Joe Donnelly and U.S. representative Jackie Walorski. Maguire said they even had the opportunity to meet with Donnelly for a few moments. “The highlight for me was being on Capitol Hill,” she said. “We met … Donnelly in person, but he was on the move so we only got to talk briefly. I just remember him saying to us, ‘you’re doing God’s work, keep it up.’ So he seemed very supportive and his office was very supportive. In general, all of the offices were very supportive.”Maguire said that she advises those doing advocacy work in congressional offices have “a clear and concise ask” as to efficiently direct the meeting so that they can effectively get their message across. “At our specific congressional meetings, we were talking about increasing funding for international development plans and humanitarian aid so that people — wherever they’re living — can feel safe and comfortable living there,” she said. “For the 2019 fiscal budget, there’s a certain amount of money that’s been proposed that would go to humanitarian and development programs to help communities around the world that are low-income and struggling in some way. Essentially, funding these programs would help improve their living situations now, but also work on sustainable solutions so that people can grow in their own communities and empower themselves to create sustainable livelihoods for the future.” The most surprising thing about these congressional meetings, Maguire said, was that everyone, regardless of political ideology, found some kind of common ground. “We spoke to political offices on both sides of the political spectrum — Republican and Democratic offices — and with our proposal, we were not sure before our meetings what the outcome would be,” she said. “I was really struck by the fact that, on both sides, we were able to reach some common ground on the issue of respecting the dignity of human beings and trying to uphold that through any kind of support. I was reminded that we can’t make assumptions about people who are different from us because we can still reach common ground despite their position in politics. We should be open to hearing another person’s perspective, despite our differences.” Smorada said these congressional meetings challenged her preconceived notions on reaching out to national, state and local representatives. “Hearing both his support and encouragement from his staffers made me feel less hesitant to reach out to my representatives in the future. Now I know they want to hear from us,” she said. Maguire said students who feel passionately about social justice issues should let their heart guide them. “Start where you are, start with your own passions,” she said. “Everyone is different — everyone has different interests, everyone has different passions. If you’re starting where your heart is, you can go really far. We need people who think differently, who act differently, who see the world in different ways.”Tags: catholic relief services, CRS, SALT Summit
A decade of targeting drug lords and Marxist guerillas is paying off for Colombia, as the rule of law is restored and the economy is starting to flourish, according to the recently released 2011 Index of Economic Freedom by the Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal. “The key to understanding the relationship between economic freedom and prosperity is particularly important in Latin America,” Israel Ortega, a spokesman for the Heritage Foundation, told Diálogo magazine “By improving domestic security, the governments there are bolstering economic security.” Colombia saw the 10th best global improvement in its score on the Heritage index, which ranks 187 countries according to 10 categories that examine economic openness, competitiveness, and the rule of law. Colombia was ranked at 68.0 on a 100 point scale, making it a mostly free country, and No. 45 in the world. By contrast, Hong Kong was No. 1 and the U.S. was No. 9. “Led by Colombia’s 2.5 point gain, Latin America continued to improve across the board,” the Heritage Foundation study said. President Alvaro Uribe, elected in 2002 and re-elected in 2006, made national security a top priority, prosecuting a war against both the left-wing Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and right-wing paramilitary groups. He also waged an aggressive war on narcotics trafficking in collaboration with the U.S. “Over his tenure, peace was restored to large areas of the country and unemployment dropped significantly,” the Heritage report said. Colombia is one of the region’s longest-standing democracies. Recently elected president Juan Manuel Santos won a run-off in June 2010 with 64 percent of the vote. He’s pledged to preserve “democratic security” and advance economic growth. The legitimate Colombian economy depends heavily on exports of petroleum, coffee, and cut flowers, according to the Heritage report. The government is pursuing a policy of deregulation to further its economic growth. Colombia’s government recently eliminated a policy of setting minimum freight prices for the trucking industry. Months of rain last year damaged highways and bridges and caused an increase in transportation costs, rendering the old rules obsolete. “With today’s decision, the system of highway cargo transport goes from one of intervention on prices to one of free, but monitored prices,” said a statement from the office of President Santos. Significant improvements By Dialogo March 24, 2011 Deregulatory policies pay off Overall, 25 of Latin America’s 29 countries posted gains in economic freedom last year. Just three reported a decline. Costa Rica and, surprisingly, Haiti demonstrated significant improvement in 2010. “Overall, the region continues to become more open to trade and investment and to address regulatory reform,” the Heritage report said. “But weakness in intellectual property, the courts, and the rule of law keep most countries in the region mired in or slightly below the middle of the pack.” Chile ranks as the freest economy in Latin America. Its economy is freer than countries like the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Germany. Last year, Chile became the first South American country to join the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). President Sebastian Piñera and his center-right Alianza coalition in Congress assumed power last March. “Chile has charted a different path than many of its neighbors,” said Ortega of the Heritage Foundation, noting that some governments in Latin America have been tempted to embrace socialism. “Chile’s healthy economic freedom comes partly from its openness to global trade and investment.” Chile benefits from a transparent and stable financial and judicial sector, and there’s little tolerance for corruption, Ortega said. Uruguay has the second-freest economy in the region, with El Salvador and Peru close behind. Mexico’s economic freedom score is 67.8, making its economy the 48th freest in the 2011 Index. Its score declined by 0.5 point, reflecting declines in freedom from corruption and fiscal freedom. The country reported $12.5 billion in foreign direct investment last year, according to the survey. “Since the election of President Carlos Salinas in 1988, successive governments have adopted limited reforms and have begun to alter Mexico’s corporatist economic model,” the Heritage report noted. President Felipe Calderon, of the National Action Party, has achieved key judicial, fiscal, pension, and electoral reforms, but proposals to further liberalize the economy, especially by opening the energy sector to foreign investment, lack legislative support. “Calderon faces a major security challenge from illegal drug cartels,” the Heritage report said. President Calderon has also committed his administration to fight against corruption at all levels of government and in 2008 launched Operación Limpieza, “investigating and imprisoning corrupt government officials in enforcement agencies.” According to the Heritage report, Brazil’s economic freedom score is 56.3, making its economy the 113th freest in the 2011, one which lags behind Chile and Mexico. The score is 0.7 point better than last year as a result of improvements in investment freedom and trade freedom. Brazil is ranked 21st out of 29 countries in the South and Central America/Caribbean region, and its overall score is “below the regional and world averages,” the study said. The state’s expanding role in the economy explains its ranking, according to the study. President Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva, first elected in 2002 and re-elected in 2006, was barred from seeking a third term by the country’s constitution, created in 1988. In last fall’s presidential elections, Lula’s hand-selected successor, Dilma Rousseff, was elected Brazil’s first female president. “Ms. Rousseff is further to the left than the present administration, but she has pledged not to make a sudden change of direction,” Peter Kennedy, a spokesman for Shaw Capital Management, an investment bank with a large portfolio of investments in Brazil, told Diálogo. “The investors, and voters, believe her so far.” The efficiency and overall quality of government services remain poor despite high government spending as a percentage of GDP, the Heritage report said. Burdensome taxes, inefficient regulation, poor access to long-term financing, and a rigid labor market are barriers to new business growth. “The judicial system remains vulnerable to political influence and corruption,” the Heritage study added. The Brazilian economy has been growing because of increased demand for commodity exports, and over the past decade, economic growth there has averaged around 4 percent, accompanied by low inflation. Brazil has a large agricultural and industrial base, but a growing services sector has accounted for over 60 percent of GDP in recent years. The global financial and economic turmoil’s impact has been moderate. Foreign direct investment (FDI) in Colombia was $7.2 billion last year. Compound annual growth is expected to be 4.2 percent over the next five years. Colombia’s score of 68.0 on the index reflects improved scores for business, investment, labor freedom, and government spending. Colombia is ranked 7th out of 29 countries in the South and Central America/Caribbean region, But there is still room for considerable improvement. “Further growth in economic freedom in Colombia will require deeper institutional reforms that include better protection of property rights and a stronger judicial system,” the Heritage study said. “Corruption remains considerable in many sectors of the economy, and the relatively high marginal tax rates encourage tax evasion.” For instance, money laundering operations in Colombia involving funds from drug-trafficking amount to close to $8.7 billion dollars per year, according to Colombia’s Financial Information and Analysis Unit, based in Bogota. There were more than 42,000 suspicious operations from January 2006-December 2010, the finance ministry said. According to the Heritage study, fighting corruption and narcotics trafficking remains a significant concern, as does the influence of criminal organizations on the police, the military, and some members of the judiciary and civil service. The local chapter of Transparency International is working with Colombian authorities on a number of anti-corruption measures, including ethics and entrepreneurial programs. According to the Heritage report, corruption erodes economic freedom by introducing “insecurity and uncertainty” into economic relationships. The score for this component is derived primarily from Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) for 2009, which measures the level of corruption in 180 countries. Other sources include the Country Commerce and Country Report of the U.S. Trade Representative and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Country Commercial Guide. But there are also major expansions of legitimate international businesses. During the first few weeks of the new year, many new foreign firms announced investments in Colombia. “We think that for the short term we will see an important dynamism in the area of tertiary services, software and information technologies, tourism of businesses and health, audio-visual production, enterprise and logistic infrastructure and different services specialties,” said Adriana Suárez, executive director of INNVEST in Bogota, an economic development agency in Colombia, told Diálogo magazine.
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic – Dominican counter-narcotics authorities detained two suspected smugglers and seized a major cocaine shipment allegedly trafficked by boat from South America to the Caribbean country’s southern coast. The Dominican National Directorate for Drug Control (DNCD) on Feb. 22 seized 632.9 kilograms (1,392 pounds) of cocaine that had been divided into 616 packets. Dominican nationals Samil David Arredondo Cedeño and Pedro de Peña Rodríguez were turned over to prosecutors for interrogation. DNCD spokesman Roberto Lebrón said the seizure was the result of a two-month investigation known as “Operation Volcano.” The cocaine, allegedly en route from South America to Puerto Rico through the Dominican Republic, had changed hands about 60 miles off the coast of the Dominican seaside town Boca Chica. “We are facing an organization that was receiving [narcotics shipments] from Colombia and Venezuela using go-fast boats to pick up the drugs on the high seas,” Lebrón said. Other suspects involved in the operation are still at-large, and Lebrón declined to provide additional details until the operation had concluded. The Dominican military used aircraft to track the shipment into the country. Once there, the military and police followed the cocaine to Boca Chica, a small resort town east of the capital, Santo Domingo. The alleged traffickers were found in a hotel and in an SUV parked nearby. Twenty-five plastic bags filled with bundles of cocaine had been loaded into a gold Toyota 4Runner. The drugs were sent to laboratories for testing and weighing. DNCD officials said it is likely the cocaine was bound for Puerto Rico, but the narco-traffickers could have been trying to send it to Europe. The material used to package the drugs originated from a sugar mill in Yaracuy in western Venezuela, suggesting the involvement of Venezuelans. “It’s likely that at any moment other arrests will materialize, because the DNCD and other state security agencies have identified the other members of the network that received the drugs,” Lebrón said. The seizure adds to an increasingly active interception campaign by Dominican authorities, as the DNCD has confiscated about 1,720 kilograms (3,784 pounds) of cocaine and about 27,000 pills of illicit substances so far this year. Lebrón attributed the seizures to cooperation among security forces nationwide. The Dominican Republic has long been at the center of the Caribbean smuggling trade serving as a major transshipment point for South American drugs. Recently, traffickers have used the island of Hispaniola – which the Dominican Republic shares with Haiti – to move drugs to Europe, authorities said. But intensified efforts to crack down on trafficking have resulted in successes for Dominican authorities. Last year, authorities seized 6,715 kilograms (about 14,775 pounds) of cocaine, a 48% increase from the previous year when authorities confiscated 4,527 kilograms, according to statistics from the DNCD. By Dialogo March 01, 2012
The dogs in the BAC, which operates under the auspices of Rio de Janeiro’s Military Police, are preparing for the international event by helping law enforcement seize drugs and weapons with greater frequency. From January 1-October 31, the canines have aided the Military Police in seizing more than seven tons of drugs after finding more than two tons of narcotics in 2012 and 25 kilograms in 2009. Overall, the BAC has 52 dogs dedicated to public safety missions, including search and rescue, tracking fugitives, and finding cadavers. The Tactical Intervention Unit also has a Canine Center, where the dogs work together with the Special Operations Battalion (BOPE) in hostage rescue situations. Police dogs also work with their handlers to help control crowds, including unruly throngs at stadiums. Brazil’s Armed Forces are adding seven dogs to the six that are already part of the Canine Action Battalion (BAC for its Portuguese acronym) in order to learn how to sniff for explosives, illegal drugs, and weapons, in addition to helping prevent terrorist attacks at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Police dogs are deployed on a variety of missions The dogs’ training is the same: whether they are searching for weapons, drugs, or explosives, the canines are taught to remain composed so they don’t bump into objects upon discovering contraband. The Military Police trains dogs to use their keen sense of smell to detect drugs, explosives, and weapon; they’re able to do so because the part of the canine brain that processes smells is proportionately 40 times larger than that in human brains. Moreover, dogs have up to 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses, while humans have about six million. Though the first two bomb-sniffing dogs joined BAC in 2007, they’ve seldom been used outside of training. Since bombings are rare in Brazil, the BAC augments its training by exchanging information with other countries, including France’s Recherche Assistance Intervention Dissuasion (RAID), a police special operations unit specializing in counter-terrorism. Sgt. Vieira is among the 189 men and women who joined the BAC by completing the 40-day Police Employment Canine Handler Course or the 16-week Police Employment Canine Trainer Course, which teaches officers how to train the dogs instead of solely being their handlers. By Dialogo November 06, 2015 Nice article “A dog sniffing for drugs or weapons is led at all times by his police handler,” explained Captain Luís Otávio Poyes, a dog handler and trainer. ”When it locates a bomb, it sits and signals for the police officer, who is outside the area. Afterwards, it leaves the location, still without touching anything. At that point, the police or the bomb squad goes into action.” Dogs trained to use their exceptional sense of smell “RAID officers came here and evaluated our canines,” Col. Nogueira said. “They said they were ready.” “At the World Cup, the Canine Shock Group acted outside the stadiums. We are prepared to serve again in that capacity, if needed, during the Olympic Games. Honestly, we are ready to perform any service within our scope, from assistance in hostage negotiations to detecting bombs and explosives.” The BAC, which is awaiting the arrival of 30 more dogs that will be trained, also has had canines participate in law enforcement simulations on subways, ships, and in airports. “It is gratifying to be able to rely on the canines,” said Sergeant Bruno Vieira, a BAC dog trainer. “They are able to find things that we humans cannot.” “This jump is a result of training people and dogs, always within an evolving and specialized process,” said Military Police Colonel Marcelo Nogueira, the commander of the BAC, where he has served for 11 of his 26 years as a police officer.
NORWICH, N.Y. (WBNG) — The Chenango County Health Department is alerting individuals that a person who tested positive for COVID-19 was at two establishments on July 18. HOW CONTACT TRACING WORKS Anyone who was at Park Place or Broad Street Tavern is asked by the Chenango County Health Department to monitor themselves for COVID-19 symptoms. The health department says the infected person told them they were at Park Place Sports Bar and Grill from 9 to 11 p.m. and Broad Street Tavern from 11 p.m. to midnight on July 18. The department says the person visited these places during their infectious period. They were not infected at these establishments. Both establishments are in Norwich, N.Y. Symptoms of COVID-19 include coughing, fever and shortness of breath.
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has announced that he tested negative for COVID-19 after meeting with Surakarta Deputy Mayor Achmad Purnomo last week, who has tested positive for the disease.“The result came in last night and Alhamdulillah [thank God] it was negative. [First Lady Iriana Joko Widodo] also tested negative,” the President said in a video uploaded on the Presidential Secretariat’s official YouTube channel on Saturday.Jokowi took the test upon hearing that Achmad had tested positive for COVID-19. The President met with the deputy mayor on July 16 at the State Palace in Jakarta in which, as claimed by the deputy mayor, the two discussed the development of Surakarta – the President’s hometown. Read also: Surakarta deputy mayor tests positive for COVID-19, tested shortly after meeting JokowiThe Surakarta city secretary announced on Friday that Achmad had tested positive for COVID-19. He underwent a swab test on July 18, two days after meeting with the President. The result came back on Thursday.Achmad is undergoing self-isolation, said Surakarta administration secretary Ahyani.Surakarta Mayor FX Hadi Rudyatmo said he would also take a COVID-19 swab test after learning that Achmad had been infected.In the video uploaded on Saturday, Jokowi was seen riding a bicycle. He urged the public to keep their immune systems strong by exercising regularly and consuming a healthy diet.“Don’t forget to wear a face mask and wash your hands after every activity. Do not go into crowds and keep a safe distance [while interacting with others],” the President went on to say.Topics :
Communities Digital News 5 March 2014For decades, pro-choice lobbyists have fought any legislation that puts parents between minors and the so-called reproductive healthcare services sold by chains like Planned Parenthood. One argument was that parental notification laws would cause adolescents to avoid or delay “necessary” reproductive and sexual healthcare, resulting in increased teen pregnancies and, in turn, abortions. However, a major new study dramatically undercuts that argument.According to Guttmacher, “55 percent of parents participating in a 2002 survey said that overall, proposed laws requiring that parents be notified before their minor children obtain prescription contraceptives are a good idea,” but 96 percent also feared that unintended consequences may include an increase in teen pregnancies.Now, a new study from researchers at the University of Nottingham—an institution ranked in the top one percent of schools worldwide—found no evidence that mandatory parental consent laws for the dispensing of contraceptives to minors drive up teen pregnancy.Sourafel Girma, chair of economics at the School of Economics in Nottingham University, and David Paton, chair of industrial economics at Nottingham University Business School, published “Does Parental Consent for Birth Control Affect Underage Pregnancy Rates? The Case of Texas” in the prestigious peer-reviewed journal Demography.Paton, an expert on teen pregnancy and a member of three editorial boards for peer-reviewed journals, told CDN, “The reason for looking at Texas is that it is one of the few cases in the world where a parental consent rule has been implemented and so it is one of the few places on which it was possible to test the impact of such rules on teenage pregnancy.”http://www.commdiginews.com/politics-2/parental-notification-for-contraception-does-not-increase-teen-pregnancy-11638/?utm_medium=email&utm_source=feedburner&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+HeroicNews+%28Heroic+News%29
Indianapolis, In. — Ripley County Prosecutor Ric Hertel has been elected to one year term as president of the Association of Indiana Prosecutors, Inc.“Our State is facing many extremely difficult challenges from a criminal justice perspective,” said Hertel. “Prosecutors must continue to play a significant role in finding solutions and collaborating with other allies to protect our communities. The ‘Association’ provides guidance and direction to prosecutors throughout Indiana, and it is an honor and a privilege to represent and further these interests.”Other officers of the Association are Greene County Prosecutor Jarrod Holtsclaw as president-elect, Tippecanoe County Prosecutor Patrick Harrington as vice president and Huntington County Prosecutor Amy C. Richison as secretary/treasurer. Elected to two-year terms on the Association board of directors are White County Prosecutor Robert Guy, Madison County Prosecutor Rodney Cummings, Decatur County Prosecutor Nathan Harter, Hamilton County Prosecutor Lee Buckingham and Boone County Prosecutor Todd Meyer. Elected to one-year terms are Lake County Prosecutor Bernard Carter, Vanderburgh County Prosecutor Nicholas Hermann, Lawrence County Prosecutor Michelle Woodward, Floyd County Prosecutor Keith Henderson and Franklin County Prosecutor Melvin F. Wilhelm.