Syria floats new bank note amid soaring inflation

first_imgDAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — A new 5,000-lira bank note is going into circulation in Syria as the country reels from 10 years of conflict and a crippling economic crisis. The new bank note floated Sunday would be the largest on the market. Syria’s currency has been on a downward spiral since the conflict began in 2011. Then the lira went for 47 liras to the dollar. Now, it’s up to trading 1,250 liras to the dollar. On the black market, the dollar is trading at nearly double the official value.  The currency crash has sent prices of food and basic goods soaring.last_img

SPLL 101 adapts in face of COVID-19

first_imgAs the institutions of the tri-campus community exist in a state of flux for daily proceedings on their campus, Saint Mary’s first-year common course, the Sophia Program for Liberal Learning — SPLL 101 — has required some adjustments for this semester.SPLL 101 faculty coordinator Melissa Bialko said the first-year course involves meetings typically Monday, Wednesday and Friday for roughly the first half of the semester. Bialko’s role focuses on curating a syllabus for SPLL 101, communicating the goals of the syllabus to the faculty members and organizing the Monday sessions.Continuing the first-year common course has been crucial this year, considering the disconnect that some students may feel to their first-year experience with certain precautions being taken, Bialko said, but the faculty commitment to the first years in SPLL 101 can be a guide for a more smooth transition into college life.“The way I’ve designed the class … is not necessarily how to college, but how to Saint Mary’s,” Bialko said. “To help students be an immediate touch with resources … and the theory is that if they’re in immediate touch with those resources … when the stakes are a little bit lower by SPLL, they’ll be more likely to access those resources when they’re needed.”Mondays for the SPLL 101 course include “big show sessions or big talks,” Bialko said, as a speaker will address all of the first years to discuss topics the entire class should hear — such as inclusion, diversity and vocation. Due to COVID-19 the Monday sessions have been taking place via Zoom.The faculty advisor for each cohort of students decides what to discuss each Wednesday, Bialko said. Wednesdays also include talks with different offices and resource centers around campus to expose the first years to all that Saint Mary’s offers, with adjustments made to hold these informational sessions safely through videos, she said.“Because of COVID … I am remediating a lot of tech concerns, helping faculty — much more than typically — decipher what methods of delivery might be most useful for them in their cohort, what they might most be comfortable with,” said Bialko.Senior nursing student Delaney Goggins is a peer mentor for SPLL 101. She is primarily in charge of the class meetings on Fridays with Diane Fox — the director of the Office for Student Success — who serves as Goggins’ cohort advisor.All the students in Goggins’ cohort are part of the Student Success program, just as Goggins was when she entered her first year. With 40 students, the cohort is larger than some of the others, Goggins said.“My role as a peer mentor is just to be a source of advocacy for these girls — someone that they can rely on, someone that they can come to,” Goggins said.  “We’re trying to set our students up for success so they feel confident enough walking out into the real world.”Goggins’ cohort has been meeting in Carroll Auditorium to allow for more space to social distance with many seats and rows in between them. All in attendance wear masks.Goggins said the in-person interactions for SPLL have already been beneficial in the two weeks since the course started. She said she has noticed her students becoming more comfortable around each other as she alters her lessons each Friday to what the students need at that time.“I’m really thankful that we’re still in person,” Goggins said. “I think it just allows the girls to be more comfortable with us and with each other, too. It helps them build connections and friendships a lot easier than it would be if it was over video chat.”Because she has had to be more active in the individual cohorts and iron out any complications related to COVID-19 adjustments, Bialko said she has gotten to know the first-year class better than she might have otherwise.“Just by virtue of the fact that problems occur and confusion occurs, I’ve been doing a lot more communicating with students that I may never get to meet … in person in their four years,” Bialko said. “That’s been a real big bright side of it, actually.”Goggins said it is important for first-year students to understand that maintaining flexibility is key, rather than spending time worrying about what will happen next.“We don’t know what’s next, but we know that we go to Saint Mary’s,” Goggins said. “We want to have that sense of community, which I think in-person does. But if we do need to go online … already even having these first couple weeks of school just by getting to know each other, I think that’ll be beneficial.”Bialko sees resilience in the first years and has been amazed with how socialization is still occurring safely while focus remains on the importance of health and education, she said.“[Saint Mary’s students] have clearly chosen to prioritize their education regardless of the circumstances,” Bialko said. “I think it’s very clear … our students have a strong commitment to their health and safety … and looking out for others.”Tags: first year adjustment, peer mentors, SPLL101last_img read more

Chemicals of Chinese Origin, Intended for Drugs, Are Seized in Mexico

first_img Mexican authorities announced the seizure of more than 120 tons of a chemical substance needed to manufacture synthetic drugs, in a shipment coming from China and destined for Guatemala. The seizure took place in the port of Lázaro Cárdenas in Michoacán (in western Mexico, on the Pacific), in eight containers with more than 120,000 kilograms of the substance known as “monomethylamine,” the Government specified in a statement. The substance is a chemical precursor that can be used in the manufacture of synthetic drugs. The shipment departed from the port of Shanghai in China and had the port of Quetzal in Guatemala as its final destination. In 2011, more than 1,200 tons of chemicals of this kind were seized in Mexico. Previously, a shipment of 21 tons of another chemical precursor that entered the Mexican port of Manzanillo (in western Mexico, on the Pacific), coming from Peru and destined for neighboring Guatemala, was seized, while another shipment of 229 tons that also came from China was seized in the same port of Lázaro Cárdenas the previous week By Dialogo January 04, 2012last_img read more

Exercise Vita: JTF-Bravo, Colombian Partners Conduct Interoperability Training in La Guajira

first_imgBy U.S. Air Force Captain Beau Downey / Joint Task Force Bravo March 26, 2020 Combined forces from Colombia and the United States concluded Exercise Vita at Fort Buenavista, Colombia, during a ceremony March 17 that marked more than two weeks of operations in the country’s La Guajira region.More than 150 members of Joint Task Force Bravo (JFT-Bravo), based out of Soto Cano Air Base in Honduras, worked together with members of the Colombian Armed Forces and numerous government agencies to accomplish key training events for the exercise.Exercise Vita is a combined interoperability exercise that brought participants together to perform humanitarian and civic-action operations, including multiple medical readiness training events. The exercise focused on reinforcing longstanding security cooperation ties and enhancing participants’ overall readiness, while demonstrating U.S. Southern Command’s (SOUTHCOM) enduring promise to the Americas.“We have the great challenge of continuing to consolidate day-to-day bilateral cooperation between our two nations,” said Colombian Army Major General Hugo López Barreto, commander of the combined arms task force and senior officer in charge of Exercise Vita, during an opening ceremony March 9. “This type of exercise allows the development of international missions aimed at the adequate integration of troops while maintaining the highest level of operational readiness.”A U.S. Army Reserve surgical team from Joint Task Force Bravo operates on a Colombian national with support from Colombian surgeons and hospital staff at the San Rafael Hospital in San Juan del César, Colombia, March 10, 2020. (Photo: U.S. Air Force Technical Sergeant Daniel Owen)During the exercise, Colombian and U.S. forces conducted three medical and surgical readiness events in areas identified by the host-nation government as having the greatest need, benefitting nearly 1,300 patients in communities in La Guajira.Participants provided services that included preventative medicine, public health, pharmacy and dental, improving their medical readiness by practicing operations in a remote, austere location that required significant planning and logistical coordination.Additionally, civil-military affairs teams oversaw the provision of more than $65,000 in humanitarian donations, including the delivery of a $10,000 surgical table to the San Rafael Hospital in San Juan del César — the site of one of the surgical medical readiness events — that will allow the busy medical facility to help more patients in the future.“For our population, this donation is very important because we have a great number of very vulnerable people,” said Eliana Mendoza, San Rafael Hospital director.U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Uherka, civil-military operations director, oversaw U.S. civil affairs participants integrated with their Colombian counterparts who projected forward to the medical readiness events from a combined civil-military operations center in Uribia. Their role was to identify targeted opportunities to amplify the effects of exercise operations.“The way our team amplifies effects is by helping partners such as the [Colombian Civil Defense] integrate into medical readiness exercises while bringing key leaders to increase trust between the population and their government,” Lt. Col. Uherka said.Members of the 1st Battalion, 228th Aviation Regiment with JTF-Bravo provided freedom of movement for combined forces to remote areas of the region throughout the exercise. During multiple combined training events, they grew common skills through planning and execution of operations that included helicopter hoist training and medical evacuation practice.For both countries’ participants, the exercise represented a chance to grow together and learn together, improving on an already-strong security relationship while providing critical services to communities in need.“We realize that we can work together more to be more interoperable between both countries with the purpose of bringing well-being and joy to the vulnerable communities of La Guajira,” said Colombian Army Major Cristian Loaiza, Comprehensive Action and Development Battalion No. 1 commander and exercise participant. “It’s very gratifying because we acquire more knowledge, we work harder to become excellent partners, and outside of that we continue to grow our great, enduring friendship between both militaries.”That integration was particularly noticeable between JTF-Bravo and the host unit at Fort Buenavista: the Medium Combined Arms Task Force (FUTAM, in Spanish). The unit is Colombia’s primary task force postured to respond to contingencies. During remarks at the opening ceremony, U.S. Army Colonel Steven Barry, JTF-Bravo commander, recognized FUTAM as a “sister unit.”“We share a bond that is indicative of the strong relationship between our nations,” Col. Barry said. “Our units are both unique task forces charged with preparing to project forces where they are needed. In this way, we have a head start, a common framework off which we can work.”“We would like to thank our Colombian hosts, including the men and women of the Colombian Armed Forces and the numerous government agencies from whom we have learned so much,” Col. Barry said. “We look forward to the day when we can again work side-by-side for the benefit of our combined team and of the Colombian people.”last_img read more

How a financial cooperative became a voice for social justice

first_imgIn August 2014, St. Louis Community Credit Union ($299.5M, St. Louis, MO) announced plans to open a new branch in economically hard-pressed Ferguson. A week later, the St. Louis suburb exploded after the shooting death of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown during an altercation with a local policeman.Looting and arrests occurred in the days and weeks after the shooting, and legal recriminations continued for months, yet SLCCU kept its commitment to the community and opened the branch that October.In its first year, SLCCU’s Ferguson branch opened more than 1,230 accounts and conducted nearly 66,000 transactions.And through its “Ferguson Strong” initiative, the community development credit union has expanded beyond banking to offer financial education, internships, and funding to agencies engaged in improving housing conditions, just for starters, building on its record of similar work throughout its service area. continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Regional leaders call on everyone to play role in overcoming pandemic

first_img“The country’s spirit is gotong royong [mutual cooperation], so we can’t just delegate a particular task to the central government, or to certain regional administrations only. Containing COVID-19 is our shared responsibility,” Ganjar said.Ganjar said that he himself had introduced a community movement program dubbed Jogo Tonggo (neighbors looking after each other), in which community members collaborated to manage food and security in response to the pandemic. “I openly told the public that this crisis is not going to end anytime soon and the government’s financial aid will therefore never be sufficient. I therefore try to inspire empowerment among the community,” Ganjar said.Read also: With policy flip-flops, ‘new normal’ looks gloomy for Indonesia Meanwhile, Anna Mu’awanah, the regent of Bojonegoro in East Java, concurred with Ganjar, saying that “COVID-19 is the concern of all parties”, including the citizens.If the public, for instance, insisted on violating mobility restrictions issued by the authorities to contain the disease transmission, all of the COVID-19 response efforts would count for nothing, she went on.The Bojonegoro administration had strengthened the function of task forces at each level, from top to bottom, to do contact tracing so as to cut the chain of the virus transmission.”Lately, we’ve been doing what’s called village-based contact tracing [by mobilizing resources at the bottom level] so that all corners of Bojonegoro can be well covered.” Meanwhile, the executive director of Regional Autonomy Watch, Robert Na Endi Jaweng, said the country should establish a “command system” during the crisis to avoid bureaucratic infighting and discrepancies between regulations across the country.”Someone needs to consolidate all ministries and institutions under one management to avoid potential conflicts,” he underlined.Topics : A number of regional leaders have come to the defense of the central government from criticism over its handling of the COVID-19 crisis, saying that it is the responsibility of all people to help the nation get through the pandemic.Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo said no one, including the government, had had any experience with the novel coronavirus and thus it was somewhat understandable for authorities to be “confused” while handling the health crisis and sometimes make blunders in policies.Strong cooperation between the central government, regional administrations and people in the community was therefore necessary to overcome the challenges that emerge during the outbreak, he said during a teleconference organized by the Center of Indonesia Strategic Development Initiatives (CISDI) on Wednesday.last_img read more

Biker paramedics ride to the rescue in Venezuelan capital

first_imgNormally a Caracas city fire brigade unit would be on the scene, but the emergency services face the same budgetary dilemmas as the rest of Venezuela’s public services. Their coffers are empty.Hence, in 2018 — when shortages of food and medicine were forcing millions to flee Venezuela’s economic meltdown — the NGO was set up with donor funds to help fill the gap for the emergency services.Before taking to the streets of Caracas, the “Angels” took first aid lessons in hospitals, which allows them to work with the blessing of the Venezuelan health authorities as they assist the victims of highway accidents. Gels, gloves and bikes Dressed in smart grey uniforms, the group are equipped with protective visors, glasses, gloves and disinfectant gels. David Mujica, 38, listens in to police and emergency service frequencies on a radio at the group’s first-aid van, their mobile headquarters parked on a street in eastern Caracas.”When you are immersed in this, you’re on call every day,” said Mujica.Mujica is ready to jump on his motorbike at a moment’s notice, to respond to an emergency call. But the group is also there to cater for the relatively mundane.A woman, in her 70s and trembling, approaches a yellow tape around the perimeter of the caravan. After her blood pressure is taken, the woman’s problem is diagnosed as an anxiety attack. “Sometimes a person may have only sprained an ankle, but the moment you tend to them and give them your support, it changes lives,” said Rodiz proudly. Fighting fear Independent organizations claim there are only 206 intensive care beds in public hospitals in Venezuela, a country of 30 million.And according to the NGO Doctors for Health, last year hospitals only had half the medicines and medical material they needed to function.Doctors fear the medical system will be overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients as the pandemic worsens. Officially, Venezuela has so far recorded over 4,000 infections, with 35 deaths. However, opposition parties and NGOs like Human Rights Watch have cast doubt on those figures.The “Angels” run a “high risk of contagion” Rodiz acknowledged, as they never know if accident victims are carrying the virus. They use face masks and antibacterial gels to protect themselves. “You feel scared, but you are not going to let it stop you doing your job,” she said. Zully Rodiz and her kind are seen as modern-day angels in the chaos of the Venezuelan capital, roaring off on powerful motorcycles to the scene of a road accident or to bring medicine to the sick. It’s normally a task for ambulance crews and fully trained paramedics. But in the midst of a collapsing health system, desperate Caracas emergency services are increasingly looking to Rodiz and her friends at the “Angeles de las vias” (“Angels of the Roads”) NGO to fill the gap left by a devastated primary care system.Rodiz, a 38-year-old architect, says the 12 biker gang members answer emergency calls free of charge to back up poorly resourced paramedics.center_img Topics : State-employed “paramedics here are so badly paid,” said Rodolfo Alvarado, who left a job in the city fire brigade to make a better living in pest control. He joins up with the “Angels” in his spare time. “I prefer to do it for free in the days that I can,” Alvarado, 30, told AFP.Alvarado says they can attend up to 18 accidents a day, and it’s not long before they are called into action to help a fellow motorcyclist after a collision with a car.It takes less than five minutes to brace the right leg of the injured man, who is transferred to hospital shortly afterwards in an ambulance run by the civil defense service.last_img read more

Fugro Picks ZTT for Kangaroo Island Subsea Cable Project

first_imgZTT Group has been awarded a contract by Fugro to supply one 15.3-kilometer 33kV XLPE insulated submarine composite cable to Kangaroo island.It will be the third submarine composite cable by SA Power Networks (SAPN) to connect southern Fleurieu Peninsula, south of Adelaide and the island.The new 33kV cable will be able to transmit 20 kVA to replace old 33kV one with transmission capacity of 10 kVA.ZTT will produce and deliver the cable in one continuous single length, without any factory joint. It should provide reliable power supply to residents and tourists of the island in future 30 to 40 years.Following the successful delivery of a submarine cable to Australia offshore renewable industry couple years ago, this is another breakthrough for ZTT in Australia market.The cable delivery is expected to be in Q1 2018 and installation by middle 2018.last_img read more

Lady Eagles Battle Lady Hilltoppers

first_imgThe JCD Jr. High Girls were back in action Monday night.The 7th Grade stared out sluggish, but came out in the 3rd quarter ready to play. At the half the score was JCD 2 & Shawe 6. Some great defense saw them ahead 14-8 at the end of the 3rd. They ended up winning 22-12. Scoring for the Eagles were Richter & Harmeyer 6, Strunk & Veerkamp 4, & Jones 2.The 8th Grade came out fighting with a quick 12-2 lead in the first. At the half they saw a 19-3 lead. They continued to work together and came away with a win 42-9. Scoring for the Eagles were Williams 18, Newhart 6, Cullen 5, Sparks 4, C. Simon 3, & Wilhoit, Fullmer, & Rider each with 2.They will face Rising Sun at home on Wednesday. Come out and support our Lady Eagles.Courtesy of Eagles Coach Lisa Horn.last_img read more

Judy M. Allen – Richmond

first_imgMemorial donations can be directed to the Picnic Pavilion of Bible Baptist Church, the American Diabetes Association or to the Alzheimer’s’ Association.  To sign the online guestbook please visit  The staff of Cook Rosenberger Funeral Home is honored to care for the family of Judy Allen. Friends may visit with the family on Tuesday, September 18, 2018 from 11 a.m. until time of service at 1 p.m. at Cook Rosenberger Funeral Home, 929 Main Street, Brookville.  Rev. Ron McCulloch, pastor of Bible Baptist Church in Metamora will officiate the service at the funeral home at 1 p.m. with burial following at Big Cedar Cemetery. Those surviving who will cherish Judy’s memory include her sisters, Jenny M. (Kenneth) Stone, Joy Oelker and Jerri (Chris) Shorter all of Metamora, and one honorary sister, Arlene Brockman of Huber Heights, OH; nieces and nephews, Mary Jo Hensley, Marci Smith, Allen Shorter, Carrie Leising, Kirk Shorter, Luke Shorter, and many great nieces and nephews.  Besides her parents, she was preceded in death by a brother, Cecil Allen and a brother-in-law, Jeffrey Oelker.center_img Judy M. Allen, age 70, of Richmond, was born on March 16, 1948 in Batesville, Indiana, a daughter to Hurshel and Mary L. Smith Allen.  She worked at Hoffco, Inc. in Richmond for a number of years and in her spare time enjoyed crocheting, sewing, reading and trips to Kentucky.  Judy was a social person and loved being with family and friends.  On Friday, September 14, 2018 at the age of 70, she passed away at Forest Park Health Campus in Richmond.last_img read more