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Invaders

first_imgBy Stephanie SchupskaUniversity of GeorgiaNot all nonnative plants are invasive. In fact, for every 100 foreign plant species, only one becomes a problem. But that 1 percent worries the Georgia plant industry.Controlling “nonnative, invasive pest plants in natural environments is one of the most sensitive and volatile issues being debated today” by the plant, or green, industry, said Gary Wade, a University of Georgia Cooperative Extension horticulturist.Ornamental horticulture includes greenhouses, container nurseries, turfgrass and field nurseries. It brought in a farm-gate value of more than $650 million in Georgia in 2004. And one of its representative organizations, the Georgia Green Industry Association, is approaching the invasive plant problem head-on.The GGIA formed an invasive plant task force in 2003 that is examining the issue and moving toward better solutions. Even so, they have to deal with the issues that make an invasive plant popular in the first place.“Ironically, many of the characteristics that make invasive plants invasive are the same ones that make them appealing as landscape plants,” said Wade, who co-chairs the GGIA invasive plant task force. “They’re tough, adaptable, quite ornamental and easy to propagate.”The task force assigned plants to three categories based on their degree of invasiveness and then looked at which ones are available in the nursery trade.Plants in category 1 have a serious impact on native environments and displace native plant species over a wide area. These include mimosa, Chinese privet, multiflora rose, Japanese climbing fern, Chinese tallow tree, autumn olive, Japanese honeysuckle and kudzu.Category 2 plants have a moderate impact on native environments. Their population is localized, not widespread like that of a category 1 plant. But they’re harming native plant communities. Examples are Chinese and Japanese wisteria, princess tree and bigleaf periwinkle.Category 3 or “watch list” plants have the potential to be invasive but aren’t invading native plant communities. Examples are lacebark elm and burning bush euonymus.Invasive plants compete with native species for light, water and nutrients. They also change the structure of a community’s vegetation and decrease food sources and protective cover for wildlife. Perhaps the most noticeable effect on the environment is that they simply make an area look worse and hinder access to recreational sites.The Georgia green industry is combating the issue through research, surveys and education. They’re finding out just how big the invasive plant problem is.In the fall of 2005, the GGIA surveyed all growers, landscapers and plant dealers in Georgia. Completed survey results showed that all category 1 plants, which are the most invasive, are occasionally being sold.However, an overwhelming majority of those who responded said they would welcome regulating help from GGIA. Of the respondents, 74 percent said, “Yes, the GGIA should regulate the production, sale and installation of invasive plants.”“Georgia’s green industry wants to be a part of the solution, not a part of the problem,” Wade said.Wade outlined the group’s plan of action.First, they’re working to help manage invasive plants already in Georgia. Then they want to phase invaders, particularly the category 1 plants, out of the trade. At the same time, they plant to educate their industry and the public about invasive plants.Last, but not least, they want to develop a way to assess new plant introductions for their invasive potential before the plants make their way to market, preventing future invaders.Wade lists three ways anyone can help with this problem:1. Don’t plant invasive plants in your landscape.2. Help educate others in your community about invasive plants.3. Volunteer to help manage invasive plants in your community.To learn more about invasive exotic pest plants in Georgia, visit the Georgia Exotic Pest Plant Council’s Web site at www.gaeppc.org.(Stephanie Schupska is a news editor with the University ofGeorgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)last_img read more

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Septic Health

first_imgSeptic tank maintenance is often ignored but imperative to keeping many households healthy.To bring light to this subject and encourage homeowners and communities to take better care of septic tank systems, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has designated Sept. 16-20 SepticSmart Week.“SepticSmart Week is a good opportunity for homeowners and those with septic systems to think about how to maintain the system to prevent future problems,” said Gary L. Hawkins, University of Georgia water resource management and policy specialist and assistant professor in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences.Working septic systems play an important role in protecting Georgia’s waterways from harmful bacteria and other pollutants, Hawkins said. No one wants to think about their septic system, but proactively working to protect them not only saves money but protects nearby streams, rivers and aquatic wildlife, he said.Homeowners can visit the UGA Cooperative Extension water resources website for more information regarding septic systems in Georgia.Those who would like more information about septic tank health and water quality can tune in to a live webinar titled “SepticSmart Week 2019: Promoting Best Practices for Community Involvement,” from 1 to 3 p.m. on Sept. 18. Registration is free but required at the registration website.For more information on maintaining your septic system and protecting municipal sewer systems, please contact your local UGA Extension agent by calling 1-800-ASK-UGA1.last_img read more

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Peru’s Commando School

first_img On December 17, 1996, 14 members of the terrorist organization Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA) seized the Japanese Embassy in Lima. With hundreds of guests in attendance for the Japanese emperor’s birthday celebration, the terrorists infiltrated the compound and took everyone hostage. As the hours wore on, dozens of hostages – including all the women – were permitted to leave until 72 hostages remained (see sidebar). The next day, top military leaders devised a plan to retrieve the remaining hostages. For a span of four months, 140 Peruvian Commandos trained, prepared and rehearsed for what was to become the most successful rescue operation in the history of Peru. Operation Chavín de Huántar went into effect on April 22, 1997, when the Commandos stormed the embassy and liberated all the hostages. The operation lasted just 30 minutes as the preparation, planning and training came to fruition. Current director of the Commando School, Colonel José Oliva, explained that the foundation for that training began at the institution. Since its inception more than 50 years ago, the school has been training not only the finest Peruvian Soldiers, but Soldiers from other countries as well, including Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Mexico. “Our primary mission here at the school is to train our Soldiers to be Commandos,” said Col. Oliva. The school was officially founded in 1961 after the Peruvian Army saw the need to have a Special Forces unit. Fourteen officers were selected to travel to Fort Benning, Georgia, to complete the intense U.S. Army Ranger School. Upon returning to Peru, the officers applied all the training and fundamentals to the first class of cadets, thus creating the first graduating class of Commandos. The Commando School still adheres to the fundamental principles learned at the U.S. Army Ranger School, but the Peruvian Army has adapted it to better fit their needs. Tactical courses such as those to counter terrorism became essential with the rise of the Shining Path and the MRTA in the 1980s. By Dialogo October 01, 2011 I would like to belong to the school of command and serve my country. How can I do this? Please help me. Thanks. Our future lies in childhood, in education with values and the primary work is in youth. We must encourage our young people regarding the importance of discipline. That is why we are working so that our army is mixed with educational institutions in order to achieve the upbringing of citizens with values and love of their homeland. I would like to belong to the school of commands and serve my country. How can I? Please help me. Thanks. Please send me a message to my email. I belonged to the Lynx commands in Ayacucho and I am proud to be a command, although I am not currently active. good I’d like to be a special forces commander for my Peruvian army I’d like to know if they also accept women MONITOR COMMAND 41 OF COMMANDO SCHOOL, SPECIALTY AMPHIBIOUSBEING A SOLDIER IS AN HONOR, BEING COMMANDO A PRIVILEGE; DON’T BE A THIEF, DON’T BE A LIAR, DON’T BE IDLE Does the PNP accept officials or is it only military men that can train there? My name is Ivan Angel Felipe Perez Egoavil, my father was in the Peruvian National Police (PNP) and I was a soldier… I would have liked and would have been excited to be a commando but unfortunately the economic situation of our family didn’t allow it in spite of applying… as a young boy I used to watch the commandos with their black cap, I was excited by the idea of growing up and applying… now I work on the streets but I have never given up nor have I fallen into shady stuff, I have always remained correct in my life and now I’m about to have my second child at the age of 40 and I teach them values and I give them the same affection that my parents gave me…if it is his dream to become a command, then I will be ready to help him, and teach him to go forward without looking back but without forgetting his family… hooray for the commands, hooray for the class of 94 wherever you are living life….I love you my beautiful PERU… Well, I would like to know if I can sign up to serve. I am 17 years old I am of a good height and am in shape I would like to know if I would be accepted because I like to serve my country and I want to be a sniper. That is my goal. Hello, combatants I am a commando and regards to all of them it is an honor one of them because you show that the word surrender does not exist and what’s impossible the commando you do it or give a quick solution. A commando never dies and if it dies you die in action. How proud I feel for myself and so now you want to be one of them. Just prepare yourself mentally and physically and morally and you will be a winner 2006 graduating class I am at the Grau Piura barracks. I am a gunnery soldier. I want to apply to the military school in Chorrillos Our countrymen are very close to World War Three. This war will decide it all, we cannot lose we should not give in, let us show that Peruvians are not cowardly. Remember: there is no invincible enemy, no long road, limits do not exist, love for country overcomes all, everything for Peru, to the ultimate consequence! If I must die for Peru, so be it! You can get into Officers’ School without having served in the military I HEAR MANY PEOPLE SAY: LET’S GIVE OUR ALL FOR PERU, BUT WHO MAKES UP PERU WHEN I THINK ABOUT THIS IMAGES OF PEOPLE COME TO MIND WHO REALLY DON’T VALUE WHAT ONE DOES FOR ONE’S COUNTRY AND I WOULDN’T WANT TO RISK MY LIFE FOR THAT KIND OF PEOPLE. SO IF I’M GOING TO SAY ANYTHING, IT’S THIS: I WILL SERVE IN THE ARMY BECAUSE I WANT TO FROM THE HEART AND I WILL FIGHT BECAUSE I LOVE AND FOR THOSE WHO LOVE OUR COUNTRY. I am in a troop and I would like to take my course Commando Monitor which I need to join. Or what rank do I need to hold to be able to join? Where is the school for commandos located? I wen’t to Commando School back in 2002. Got to do a tailgate jump on Mercedes Drop Zone from an An-26 or 32. That school ain’t no joke..My battle buddy last name was Comotivos..I loved every minuet in Peru and have mad respect for my Peruvian Brothers in Ist Division Fuerzas Especiales….Airborne All the Way! The six-month course is not for the weak or faint of heart. Peak physical and mental conditioning is paramount for its completion. Enrollment at the officer level typically includes members ranging from 2nd lieutenants to captains, while at the enlisted level the inductees range from staff sergeants to master sergeants. A cadet’s training at the school is divided into three phases: basic, technical and applicable. At the basic phase, aside from daily physical training, cadets learn the fundamentals of first aid, communications and human rights – an aspect heavily stressed by the school. The technical portion tests the cadets’ physical stamina with trials in water survival, mountaineering, obstacle courses, patrolling and rucksack marches. Failure to complete any portion of this phase will cause the Soldier to be dropped from the school. “Throughout the duration of the course, attrition is a natural factor,” said Col. Oliva. “Typically the average graduating class is around 25 to 30 students after an initial enrollment of 50 or 60.” During the final phase of the course, cadets apply everything they have learned from Peru’s diverse geography. For example, the mountaineering phase takes place in Peru’s high altitude Huaraz region, located about 420 kilometers north of Lima and 3,052 meters above sea level. Upon completing this trial, the students move on to the jungle phase typically taking place in the Apurímac and Ene Rivers Valley region, a hub for Shining Path activities nowadays. Cadets who complete the Commando School curricula receive additional specialized training in areas such as sharpshooting/sniper, mountaineering, search and rescue or underwater operations. To complete the entire course and be part of the Commando brotherhood is a matter of honor for these select Soldiers. Their motto is loosely translated to “Being and not seeming,” a reference to not simply boasting of their actions, but carrying out their mission and everything they do as a true Commando Soldier. The Commando School’s hymn states, “Victory is for all our brothers on the field, not just the Commandos.” Four months earlier, on the evening of December 17, 1996, members of the Peruvian terrorist organization Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA) stormed the residence of Japanese Ambassador Morihisa Aoki as more than 500 guests gathered to celebrate the Japanese Emperor’s birthday. The 14 terrorists, armed with assault rifles, RPGs and grenades, set off two explosions and took the panic-stricken guests hostage. Over the course of the evening, all the women were released along with dignitaries until 72 hostages remained. They included Japanese authorities and senior officials of Peru’s security forces — including Navy Admiral Luis Giampietri, who would become a key asset for the Peruvian Military through the duration of the hostage crisis. On December 18, one day after the siege, Operation Chavín de Huántar, in reference to a famous Peruvian archaeological site known for its underground passageways, was put into effect by the Peruvian Government with the utmost secrecy. To prepare for the operation, a life-size replica of the embassy was built at a military base. There, 140 Special Forces Commandos volunteered for the mission and practiced every detail of the operation. Simultaneously, extensive tunnels were being dug from buildings adjacent to the embassy leading to three key points under the Japanese residence where explosives would be placed. On April 22, 1997, three explosive charges, which had been placed in the underground tunnels, detonated in three different rooms on the first floor. The first explosion hit in the middle of the room where an indoor soccer game was taking place, killing three of the hostage-takers immediately. Through the holes created by the blasts, 30 Commandos stormed the building, chasing the rest of the MRTA members before they reached the second floor. Two other tactics were deployed at the same time as the explosions. A direct assault from the front of the building by 20 Commandos, joining their comrades who had already entered from underneath the building. A third group of Commandos entered the second floor by climbing up external ladders. The third group then blew up a grenade-proof door on the second floor and began to evacuate the hostages. In the end, all 14 terrorists were killed, as well as two Commandos and one hostage, who died from cardiac arrest after being hit in the femoral artery by shrapnel from a terrorist grenade. Today, the replica of the embassy used to prepare for the mission has been turned into a museum to honor the success of the operation. April 22 has been declared a national day of remembrance to honor those who died during the Chavín de Huántar Operation. “If you ask almost everyone in the Army, most Soldiers would like to be a Commando, but not everyone can be one,” said Col. Oliva. “For me it’s a matter of personal pride to have graduated as a Commando because of everything we learned and went through; it shows what the will of the human spirit is capable of doing.” Peru’s Daring Rescue Operation DIÁLOGO STAFF For four months the Soldiers dug through the rocks and cement every day. Dug with very basic tools and equipment in order to minimize the noise. They dug until they finally reached the bottom of the Japanese Embassy, which had been seized by terrorists. last_img read more

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US Seizes $150 Million in Hezbollah-Linked Funds

first_imgBy Dialogo August 22, 2012 US authorities on August 20 announced the seizure of $150 million allegedly linked to a scheme by the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah to launder proceeds from drug trafficking and other crimes. The money came from a US bank account used by the Lebanese Canadian Bank to conduct US currency transactions, US Attorney Preet Bharara and US Drug Enforcement Admistration chief Michele Leonhart said. “As we alleged last year, the Lebanese Canadian Bank played a key role in facilitating money laundering for Hezbollah controlled organizations across the globe,” Leonhart said in a statement. “Our relentless pursuit of global criminal networks showed that the US banking system was exploited to launder drug trafficking funds through West Africa and into Lebanon. “DEA and our partners are attacking these groups and their financial infrastructure, while establishing clear links between drug trafficking proceeds and terrorist funding,” she said.last_img read more

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Suffolk Police Rescue 8 From Stranded Boat in Great South Bay

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Eight people were rescued early Saturday morning when a 32-foot boat began taking in water after both its engines failed, Suffolk County police said.Two Suffolk County Police Marine Bureau officers were on board a Marine X-Ray at 2:22 a.m. in the Great South Bay when they came across the stranded 32-foot Carrera boat just north of Ocean Beach, police said.The boat was taking on water after both its engines failed, police said. Eight adults were on board.Officers tied the boat to their vessel and towed it back to Ocean Beach, where they helped drain the boat, police said.The 23-year-old operator of the boat was issued summonses for an unregistered boat and non-functional navigation lights, police said.No injuries were reported.last_img read more

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Tell us your opinion about CFPB efforts by June 6

first_img continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr NAFCU-member credit unions have until next Thursday to submit responses to this month’s Economic & CU Monitor survey, which is focused on CFPB priorities.Through the survey, NAFCU seeks to better understand the industry’s outlook on multiple issues included in the CFPB’s spring rulemaking agenda including debt collection, HMDA, and overdraft. The survey also includes questions related to how credit unions process transactions and data collected in validation processes.Earlier this month, the CFPB announced that its overdraft rule will be reviewed first under the Regulatory Flexibility Act.Responses to the Monitor can be recorded via online survey or PDF file, and questions may be sent to research@nafcu.org.last_img read more

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India Love Project: The Instagram account telling tales of forbidden love

first_imgTwo weeks after the row over the ad, journalist couple Samar Halarnkar and Priya Ramani and their journalist-writer friend Niloufer Venkatraman launched the India Love Project on Instagram, describing it as “a celebration of interfaith/inter-caste love and togetherness in these divisive, hate-filled times”.- Advertisement – – Advertisement –last_img

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‘Too strict’ FTK rules could create new source of instability, APG warns

first_imgThe Dutch pension system’s regulatory framework should be based on open norms and the prudent-person principle instead of the new financial assessment framework’s (nFTK) “strict” rules, according to Dick Sluimers, chief executive at €424bn asset manager APG. Speaking at the International Capital Market Association congress in Amsterdam, Sluimers warned that current nFTK rules forced many Dutch schemes to maintain interest hedge positions that will incur large losses if interest rates were raised.Sluimers said a sudden 1-percentage-point rate increase, assuming an average 50% interest hedge, could trigger €140bn in margin calls for pension funds.He noted one such instance between 20 April and 14 May, when the 30-year swap rate increased by 70 basis points. “The nFTK sees maintaining an interest hedge as risk reduction, yet, given the currently low interest rates, it could also be considered sensible to reduce interest cover at this very moment,” he said.Sluimers acknowledged that, for the regulator, a more open regulatory standard could be “more complicated” at the “micro level”, but he argued that it would also increase stability at the macro-economic level.“Strict rules could cause institutions worldwide to take up similar positions, which could unintentionally lead to a new source of instability,” he said.In others news, the €373bn civil service pension fund ABP is looking to give participants investment choices, including a ‘green’ option.Corien Wortmann-Kool, ABP’s chair, who mentioned the initiative in an interview with Dutch daily Trouw, said the pension fund would first need to address a legal ban on ring-fencing.It will also require the approval of the social partners, as well as more clarity on implementation risks, such as costs, care duty and the balance between individual and collective risk sharing.A recent ABP survey suggests 42% of its participants are interested in sustainable investment.last_img read more

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Bernardino given second term at EIOPA as executive director departs

first_imgA spokeswoman for EIOPA confirmed that Carlos Montalvo Rebuelta would not be seeking a second term as executive director.Montalvo has been EIOPA’s executive director since 2011.Prior to that, he was secretary general of its predecessor, the Committee of Insurance and Occupational Pensions Supervisors (CEIOPS).The supervisor has now launched a recruitment process to find a replacement.Bernardino also began his European career at CEIOPS, being elected its chairman in 2009.He was shortlisted as a candidate to be the new supervisor’s chairman and was confirmed in the role by ECON in February 2011, taking up the position three months after the European Supervisory Authorities of EIOPA, ESMA and the European Banking Authority were formally established.Prior to taking on the role of chairman at CEIOPS, Bernardino was director general for development and institutional relations at the Instituto de Seguros de Portugal (ISP), which he joined in 1989.Bernardino, as the public face of EIOPA, has often been criticised for the supervisor’s work on the holistic balance sheet (HBS) and, more recently, conducting stress tests of the pensions sector.In an interview with IPE last year, he emphasised that EIOPA was not rigid in its views, and that the then-ongoing HBS consultation – considering six potential approaches – was a means of gathering industry feedback.“You need to have an idea, but the one I have is not a choice between framework one or framework six – it is to listen,” he said at the time.“We are trying to include all the [pensions] mechanisms we have in the different countries. No country will have it all, but the tool can provide added value.” Gabriel Bernardino’s term as chairman of the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) has been extended until 2021.In a statement, EIOPA said the decision to offer Bernardino a second five-year term was due to his successes since the supervisor was launched in 2011.The decision by the board of supervisors is still subject to approval by the European Parliament’s economic and monetary affairs committee (ECON), which has the power to reject the appointment.In contrast to last week’s decision by the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) to extend the terms of its executive director and chairman by a further five years, EIOPA has only asked Bernardino to stay until 2021.last_img read more

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Fans group welcome price rise

first_img Price hikes are rarely seen as good news among supporters, but CTWD believe it could be a sign that the Egyptian will not go through with his previous promise to walk away if the Football Association reject his application to rename the team Hull Tigers. Allam insists a rebrand would attract fresh commercial deals to the club and is said to see a hefty rise in season tickets as a way to mitigate a lack of new investment should the FA rule against him. City Till We Die, an umbrella group set up in opposition to the Tigers moniker, have lobbied the governing body to dismiss Allam’s plans but remain broadly supportive of his ownership. A statement from the organisation read: “We are pleased that the Allam family are planning for their ongoing stewardship of Hull City AFC in the event that the FA rejects their name change application. We remain open to helping find viable solutions to make the club self-sufficient. “The decision on the name change proposal is now in the hands of the FA. We assume that the club will have made details clear to the FA of any thus far undisclosed link between potential sponsorship deals and a change of playing name in their submission. “CTWD has faith in the FA’s ongoing consultation and has undertaken not to comment on the investigation. We respect the FA process and await their decision. “As throughout this campaign, we do not believe that protests against our owner have any place during the match.” The FA is expected to make a ruling on the case in April. Hull fans group City Till We Die has welcomed reports that the club may increase season ticket prices as a sign of renewed commitment from owner Assem Allam.center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

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