First Woman to Lead Chilean Army Demining Company

first_imgBy Guillermo Saavedra / Diálogo February 11, 2020 Perhaps Chilean Army Captain Gabriela Valdivia had an atypical military career path: she said she didn’t have any close relatives in the Armed Forces, and her first vocation was astronomy. But her interest in judo, a sport she chose during her studies at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, in Santiago, brought her each time closer to her military colleagues.“The professor invited me to train with the Army’s judo team. I began to get familiar with service members of different ranks and to train with them,” says Capt. Valdivia, 39. “I thought I could become a service member. So, without my family knowing, I submitted my application and they accepted me.”Her change of heart also had to do with the conditions in which most astronomers work: long hours confined inside an office, while Capt. Valdivia dreamed of working in the open air. She never imagined that after 15 years as an engineer in the military she would start working outdoors and become a pioneer in the Army as the first woman to lead a demining company.“Although there have been women in the company, it’s the first time a woman assumes the role of commander. I’m honored that they give me this mission,” said Capt. Valdivia, who leads the Humanitarian Demining Company 4th Motor Brigade Rancagua. Since May 2018, the officer serves as a commander in the Quebrada Escritos area of Arica city, among other areas, in northern Chile, 12 miles from the Peruvian border. Capt. Valdivia leads more than 100 service members and civilians in a demining effort that covers an area of more than 93,000 square-miles, where, according to the officer, about 4,000 anti-tank and anti-personnel mines remain.Her duties entail a great deal of responsibilities: updating and checking the minefields’ maps, as well as leading and verifying mine clearance, and making sure that members of her brigade are mentally and physically up to the task. Physical exhaustion and a lack of focus are dangers that might cause accidents, the officer says.“If one of your company members has an accident, if someone fails, it’s my responsibility. You need to know how to manage enormous pressure,” Capt. Valdivia says.“Planning and risk assessment, coupled with empathy and teamwork capabilities, are the main traits that make Capt. Valdivia one of the many leaders that we have in the Chilean Army,” Lieutenant Colonel Cristián Sarah, Chilean Army’s chief of Communications, told Diálogo.In the 1970s, the government of Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990) planted about 180,000 anti-personnel and anti-tank mines in Chilean territory, along the borders with Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina. In 2002, Chile signed the Ottawa Treaty, also known as the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction.In early 2019, the Chilean government began to implement a system of reparations — financial and medical assistance and rehabilitation — for the victims of anti-personnel mines. According to the government, as of January 2020, about 150 people were severely injured, and 46 had died from explosions.As of mid-January 2020, 94 percent of the mines planted in Chilean territory have been removed, says Capt. Valdivia. The officer expects that the country will successfully honor its promise to conclude the demining process in March.last_img read more

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Long Island Snow Storm to Bring Another 5 Inches

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A woman waits for a Long Island Rail Road train on the snow-covered Bay Shore station platform under an electronic sign explaining why the waiting rooms are open later than usual during a storm Monday, Feb. 3, 2014.Three-to-5 inches of snow is forecast for northwestern Long Island when another winter storm is expected to bring 2-4 inches of the white stuff to the rest of the area, experts say.The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for Nassau County and northwestern Suffolk while the South Shore and North Fork of the Island are under a lesser winter weather advisory from midnight to 6 p.m. Wednesday.“The way that this low is positioned is really making it difficult [to predict] how much snow we’re going to get, how much ice we’re going to get,” said Lauren Nash, a meteorologist in the agency’s Upton office. “That’s really the key to this forecast.”Either way, school, business and travel will likely be disrupted by the storm, which is expected to arrive two days after nearly 10 inches of snow blanketed LI on Monday and before a third storm might hit the tri-state area this weekend.Up to a quarter of an inch of ice is expected to coat the ground as well, although the ice amounts may accumulate higher closer to the city, Nash said.Flakes are forecast to start falling first early Wednesday morning, reducing visibility to as low as a quarter of a mile. Then the precipitation will change to sleet and freezing rain, according to the NWS. The combination is expected to make for hazardous driving conditions.Temperatures will drop down to the 20s overnight are expected to stay in the low 30s for the rest of the week.The latest snow storms come less than a week after Groundhog Day, when Malverne Mel and Holtsville Hal both predicted an early spring.last_img read more

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What is your credit union’s appetite for risk?

first_img 64SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Scott Hood Scott is a leader in helping businesses make important changes in operations, processes, products, systems and governance. He has used his extensive project management, finance and systems expertise in helping … Web: www.rochdaleparagon.com Details The Rochdale Group’s consultants work with a large number of credit unions of all sizes that are in a variety of stages in implementing Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) programs. One of the most common questions we field in helping credit unions implement ERM programs is “how do we set the risk appetite for our credit union?” Although all of these credit unions already have a wide variety of risk management practices in place, few, if any, have taken steps to objectively think about their appetite for risk and, maybe more importantly, determine if their current actions are consistent with their risk appetite. This article will present the initial steps a credit union should take to address these issues.All credit unions employ a large array of risk management practices. These include loan underwriting, collections, loss mitigation, fraud prevention, asset/liability management (ALM) modeling, information security, business continuity planning, vendor management, insurance analysis and other techniques. Within these areas, credit unions either voluntarily or due to regulation set many risk limits. These include various loan underwriting criteria on loan approvals such as credit ratings, loan-to-value ratios, debt-to-income ratios, and other factors, as well as concentration limits on broad types of loans and more specific limits based on other metrics. They use investment diversification guidelines to limit investments by type, maturity, credit ratings, optionality, and other cash-flow characteristics. Credit unions also set limits on interest rate and liquidity risk using net interest income (NII), net economic value (NEV), liquidity and other modeling, often around the allowable changes in these parameters in different interest rate scenarios. Credit unions clearly set a large number of very specific limits on their risk-taking activities.These same credit unions will go on to tell us that they are “very risk averse,” “low risk,” “conservative,” or feel as if they have some other general level of riskiness. Given this tremendous amount of information and effort, why do all of these credit unions still feel lost in determining and understanding their risk appetites? The answer is that very few of them have taken the next steps of discussing their risk appetites, documenting those revelations, and then using those principles in guiding their strategies and making decisions.A credit union should take several steps in determining its appetite for risk.Step One – Hold a Qualitative Risk Appetite DiscussionAlthough most credit unions tend to have a general perception of their overall risk profile, very few of them have taken the time to hold structured discussions on risk appetite, at the board or senior management level. Thus, the first step is to hold a qualitative risk appetite discussion. This will provide an opportunity to introduce the entire risk appetite topic, and give participants the chance to articulate the credit union’s appetite for risk. Moreover, we find that the participants enjoy this opportunity to provide their input in reaching a consensus view of the credit union’s risk appetite.A key consideration here is selecting the group for this discussion. Some credit unions hold these sessions with their boards while others prefer to hold the sessions with senior management and then present resulting recommendations to their boards for review and approval. The COSO Integrated Framework for ERM suggests formulating the credit union’s qualitative risk appetite first at the management level, with discussion and approval by the board.We suggest approaching this with a facilitated discussion on the credit union’s willingness to assume risk in a variety of situations. We develop a list of questions structured around either balanced scorecard groupings (e.g., financial, people, members, process and compliance) or risk categories (e.g., compliance, credit, interest rate, liquidity, reputation, strategic and transaction risk) to pose to the group. We generally develop three to five questions in each category. In the Members category, a representative question might be “How willing are you to create dissatisfaction by growing market share at the expense of current members?” A question in the Financial category might include “How willing are you to accept above-average charge-offs if loans are priced commensurate with their risks?” We first like to present the questions individually to management and/or the board members in anonymous surveys, and then compile the individual results. The facilitated session then reviews the results of the individual surveys, highlights areas of differing opinions, and strives to get the group to reach consensus on the risk appetite in each situation. We find a surprising level of agreement on risk appetite in most areas, but the surveys reveal striking differences in at least a handful of areas. It is the discussion of the commonalities and resolution of the differences that helps management and the board really understand and articulate the credit union’s appetite for risk.Step Two – Develop Risk Appetite StatementsSo how do you leverage these first-ever discussions on risk appetite? We suggest using the results to draft qualitative risk appetite statements that will provide guidance to management and staff. Think about the qualitative statements in much the same way as your credit union’s mission statements or core values. The qualitative risk appetite statements won’t replace other risk limits but they will articulate the credit union’s appetite toward assuming risk in a variety of situations. In most cases, these statements will be the first documentation of how the credit union wants to approach risk management in a broad sense. The statements will provide management and the board with the power to judge their actions within the broader context of a risk appetite framework. This will empower management to more freely make decisions because they now will have a roadmap of risk appetite, knowing they will have the full support of the board while operating within the risk appetite parameters.Step Three – Communicate the Qualitative Risk Appetite StatementsMuch like the credit union’s mission and strategic plan, the qualitative risk appetite statements will be most effective only if you communicate them to your people. At a minimum, present the risk appetite statements to your board and senior management. Also, think about holding an internal campaign to explain the statements and their intent. Ask your people to think about the statements as they go about their normal activities. As you re-evaluate existing products, services and processes, or develop new ones, “throw them up against the qualitative risk appetite statements to see if they stick.” We like to provide examples of current activities at the credit union that fit and do not fit with the statements. It then will be up to management and the board to make decisions as to whether the credit union should modify certain activities to better fit with the qualitative risk appetite.last_img read more

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Honest staff, sure! But, honest systems?

first_img 22SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Joe Winn What do you get when you mix auto loan programs with a desire to help others? Well, approaches that make a difference, of course. So what do you get when … Web: credituniongeek.com Details Are you honest? At home? At work? In your credit union’s programs?Ah, got you on the last one. How can CU programs be honest? If you deliver what you advertise, isn’t that honest enough?Obviously, your products and services should be truthful, but having policies and systems “act” honest is more difficult a concept.Imagine this not-so-made-up scenario. You have internet service that has been canceled, so, the final bill is inbound shortly. Upon receipt, you find it is quite incorrect in its amount, so a call is in order to the customer care number. After too many menus, recordings, and hold times (those are different topics altogether), a representative comes on the line to assist you with your problem. The call goes great! The representative notices the error, punches in some keys, explains how it is resolved, and that you should be seeing results shortly. They even put a notation in your account so if you have to call again, someone else will see!Honest. Clean. They made a mistake, unfortunately (which should never have happened), but they acted to resolve it without problem.Fast-forward a month. In the mail, you receive an envelope from the internet service provider. Thinking it is the revised final bill, you open it, only to find it is actually a past-due notice with the unadjusted amount! Another call, and the number you are told to call only works for accounts in another state. Ok, you’re transferred, more menus, more recordings, and finally…another representative! They then explain that all is well, the account is notated properly (thanks previous representative!), but the system automatically sends out the notices no matter what.Let me repeat that: The system sends out the notices…No. Matter. What.You can have the greatest employees, most awesome products, and unparalleled reliability. But the moment something goes wrong (it eventually will), your carefully-automated process exasperates the issue.So the message? Make your systems as honest as your team. Take the time to ensure nothing is automatically sent to members that may contradict what they have been promised. Maintain a degree of control so you can intervene if necessary.Automation is incredible. Just keep it all in line with your institution’s  values and goals.last_img read more

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Citi to refund $335 million after finding card APRs too high

first_img continue reading » Citigroup Inc., one of the world’s largest credit-card issuers, said it will refund $335 million to U.S. customers whose annual percentage rate should have been lower.The lender determined that a method it was using to calculate APRs didn’t properly reflect the full benefit customers should have received for good behavior, such as paying on time, the New York-based bank said Friday in a securities filing that disclosed the issue and the total cost. It’s currently reviewing accounts and plans to have refund checks in the mail by the second half of the year.The Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act of 2009 requires lenders to periodically review accounts whose APR had been raised to see if subsequent good behavior makes them eligible for a rate reduction. From 2011 to 2017, the bank delivered $3 billion in savings through such reviews. That was about 90% of what customers should have received. 13SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

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DA: Man Indicted for Murder in NYPD Officer Brian Moore Slaying

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Queens District Attorney Richard Brown Thursday said a grand jury returned a 12-count indictment charging a 35-year-old Queens Village man with murder in the fatal shooting of an NYPD officer from Massapequa. Demetrius Blackwell was charged with varying degrees of murder and attempted murder, along with weapons and drug charges, according to the indictment. Blackwell, an ex-con, was expected to be arraigned Thursday afternoon before Queens Supreme Court justice Joseph Zayas. He faces a life sentence without the possibility of parole on the top charge of aggravated murder, if convicted. The death of officer Brian Moore, 25, touched off days of intense mourning that culminated in a sorrow-filled funeral in Seaford that attracted thousands of law enforcement officers from across the country. To this day, blue ribbons remain tied to trees and porches in honor of the beloved officer. In a statement Thursday, Brown said Blackwell on May 2 allegedly fired at Moore and his partner, Officer Erik Jensen, “without warning.” “The defendant’s alleged actions are a direct attack on society and the law and reminds us of the dangers that our police officers face each day,” Brown added. DA Brown: #POBrianMoore was a young police officer with a bright & promising future whose life was senselessly cut short far too soon.— Richard A. Brown (@QueensDABrown) June 11, 2015Moore and Jensen, members of the 105th Precinct’s Anti-Crime Unit, were patrolling Queens Village when they spotted Blackwell adjusting his waistband. Intending to question Blackwell, the pair approached him near 104th Road at roughly 6:15 p.m., but were unexpectedly met by gunfire, the Queens DA’s office said. Multiple shots were fired into the unmarked patrol vehicle, Brown said, with one striking Moore in the head. Jensen escaped the shooting without being struck. Moore died two days later. Blackwell has also been charged with the attempted murder of Officer Jensen. The Queens grand jury also indicted Blackwell on criminal possession of stolen property for allegedly stealing a tee shirt and pair of sneakers in an effort to disguise himself, Brown said. Blackwell was also indicted on drug charges for allegedly carrying small amounts of cocaine and marijuana at the time of his arrest.Read the indictment:last_img read more

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Nokia Power Earbuds Lite are completely waterproof » Gadget Flow

first_imgWith an IPX7 rating, the Nokia Power Earbuds Lite are entirely waterproof. In fact, these impressive gadgets can handle up to 30 minutes in one meter of water. So if you happen to drop them in a puddle or a pool, that’s no problem. What’s more, these waterproof earbuds boast up to 35 hours of playtime. Meaning you can listen for a whole day without having to worry about recharging. But, if that isn’t enough battery life for you, just use the pocket-size charging case that comes with them for some extra juice. Available in Fjord, Charcoal, and Snow color options, these Nokia Earbuds draw their inspiration from nature. Thankfully, the Nokia Power Earbuds Lite also use 100% recyclable paper packaging. With a smooth, ergonomic fit and universal Bluetooth compatibility, these earbuds are ones you won’t want to take out pretty much ever. – Advertisement –last_img read more

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Nature and leisure meet at Pebble Creek development

first_imgCommunity fun is serious business at Pebble Creek in south Brisbane, with custom leisure facilities scattered throughout the development.At its heart is the 9.4-hectare Pebble Creek Parklands, adjacent to Flagstone Creek, which features an array of options to relax and play outdoors.Pebble Creek has been designed with nature and leisure at its heart. Picture: realestate.com.auTed Cronin, development director at Orchard Property Group, says the master-planned estate “offers an active lifestyle for all members of the family”.“The first stage of the parklands, which is already built, includes a large play tower, flying fox, a learn-to-cycle area, and multiple barbecues, shelters and amenities,” he says.“Stage 2 will include a full-size multipurpose sports field, mixed-use court, table tennis and off-leash dog area. Aside from the park there are also kilometres of bike and pedestrian linkages to surrounding areas.”The first stage of parklands is already complete.The community is in South Maclean, which is part of the Queensland Government’s Greater Flagstone Priority Development Area (PDA), between two future employment precincts at North Maclean and Bromelton.Upon completion, the region will accommodate 120,000 people in over 50,000 dwellings, Cronin says.“It will also include major retail and employment hubs. The area is currently seeing a tremendous level of investment with both Coles and Woolworths under construction and soon to open.More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus10 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market10 hours ago“New schools are planned within the PDA so there really is no reason to leave the local area,” he says.The growth area is already seeing a lot of investment.Stage 1 at Pebble Creek included 46 lots, ranging from $145,000 to $190,000 and more than 60% have sold. Cronin says first homes in this stage will be under construction before Christmas.Stage 2, which consists of 47 lots, will be released to the market in January 2020. Prices will range from $149,000 to $190,000.For more information on Pebble Creek, visit their listing page.last_img read more

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DFC joins with other partners to launch series of Festival Dwive in advance of 15th Annual WCMF

first_img Share Share 91 Views   no discussions LocalNewsWCMF 2011 DFC joins with other partners to launch series of Festival Dwive in advance of 15th Annual WCMF by: – September 15, 2011 Tweetcenter_img Sharing is caring! Share Roseau, Dominica: September 15, 2011 — This Friday, the Dominica Festivals Committee (DFC) joins with a number of partners to launch a series of Festival Dwive’s at the Krazy Koconuts in Castle Comfort, in the lead-up to this year’s World Creole Music Festival.The series of Festival Dwive which starts off this Friday, 16th September and every Friday until October 21st, with performances from local Bouyon band, Machine Creole along with Sakis Lapo Kabwit, is a joint initiative involving the DFC and several sponsors including WCMF Headline sponsor, DIGICEL; Courts (Dominica); Kubuli Beer; Krazy Koconuts and Gator Sounds. The series will feature several well-known local musical bands and cultural groups, including Jeff Joseph, Midnight Groovers, Swinging Stars Combo section, Paix Bouche Cultural Group, Flamboyant Cultural Group, Waitukubuli Dance Theatre Company, WCK, and several Deejays (Mystic, Miguel and Wadix).Patrons attending these Festival Dwive’s will be able to purchase festival season ticket at the special price of EC$250.00 during the three events on September 16, 23 and 30th. There will also be the opportunity to do tasting of the festival’s Official Whiskey, DEWARS Whiskey; as well as the chance to win Kubuli Beer six packs and branded merchandise from Digicel.The festival Dwive’s will be brought to the public live on kairi FM and Q95 FM radio stations and SAT Telecommunications and live streaming by Comesee TV.The 15th Annual Dominica World Creole Music Festival is scheduled for Windsor Park Stadium from October 28 to 30, and will feature acts such as Jeff Joe and his Gramacks/New Generation Band, Ali Campbell, the legendary voice of UB40, Gyptian, Carimi, Midnight Groovers, Jean-Phille Marthely and Jocelyn Beroad of Kasav fame, WCK, Swinging Stars, Bunji and Fay-ann, Third World and zouk love singers, Fanny, Jocelyn Labyll and Alex Catrin. Press ReleaseDominica Festivals Committeelast_img read more

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