Former Colombian Paramilitaries Pose Possible Surrender

first_img Groups dedicated to drug trafficking and responsible for a spiraling crime rate in northern Colombia have put forward the idea of a possible surrender to the government in an effort to put an end to the violence, a senior Catholic clergyman said on 17 January. These so-called ‘emerging criminal gangs,’ made up of former ultra-right-wing paramilitaries, are engaged in a war for control of drug-trafficking routes and areas for growing coca – the raw material for cocaine – in which hundreds of people have died in recent months. “They’re not asking for dialogue commissions, just to reach out to the government to surrender weapons, routes, crops. To turn themselves in, even if the outcome is extradition,” the bishop of Montería, Msgr. Julio César Vidal, told reporters. “They’ve told me that they don’t want Colombia to turn into Mexico, and that it doesn’t matter if they’re extradited, but that this has to be stopped,” maintained the bishop, whose diocese is centered in the capital of the department of Córdoba, one of those most impacted by the violence of these illegal armed groups. According to the National Police, there are currently seven emerging criminal gangs dedicated to drug trafficking in Colombia, with around 4,100 fighters. The government maintains that unlike the paramilitaries, who had a political and ideological motive for their fight against the country’s guerrillas, the new groups are dedicated only to drug-trafficking activities. President Juan Manuel Santos’s administration left open the possibility that the gangs’ leaders and rank-and-file could submit to justice and lay down their arms, but it warned that there will be no negotiations. “The administration’s policy has been to confront these organizations with complete decisiveness and determination,” Interior and Justice Minister Germán Vargas Lleras said. By Dialogo January 19, 2011last_img read more

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When one (government) door shuts, another opens

first_imgWant to make your marketing team’s job easier? Whenever you have the opportunity to actually take action on the words and messages you project about what your organization stands for, you’re cumulatively building a brand story that makes people much more likely to believe what you say each and every successive time.In today’s complex, unpredictable, ever-changing economic environment, the pressure is on financial service providers to anticipate consumer needs, and serve up solutions before people need them. Not only is it important to anticipate, but you also have to act fast with your solutions, because when it comes to financial binds, people can’t wait around for business decisions to be made.Several banks and credit unions have been quick to announce that in the face of the government shutdown at midnight on Friday, January 19, they will be offering assistance to military personnel to ensure they can continue to have funds coming in to pay bills while their February paycheck may be delayed or reduced. Service Credit Union announced that to assist members directly affected by the government shutdown, they will be automatically posting credits to members with existing direct deposit on or before February 1, and they are offering short-term military advance loans with 0% APR with no required payments for 90 days. USAA is offering something similar, with loans up to $6,000. Navy Federal Credit Union posted on their Facebook page at 7 a.m. the morning after the shutdown, “we are offering all eligible members a 0% APR loan to help cover their pay in the event of a government shutdown.” The post, in less than 48 hours, had more than 1,000 comments, questions, concerns and gratitude, with responses from Navy’s team members.From a purely business perspective, these loans aren’t smart. In fact, giving product away with no profit margin is a quick way to go out of business. Plus, this isn’t the time to cross-sell other products or ask for referrals, or even expect to see more loans brought in because of this nice gesture. These members simply need their credit union right now to help them out of a bind. However, the value of acting on your words cannot be understated. I said it would make your marketing team’s job easier – but I didn’t mean they could work any less hard. With the myriad of financial service options we all have to choose from today, no financial service marketer’s job is ever easy. But when your organization has the mindset to make it a strategic priority to do whatever is truly in the best interest of each and every member—not just on paper, not just in charitable donation, but in everyday actions large and small — it will make your marketing team’s hard efforts much more effective, because your messages will be believed.   Just of few of the responses this morning on Service Credit Union’s social media channels: “Thank you so much for taking this stress off of us,” “We are so grateful for the services you provide us. Thank you for taking care of us,” “One of the many reasons I’ve stayed with SCU for so many years, thank you,” “They did this during the 2013 shutdown. Grateful to SCU then and now,” “Always recommending SCU.”Actions speak louder than words…AND can make your brand story a lot more believable. Is your mind set on doing good business so your business will do well? Here’s how you can build a genuine brand:Decide what you’re willing to do to help your members – Determine if you have the “where there’s a will, there’s a way” mentality before you need to evoke extreme or unique measures to serve your members. If you serve military personnel, or immigrants, or women, or college students, or you know, human beings, chances are they will eventually need something from you that might be a little different from today’s standard financial offerings. If you are set on finding a way to serve that need, regardless of how different or scary it might be, regardless of the fact that no one else is doing it yet, then you have “the will!” It might look a bit like Point West Credit Union or result in unique offerings like NorthCountry Federal Credit Union.Act fast and act for real — This is where you make your marketing team’s job easier (or really hard, so do not screw this up.) Listen to what members are telling you they need and be willing to adapt and take a few more steps forward to truly help them. In addition to the examples above, I love to share the story of when my grocery co-op in Madison opened a new location in a new neighborhood, demographically different than its other locations. Rather than assuming it knew what products the neighbors want to see on the shelves, the co-op asked what they wanted–asked for their receipts from other shopping trips to understand what and how much they buy, and then they put those products on their shelves, even when it meant adjusting “business as usual” practices to be able to do so. As a board member, one of the comments I hear from members is, “wow, you actually listened to us and gave us what we asked for!” Simple, right? Then why is it so surprising to see?Keep the momentum going and make it part of your brand – Each successful example of your business understanding member needs and acting fast to provide an actually helpful (for them) solution (whether or not it was business profitable at the moment) is cumulative to your brand story. There is no better way to build a brand story or brand reputation than through the story your members know and tell about you. This extends to media coverage, too. Sorry marketing team, there’s no time to rest on our laurels. We all still have a ton of work to do to get the word out about how we can help people, but working for a brand that does what they say makes all the effort a lot more effective, not to mention more fulfilling!I’ve heard countless awe-inspiring stories of the work that credit unions do in my time with Filene. One common thread that I’ve noticed woven throughout is the simple but brilliant concept that where there’s a will there’s a way. The will leads to the action and the action leads to the public’s belief. Look for the doors you can open for your members, regardless of who shuts them.  25SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Holly Fearing Holly lives and breathes social media; if you can’t find her IRL, try reaching out on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook or Instagram, and you’ll likely get her right away. … Web: www.filene.org Detailslast_img read more

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Northampton New dawn for Northampton

first_imgTo access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week. Would you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletterslast_img

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GSA crushes Fort Kent 73-28 in boys’ Class C North quarterfinal

first_img Latest Posts Latest posts by Hugh Bowden (see all) Bio Point guard Taylor Schildroth of the George Stevens Academy Eagles drives the baseline in the first period of the Eagles’ lopsided 73-28 win over the Fort Kent Warriors in Tuesday’s Northern Maine Class C quarterfinal.PHOTO BY HUGH BOWDENBANGOR — As a practical matter, Tuesday’s Northern Maine Class C basketball quarterfinal between the George Stevens Academy Eagles and the Fort Kent Warriors at the Cross Insurance Center was over almost from the start as GSA romped to a 73-28 victory.The eighth-ranked Warriors jumped in front when senior guard Ryan Chasse scored the first basket of the game. But that proved to be Fort Kent’s only lead as the Eagles, sparked by nine points from junior forward Jarrod Chase and eight from sophomore guard Taylor Schildroth, raced out to a 22-7 first period lead.And for the Warriors, things only got worse as the game rolled on. The Eagles, taking advantage of their superior size and depth, scored almost at will, holding a 45-14 lead by the halftime break.Big 6-6 sophomore center Max Mattson led the way in the second period, scoring eight points and grabbing a host of rebounds.This is placeholder textThis is placeholder textThe intense GSA defense forced numerous turnovers by the Warriors, and as a result, only three Fort Kent players scored in the first half.Even with coach Dwayne Carter making liberal use of his bench in the second half, the Eagles continued to build on their lopsided lead, holding a 63-20 edge by the end of the third period.Seven players contributed to the scoring for GSA in the contest, four of them tallying double figures. Mattson led the way with 19 points, Schildroth had 17, senior center Nick Szwez contributed 14 and Chase added 13.For the 12-8 Warriors, Chasse led the way with nine points, all of them coming in the first half.Nick Szwez of the George Stevens Academy Eagles makes a move to the basket in GSA’s 73-28 Northern Maine Class C quarterfinal win over the Fort Kent Warriors on Tuesday.PHOTO BY HUGH BOWDENWith the win under their belts, the 18-1 Eagles, whose only defeat in the regular season came at the hands of the Class B Ellsworth Eagles, will square off against the fifth-ranked Schenck Wolverines Friday at 8:35 p.m. in semifinal action. The Wolverines survived an overtime battle with the fourth-seeded Lee Academy Pandas on Tuesday as junior Christopher King went to the foul line with no time left and sank a pair of free throws for a 60-59 win.The winner of Friday’s semifinal won’t have much time to rest. The Class B regional championship will be played at the Cross Center just 24 hours later on Saturday night.Find more photos of this game here. GSA surges in 4th to win Northern Maine title – February 26, 2017center_img Like he did in the ’60s, Noel Paul Stookey sings out in troubling times – December 27, 2017 Is this the kind of government we deserve? – July 10, 2017 Hugh BowdenExecutive EditorHugh writes editorials, covers Hancock County sports and helps out where needed in The American’s editorial department. When he’s not on the sidelines, he enjoys playing jazz and tennis. [email protected]last_img read more

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