VEDA approves $1.8 million in projects

first_img$1.8 MILLION IN FINANCING COMMITMENTSAPPROVED BY VEDA BOARD Grafton, VT Commercial, technology and agricultural development projects were approved for $1.8 million in financing assistance by the Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA) Board of Directors at their monthly meeting. We are pleased to be able to assist in these projects, said Jo Bradley, Chief Executive Officer of VEDA. The outcomes of these investments will be stronger business, technology, and farm enterprises with an increased capacity for future growth. Projects approved were: 42-44 Holdings, LLC, Danville – A financing commitment of $154,400 was made through VEDAs Technology Infrastructure Financing Program to enable replacement of an existing telecommunications tower that was vandalized and collapsed early this summer. The 140 tall replacement tower will support current tenants, Unicel and Montpelier Broadcasting, as well as three future telecom tenants. The total $181,440 project will result in delivery of both personal communications (digital data transmission over internet) services and cellular services by the telecom tenants. The radio station antenna will sit atop the tower.Juno Rising, Inc., d/b/a Isis, Burlington – The VEDA Board extended an existing mortgage insurance commitment of $900,000 made in November, 2003, enabling the womens outdoor clothing company to meet demand under an increased Chittenden Bank line-of-credit. It is anticipated that 7 new jobs will be created within three years. Several Farm Operating and Farm Ownership Loans were also approved by the Board to finance construction and working capital projects. Approved through VEDAs Vermont Agricultural Credit Corporation (VACC) Program were:” $354,300 to Pyle and Pyle Partnership in Shoreham;” $350,000 to Gerald and Ann Wilcox in Manchester; and” $ 48,300 to Gerry and Cheryl Audet in Orwell. VEDAs mission is to provide financial assistance to eligible businesses to stimulate job creation, and enhance economic stability and growth in Vermonts manufacturing, travel and tourism and agricultural sectors. In the Authoritys 30-year history, VEDA has made project financing commitments totaling over $1 billion.last_img read more

“Gender, Peace, and Security” Workshop Promotes Equitable Conditions

first_imgBy Gonzalo Silva Infante/Diálogo July 24, 2017 The role of women in society is occupying new spaces, and their presence in different settings, such as the armed forces, is being promoted. In the Americas, there are 16 nations with women in these institutions, and the process of integration has evolved over the years. This theme was presented during the “Gender, Peace, and Security” workshop, held from May 8th to 17th at Chorillos Military Academy in Lima, Peru. The workshop was sponsored by the Canadian government and organized by the Peruvian Ministry of Defense. In all, 47 officers participated – male and female – from Argentina, Colombia, Guatemala, Jamaica, Mexico, and Peru. The level of female participation in the armed forces of Latin American is below 10 percent, on average. Only the Dominican Republic has reached an honorable 21.76 percent. The Dominican Republic is closely followed by Uruguay (18.92 percent), and Argentina (17.17 percent), according to the 2016 edition of the Comparative Atlas of Defense in Latin America and the Caribbean. This shows that there is still a lot of work to be done in Latin America to create true gender integration. “The women got very excited because they found out that in [other] countries, women do their military service under the same conditions as men,” Peruvian Army General (R) Baltazar Alvarado Cornejo, the director general of Doctrine and Education at the Vice Ministry of Defense Policy for the Ministry of Defense, told Diálogo. “As for the nations that didn’t join us, the reality there is quite similar. However, those giving us the workshop were Canadians, and you could tell there was a big difference between their experience and that of the other countries,” added Peruvian Air Force Major Grace Peralta Fleming, who was one of nine women in Peru’s first coed class. Equitable conditions The workshop was an opportunity to demonstrate the progress that has been made and the challenges that remain for the armed forces and their members, both male and female. “The workshop revealed the opportunities available in all fields of military endeavor, whether academic, cultural, or physical, for competing with equal opportunity,” Gen. Alvarado said. Equality and not discriminating based on gender are two concepts that are quite clear in the armed forces. That is why the importance of equitable integration and, thus, the ability to equalize opportunities were addressed during the workshop. “We are given some opportunities in the admission process so that we can have the same access as the men,” Maj. Peralta said. “The idea is that, to the extent that things are balanced, those differentiations will be done away with.” “Women are treated with equality. There is equity according to your gender and your physiology,” said another workshop participant, Peruvian Army Captain Elizabeth Mercado Cortez, from Legal Services at the Army’s Public Graduate Technical Institute. “We are placed into military life but following the scale of equity,” she added. The humanitarian side An important aspect of the role of women in the armed forces involves their more sensitive side and dealing with situations that go beyond their military training. “We’ve managed to fill some gaps, such as the humanitarian aspect, both in wars and negotiations. It was explained to us that during negotiations, women can achieve better things,” Maj. Peralta confirmed. When women participate in peacekeeping processes, the probability of reaching an agreement increases by 20 percent. The probability that that agreement will last at least 15 years increases by 35 percent, the United Nations reports. During the workshop, a case was presented which exemplifies this situation. During a peacekeeping mission, there were many complaints filed concerning rapes committed against the local population. The resentment towards the service members was evident. The seven women in the battalion on that mission calmed the situation and, thus, avoided a conflict. “In any mission, women need to go. We can all be trained to meet the objectives and the assigned duties,” Capt. Mercado said. The experiences at the workshop showed that there is still a long way to go but they also provided a good reference point. “It was hugely important to learn about other realities, to know that we are not an exception. Twenty years ago other countries were going through what we are going through now,” Maj. Peralta concluded.last_img read more

Youth Protests Against Cuba’s Dictatorship Increase in 2019

first_imgBy Julieta Pelcastre / Diálogo January 14, 2020 Social media has emerged as an effective tool against the socialist regime.Although many Cubans lack internet access because of the State’s costly and controlled internet connection, young people are using technology to question the island’s political system. In 2019, dissident groups initiated protests via social media to show their disapproval of the Miguel Díaz-Canel government, which led to intervention from police forces.“There were more protests against the dictatorship during 2019. The Cuban society woke up and is taking advantage of new technologies and internet access,” Cuban activist Liu Santiesteban, head of the program Despierta Cuba, which livestreams on Facebook from the United States, told Diálogo. “In the past, we didn’t have this mechanism and tool, not only for information, but also for internal coordination.”The allegations against the Cuban government, which doesn’t allow any form of social expression, “spurred a wave of police repression in 2019 against hundreds of people, both opponents and activists of human and economic rights, including the right to change the political system,” Javier Larrondo, president of Prisoners Defenders, a Spanish nongovernmental organization dedicated to legal and defense matters, told Diálogo.September 8 saw a surge of arrests against members of dissident organizations Patriotic Union of Cuba and Cuba Decide, after they urged people via social media to demonstrate with a sunflower in their hand to express solidarity with victims of State abuse.A Cuban woman in Havana buys a wifi device on the black market to clandestinely receive the state-provided Internet signal on July 29, 2019. (Photo: STR / AFP)“The repression against those promoting and calling for the sunflower protest was carried out via a large-scale police operation all over the island,” Cuban activist Rosa María Payá, coordinator of the movement Cuba Decide, in exile in the United States since 2012, told Diálogo. “The march scared the system so much that more than 180 activists went to prison. The level of fear the regime projects is ridiculous.”Before this protest, users and administrators of the first grassroots network, created in 2001, protested in front of Cuba’s Ministry of Communications on August 12, against regulations banning the network that allowed thousands of people to share content and opinions in virtual forums. After authorities dispersed the protest, the state confiscated the network’s infrastructure.“Now, claims of discontent are more varied, because they come from different sectors in society and not exclusively from the organized opposition, as was the case of the May 11 protest in Havana, in response to the banning of the traditional gay parade, a march the pro-government Center for Sexual Education organizes every year,” Paya said. “More than 300 members of the gay community were repressed, while three were detained by police agents, for peacefully defending the rights of sexual minorities.”The regime also attacked hundreds of protesters who took to the streets on February 23 to reject the text of the new Cuban Constitution, which was approved against the people’s will the following day. “The police increased detentions and torture against all those campaigning against the constitutional referendum,” Larrondo said. “More than 2 million Cubans said no to the regime.” The new constitution irrevocably ratifies the implementation of socialism on the island.In Cuba, social media serves to level the playing field and force verbal interaction with the government. “The populism that lapsed into dictatorship will be dismantled by young Cubans with the help of new technologies and social media, a realm where the regime won’t be able to beat them,” Santiesteban concluded.last_img read more

US Contributes $40k of Parts and Equipment to Regional Security System

first_imgBy U.S. Embassy in Barbados July 21, 2020 The U.S. Embassy in Barbados recently furnished the Regional Security System (RSS) with nearly $40,000 worth of maritime equipment and upgrades, to assist in the maintenance and longevity of patrol boats of the RSS Maritime Training Center. The patrol boats are used to train police and coast guard forces throughout the Caribbean.“Our U.S. partners continue to support the maritime training vessels through the supply of spares and other accessories,” said Barbados Coast Guard Lieutenant Rolerick Sobers, regional maritime officer for the RSS. “The refurnished fleet of training vessels will enrich the maritime training activities that will support the transfer of knowledge and skill sets that are necessary to have desired, effective, and positive outcomes of operational missions.”Originally donated by the U.S. government, these vessels have played a key role in developing the collective seafaring capacity of Eastern Caribbean coast guards and police forces. The recent purchase of parts ensures the RSS is able to train and prepare coast guard and police officers well into the current decade.“This donation is part of the larger U.S. commitment to our assisting our Eastern Caribbean partners to protect their sovereignty and ensure security of their territorial waters,” said U.S. Air Force Major Shane Moran, deputy chief for the U.S. Military Liaison Office. “As the region has seen an uptick in illicit activities and trafficking, ensuring that Caribbean maritime security officers are well prepared and well equipped continues to be at the forefront of U.S. Southern Command’s priorities as both a regional ally and neighbor.”Donated by the U.S. government in the early-2000s, the patrol boats have been an integral component of the RSS’s maritime training institute, with coast guard and police officers throughout the Eastern Caribbean training and honing their seafaring skills on the vessels. The collaborative efforts of the RSS and regional partners ensure sailors are equipped with a common set of seafaring skills and a high degree of interoperability between organizations.“The importance of skilled mariners in the Maritime Law Enforcement units in the RSS maritime security cannot be understated. As maritime crime continues to evolve, so too must the skill set of officers be kept current,” said Lt. Sobers. “An active and operational suite of training platforms is a great utility from which to deliver maritime training while ensuring that a common set of core competencies are spread across the various maritime units.”In addition to this handover, the United States has provided $3 million in COVID-19 response assistance to the Eastern Caribbean. It also supports the U.S.-Caribbean Resilience Partnership, a collaborative effort to build regional capacity to confront disaster response and promote strong communities.last_img read more

How to spot a scammer and protect yourself

first_img 224SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Tyler Atwell Web: Details Just last week I got an email from a Nigerian prince who is going to share his billions with me, as soon as I help him get his money into the country. This may be one of the last articles I write as I will be on some beach, somewhere, living the highlife. Before I leave you suckers behind though, here are some ways to spot a scam and protect yourself.Right away, let’s talk about scammers themselves. Who are they? How do they find you? What is a scam? Well, it doesn’t take much to really qualify as a scam.That cute little girl down the street with a lemonade stand is a scammer. She is charging $2.00 for a glass lemonade, you and I both know that with her (let’s be honest) watered down lemon juice and sugar her overhead can’t be more than a few cents per glass. She is making a killing, but you don’t suspect she has malicious intent with her high prices because she is innocent and says she is saving up for a new bike. Hopefully, this girl is the real deal (just like my Nigerian prince) but, she is also a perfect example of how scammers can be successful.Truthfully scammers can be anywhere; online, working at the local car lot, or right next door. If any of your information has recently become public record, you may be easier to find for targeted scams, but the truth of the matter is that in this day and age you can always be found. The best way to defend yourself from a scam is to be able to identify when it is happening. Since there is no reliable way to avoid a scammer, it’s helpful to know how to defend yourself.Always verify credentials. People get very comfortable when the person in front of them is well dress or has a fancy title. Don’t fall for what may be a fallacy, so ask to see the proof. Most of these things should be easy to verify in little time at all so you can resume business as usual.Beware of “get rich quick.” If you are pitched an investment with a guarantee of spectacular profits, you are actually being pitched extreme risk. By all means do investigate any investment or opportunity that has potential, but proceed with a healthy dose of skepticism.Don’t let anyone rush you. A typical sales tactic is fear of loss, where you are told an offer is going to be available for only a limited time. This tactic is used in both legitimate sales and scams to get you to buy something as soon as possible. When it comes to scams, they want your money before you realize it is a hoax. Take your time with any type of investment, because all legitimate ones will still be there tomorrow.Never feel obligated. Show up to this timeshare pitch and we will give you a new set of golf clubs. Salespeople give freebies all the time in hopes that because you are a good person you will have some sort of guilt and feel more obligated to buy what they are selling. Don’t let them use your emotions to make a sale. That little girl may be cute and excited, but that doesn’t mean you have to buy her lemonade.Ignore any reference to others. You know your neighbor Jim and his lovely wife Karen? I just saved them a thousand dollars a year by signing them up for this service. Another sale technique is abusing the Jones Effect. You should never believe a salesman right away. If you know Jim and Karen well, give them a call to see if the salesman is telling the truth. And even if they are telling the truth, you should probably not do something just because your neighbor did.Know more than them. When red flags are raised depends heavily on the situation, but being educated on the subject can help you hoist the right ones. Not to mention there is nothing more exhilarating than being to call someone out right away on something you consider yourself an expert in.Savelast_img read more

What kind of risk communication does pandemic preparedness require?

first_imgWhen the virus hits the fan, it’ll be crisis communication. But what it is now depends on your opinions and your audience.The most fundamental truth about risk communication is the very low correlation between how dangerous a risk is and how upsetting it is. If you know something is really dangerous (or really safe), that tells you almost nothing about how much it will upset or bore people. If you know something really upsets (or bores) people, that tells you almost nothing about how dangerous or safe it is. If you graph the technical seriousness of a risk (hazard) against its emotional seriousness (outrage and fear), the chart at right is what you get.You need three different skill sets to manage these three kinds of risk communication, which have very little in common:Precaution advocacy is alerting insufficiently concerned people to serious hazards. The goal is to increase people’s concern (yes, their outrage and fear) to motivate them to take precautions.Outrage management is reassuring excessively concerned people about small hazards. The aim is to decrease people’s concern in order to reduce their impulse to take (or demand) precautions you consider unnecessary.Crisis communication is guiding appropriately concerned people through serious hazards. The key task is helping people bear the situation and act wisely in the face of overwhelming emotions.Where on this map does an influenza pandemic fall? The answer depends on how serious you think the risk is (the hazard, in my terminology) and how concerned you think your audience is (the outrage and fear).Crisis communicationIf and when a severe pandemic happens, the job will be crisis communication. Every business and every government needs a standby pandemic crisis communication plan. That’s fundamental. If and when a severe pandemic arrives, you will have a great deal to say to your employees and other stakeholders, and you need to be as ready as possible when the time comes.The job is crisis communication already if you are talking to appropriately outraged and frightened Asian poultry farmers who face a devastating economic crisis because their flocks are about to be culled. And it’s crisis communication if you’re talking to the small but growing network of pandemic “preppers”—fellow citizens who already share your view that we face a serious pandemic risk that deserves our serious attention.Outrage managementOutrage management also plays a role in pandemic communication. Every time an H5N1-positive bird is found in a country that hasn’t had this deadly strain of one avian flu in birds before, some consumers become excessively alarmed that they might die from eating poultry. While such alarm is a temporary “adjustment reaction” that doesn’t last long, it’s a teachable moment—a chance to sound the alarm about pandemic preparedness. But it’s not wrong to want to reassure people about food safety as well, a job that calls for outrage management skills (skills most poultry industry and government spokespeople unfortunately lack).A subset of the prepper community has gone beyond worrying about a possible future pandemic that could be severe to believing an outbreak is imminent and virtually certain to be catastrophic. This group suspects that the World Health Organization (WHO) and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are covering up the real facts. When you talk to these people, you’re doing outrage management. (When they talk to you, they’re doing precaution advocacy.)And here’s another opportunity for pandemic outrage management. Imagine spending the next few years getting everybody ready for a severe pandemic. Then the WHO goes to phase 6, we all trigger our pandemic plans, stock markets crumble, stores run out of everything—and the pandemic turns out mild. Or imagine that the WHO goes to phase 6 tomorrow while we’re mostly unprepared. The pandemic turns out devastatingly severe, millions die, and, after it’s over, the Congressional investigations begin into why we weren’t more ready. What kind of risk communication will predominate in these two possible futures? Outrage management.Of course, some people think all pandemic risk communication should be outrage management. Commentators like Marc Siegel, MD, an associate professor at the New York University School of Medicine, and Michael Fumento, a writer based in Washington, D.C., have made a mini-industry out of claiming that pandemic fears are overblown. I don’t mean to sound snide. After all, I’ve made a mini-industry out of claiming that people aren’t worried enough. Advocates on all sides of the pandemic preparedness controversy say what they believe is right.Precaution advocacyIf you’re on the same side I’m on, the main kind of pandemic risk communication you need to be doing right now is precaution advocacy.Just as every company needs a pandemic crisis communication plan, every company needs a pandemic precaution advocacy plan. And while your pandemic crisis communication plan is a standby plan, your pandemic precaution advocacy plan should be implemented ASAP.The principal goal of such a plan is to arouse sufficient concern—even fear—to motivate your key stakeholders to prepare. You want them to prepare logistically, to get ready to cope with what may be coming. You also want them to prepare emotionally, to have the inevitable shocked adjustment reaction now, get over it, and be ready to roll when the time comes. (If they don’t experience some shock when they learn what a severe pandemic might be like, you haven’t explained it right.)I understand people like Siegel and Fumento, who keep saying what they genuinely believe—that it’s a mistake to worry much about pandemic preparedness. But I don’t understand people who believe that pandemic preparedness is crucial, but are reluctant to say so for fear of alarming their audience. I devoted two earlier columns to “fear of fear” (“Scaring people is scary” and “Get your slice of the ‘fearfulness’ pie”), and I won’t repeat myself here. Suffice it to say that if pandemic preparedness is important, then scaring people into preparing is important, too.I’m especially frustrated by organizations and people who do sound the pandemic alarm until it seems to be working, at which point they switch from precaution advocacy to outrage management. The government of the United Kingdom (UK), for example, has been reasonably candid about its pandemic fears. Then came the February 2007 Bernard Matthews turkey outbreak. Suddenly the UK public was actually interested in bird flu. And the UK authorities squandered the teachable moment. In their determination to over-reassure the public about the genuinely small foodborne risk, they said nothing about the much larger pandemic risk. (See “How not to conduct crisis communication.)I’m not saying they were wrong to tell people it was pretty safe to eat poultry, though they were surely wrong to make categorical statements about the source of the infection that later had to be withdrawn. But where was the other half of the equation? “We’re not that worried about the risk of eating poultry. What we’re really worried about is . . .”From now until just before the pandemic actually hits, the essence of corporate pandemic communication should be precaution advocacy. And it needs to be audible. As my wife and colleague Jody Lanard likes to tell her audiences, Paul Revere shouted, “The British are coming! The British are coming!” He didn’t murmur, “Excuse me, I don’t want to upset you, but I think the British are coming.”Choosing your tool kitWhenever you do any kind of risk communication, the first task is to figure out which kind to do. Decide how great you believe the hazard is (or will soon be). Decide how great you believe the outrage is (or will soon be). Then deduce whether you need your precaution advocacy tool kit, your outrage management tool kit, or your crisis communication tool kit.To alert your stakeholders to the pandemic risk, you need your precaution advocacy tool kit right now. To guide them through the pandemic that may be coming, sooner or later you will need your crisis communication tool kit as well.An internationally renowned expert in risk communication and crisis communication, Peter Sandman speaks and consults widely on communication aspects of pandemic preparedness. Dr. Sandman, Deputy Editor, contributes an original column to CIDRAP Source Weekly Briefing every other week. Most of his risk communication writing is available without charge at the Peter Sandman Risk Communication Web Site, which includes an index of pandemic-related writing on the site.last_img read more

Castlemore’s shopping spree

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Sultan lets Cunard House

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Rohit Sharma reveals this Aussie legend as the best coach he’s ever played under!

first_imgImage Courtesy: APAdvertisement 8gr2qzNBA Finals | Brooklyn Vs7gt2r5Wingsuit rodeo📽Sindre E4mag( IG: @_aubreyfisher @imraino ) 7o06l7iWould you ever consider trying this?😱qiy4Can your students do this? 🌚6jaeqRoller skating! Powered by Firework In his senior cricket career spanning 13 years, Team India stalwart Rohit Sharma has experienced guidance from many top coaches in international and domestic levels. However,, there is but one particular name that he associates the tag of ‘best coach’ with. It is the one and only Ricky Ponting, the Australian cricketing legend whom Rohit Sharma considers to be the best he has played under.Advertisement Image Courtesy: APThe revelation came in a live Instagram chat with English cricket superstar Kevin Pietersen. Speaking on various topics regarding the gentleman’s game, a question regarding Sharma’s time in the Indian Premier League came up.The Mumbai Indians icon, who has been the captain of the franchise since 2013, was asked by Pietersen about the coach he considers the best in his career.Advertisement “Who’s been your favourite coach? Over the years, in your whole career, who has been your favourite coach?” the former England international asked Sharma.“Very difficult to pick one name because they all bring something or the other to the table,” although he honoured all the coaches he has played under, Sharma specifically mentioned Ponting, the former Aussie captain who coached Mumbai Indians in three IPL seasons, from 2014 to 2016.Advertisement “Ricky Ponting to me was magic,” the 32 year old run machine replied.Sharma continued on his appraisal of the Aussie legend: “He was playing a supporting role to all the players, to all the youngsters in the team and he was guiding me through the captaincy and yeah, I got to learn a lot from him.” A clip from the interview between the cricketers was uploaded on the official Instagram account of Mumbai Indians. Check it out below-Ponting, who was appointed as a captain of Mumbai Indians in 2013, handed over the captain’s armband to Sharma in mid-season, an event that the hard hitting opener still cherishes to this day.Under Sharma’s captaincy, MI went onto lift tour IPL trophies, and their second Champions League T20 victory in 2013.Former Sri Lanka international Mahela Jayawardene is currently the coach in Mumbai, while Ponting has now switched sides with Delhi Capitals, where he has been the coach since 2018.Also read-Aussie captain Tim Paine’s car broken into; wallet and credit card stolen!Read which Indian cricketer just pledged Rs 80 lakhs to help fight COVID-19! Advertisementlast_img read more