JTF-Bravo Strengthens Central America Against COVID-19

first_imgBy Lorena Baires/Diálogo May 07, 2020 U.S. Southern Command’s Joint Task Force Bravo (JTF-Bravo) is deploying its humanitarian arm in Central America to strengthen response capabilities and halt the rapid spread of COVID-19.JTF-Bravo is sending health supplies to protect doctors, nurses, service members, and police forces. This aid began to reach the region in early April. El Salvador was one of the first countries to receive U.S. support, with deliveries of basic health supplies to stock up containment centers, where people potentially infected with COVID-19 receive treatment.During the Vita exercise, the medical evacuation team of JTF-Bravo’s 1st Battalion, 228th Aviation Regiment, trained together with the Colombian Military Forces on victim assistance and air transport operations to improve capabilities and increase interoperability. (Photo: Joint Task Force Bravo)The United States has also sent food rations to service members in the field who prevent people from evading health controls. “The Sumpul Command, deployed in more than 186 illegal border crossings, received meals ready-to-eat  donated by the U.S. military,” said Salvadoran Naval Force Rear Admiral René Merino, El Salvador’s minister of Defense. “They have also sent disinfecting gel and masks, because personnel are in contact with many people every day.”JTF-Bravo practiced setting up a field hospital to care for its COVID-19 patients internally, if it were to be needed, at its José Enrique Soto Cano Air Base headquarters in Comayagua, Honduras. This would allow them to avoid burdening the local health system. According to a press release, their Army Forces Battalion has also rehearsed a plan to treat and evacuate infected service members, while the 1st Battalion, 228th Aviation Regiment has been conducting humanitarian assistance training and demonstrating its ability to mobilize forces when needed during a crisis.Months before the virus was detected in the region, several armed forces refreshed their knowledge in emergency interoperability.“The best strengths our military provides are the tangible U.S. commitment to alleviate human suffering and for people to know that they will receive the help they need,” said U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Laura Miller, JTF-Bravo’s Civil Affairs officer in Honduras.An example of this assistance was the Vita exercise, conducted in La Guajira region of Colombia in March 2020, to offer preventive care, and public health, pharmacy, and dentistry services.“We have significantly increased the task force’s readiness to execute humanitarian assistance operations in austere environments, which is particularly critical, because aviation crews needed to become familiar with the unique demands of flying over mountainous and desert terrain,” said U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Bob Yerkey, head of Operations for JTF-Bravo. “Our civil and medical affairs staff has made valuable contacts that will prove essential in future humanitarian assistance operations.”In another exercise in Panama’s Darién province, conducted in December 2019, JTF-Bravo and Panama’s Public Force worked to respond to a simulated disaster following a natural event. “This exercise became a forum for various agencies to come together and solve problems, such as displacement of people, food assistance, and humanitarian supplies to communities,” said Lt. Col. Miller, who led the exercise. “We not only strengthened ties between countries, but also between civilian and military response agencies. [It’s] a cooperation effort currently being put into practice.”“All the above are on top of the numerous medical preparation exercises and other activities that we coordinate in the region. By working with partner nations’ forces, we are prepared to face together the challenges of today and tomorrow,” said U.S. Air Force Captain Beau Downey, head of JTF-Bravo’s Public Affairs. “The most relevant competency both sides get is interoperability; we build relationships with each other and learn where contact points are, so as to use them quickly during a crisis.”last_img read more

ExxonMobil scheme cites Dutch rigidity for plan to decamp to Belgium

first_imgThe pension fund said it would aim for financial reserves of 20% in Belgium, as opposed to 25%.It pointed out that the reduced buffer would match its current asset mix of 60% fixed income and 40% equity, and that the 25% reserve had been drawn on the asset allocation of 2006, when equity exposure stood at 70%.According to ExxonMobil, however, Belgium will provide more certainty for the scheme, as rights cuts would be ruled out and additional payments by the sponsor would become mandatory.It added that, at the Belgian scheme, “Dutch” assets would remain separate and unaffected if one of the sponsors went bust.As another motive for the planned move, ExxonMobil cited its desire to avoid the imposition of a supervisory board (RvT), which will become compulsory for company schemes in the Netherlands from next year.It said the requirement to have independent experts on the RvT was at odds with its desire to have a pension fund exclusively “run by and operating for” ExxonMobil.It also claimed that governance at the Belgian OFP would be “as similar as possible” to that in the Netherlands.Under the new set-up, it said, the IORP’s board would comprise five company representatives, while a “pensions council” of equally represented workers, employers and pensioners would have the right to a binding advice on the discount rate for liabilities, financial buffers and applied longevity tables.It said the right of say of its Dutch works council (OR) would be extended to adjustments to the pension fund’s regulation, as well as the cancellation of the pensions-provision contract.ExxonMobil also cited increased efficiency and lower costs as expected benefits from the relocation, referring to “ever-increasing” regulation and requirements for trustee expertise in the Netherlands.The pension fund, known as Protector, said it expected a decision about a collective value transfer to the Belgian OFP to be made after a general meeting for its 5,000 participants and pensioners, scheduled for June. Oil company ExxonMobil has said increasing financial-buffer requirements in the Netherlands fail to recognise the company’s “unique” funding agreement with its €2.5bn Dutch pension fund.The company cited this as one of several reasons why it wishes to relocate the scheme to Belgium.Under the agreement, ExxonMobil is to plug any funding gap if the scheme’s coverage ratio falls below 125%.If funding exceeds 125%, the scheme is to return the surplus back to the company.last_img read more

Expect New Course Records at 2018 Okpekpe Race, Says Ebewele

first_img“I foresee another 28 minutes run for men and 32 minutes run for women when the sixth Okpekpe international 10km race holds in May in Okpekpe,” said Ebewele who is convinced the quality of elite athletes that will participate in this year’s race will ensure faster times are recorded.“The elevation of the race by the IAAF to a silver label status, the first in West Africa guarantees that the elite field will be made up of athletes who have been classified as “Silver level elite runners” and they are those who have recorded in the 36 months preceding the race, or in the race itself performances that are 29:00 or under for men and 33:00 or under for women. This means we will have athletes who run 28 seconds with ease competing this year,” he said and expressed the confidence that a 27 minutes performance by the men and 31 minutes by the women are attainable here inspite of the weather constraint.“I am sure by the time the Okpekpe race becomes a gold label race, we can start talking about erasing the 26:44 all time best set by Kenya’s Leonard Patrick Komon in 2010 for men and the 29:43 best another Kenyan, Joyciline Jepkosgei set last year in Praha, Czech Republic,” said Ebewele.According to Ebewele, the fact that the race is highly regarded by the IAAF courtesy its silver label status is a guarantee for the elite athletes who will run on race day that universally accepted rules will be applied in the conduct of the event.”I think the promoter of this race deserves an award for bring an event that has attained global recognition and international status. Until this year only three road races are recognised by the IAAF in Africa and Okpkepe happens to be the first in West Africa to ever get a label status.’The race is the only road race recognised by the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS) and it is organised by Pamodzi Sports Marketing, leaders in sports marketing and hospitality business in Nigeria.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram A former Technical Director of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) and Route and Participation Coordinator for the sixth Okpekpe International 10km Road Race, Brown Ebewele, has predicted a new men and women’s course record at this year’s event.Ebewele, an accomplished athletics administrator and former commissioner for sports in Edo State believes the elevation of the race to a silver label status has increased the possibilities of having a new course record come May 12 this year in Okpekpe, a hilly town near Auchi, Edo State.The record for the men and women’s race were set in 2014 by the Ethiopian duo of Teshome Mekonnen (28:35) and Wude Ayalew (32:41) respectively and since then none of the athletes has run inside 29 seconds for men and 33 seconds for women but Ebewele believes all that will change this year.last_img read more

Rams RB Todd Gurley denies his knee is still injured

first_imgTodd Gurley’s performance in the NFC championship game against the Saints was underwhelming, but he’s not willing to place any blame on his knee.Gurley, coming off a knee injury that caused him to miss the Rams’ final two regular-season games with inflammation, insisted he just had a substandard game and denied there are any lingering issues with his knee. Coach Sean McVay indicated earlier this week Gurley would receive more opportunities in the Super Bowl against the Patriots, but Gurley insisted he doesn’t care about any of the speculation or how many carries he gets. He said he’s focused instead on doing what’s best for the team. Gurley had a career-low five touches and gained 13 yards in the Rams’ 26-23 overtime win over the Saints. While there was some speculation Gurley aggravated his knee, the 24-year-old put those rumors to rest.“I’m good. If there was an issue on my knee, it would be on the injury report,” Gurley told reporters Friday. “Come on now. I’m at practice. I’m playing.” Related News “I don’t ask no questions. I just do my job,” Gurley said. “We got the win. That’s all that matters. I can not play one snap. I don’t care if [long snapper] Jake McQuaide is the Super Bowl MVP. I’ve got one more game left. I don’t care what nobody’s talking about. Y’all can call me hurt. Y’all can call me whatever, but we’re going to the Super Bowl.“What do y’all not understand? It’s not about me. This sport has never been about me. It’s never been about one player. Todd’s only going to be with the Rams so much longer. It’s going to be another dude that comes in just like me. This whole game is bigger than me. It’s not just about me. Why is Todd not getting the ball? Why is that? Because there’s only one football, and there’s 11 guys. Only one guy can touch the ball each time. It’s way bigger than me.”The Rams will face the Patriots in Super Bowl 53 on Feb. 3 with kickoff set for 6:30 p.m. ET. (CBS). Patrick Mahomes reveals what Tom Brady told him after AFC championship gamelast_img read more

AVC: Philippines drops to 8th place after close loss to Kazakhs

first_imgAlbay to send off disaster response team to Batangas The Filipinos finished the tournament at eight place after three straight losses but they are still ensured of a spot in the 2018 AVC Asian Women’s Volleyball Cup.The Philippines, after spirited efforts in the third and fourth set, floundered in the final set scoring just two attack points.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSEnd of his agony? SC rules in favor of Espinosa, orders promoter heirs to pay boxing legendSPORTSRedemption is sweet for Ginebra, Scottie ThompsonSPORTSMayweather beats Pacquiao, Canelo for ‘Fighter of the Decade’Adding salt to the wound, Alyssa Valdez’ final attempt hit net to award the Kazakhs’ the seventh place in the tournament.Despite the loss, Philippine head coach Francis Vicente looked at the brighter side of things and said their performance proved they can roll with the other higher-ranked countries. Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next 787 earthquakes recorded in 24 hours due to restive Taal Volcano Teen gunned down in Masbate End of his agony? SC rules in favor of Espinosa, orders promoter heirs to pay boxing legend Marcosian mode: Duterte threatens to arrest water execs ‘one night’ “It’s unfortunate but at least we extended the game to five sets, and we proved that we can give these other countries a fight,” said Vicente in Filipino. “We just have to work harder in training and push ourselves more so we can be a better team.”“Another important thing for us is that we have the exposure in the international arena.”Yekaterina Zhdanova punished the Philippines with 24 points while Katerina Tatko added 15 for the Kazakhs’ cause.Kazakhtan captain Radmila Beresneva and Alla Bogdashkina put up 14 points apiece.Jaja Santiago spearheaded the Philippines with 18 points while Valdez and Jovelyn Gonzaga combined for 21.ADVERTISEMENT SEA Games: PH Archers pluck bronze out of semis heartache 787 earthquakes recorded in 24 hours due to restive Taal Volcano Photo from asianvolleyball.netBIÑAN, Laguna—Kazakhstan finished as the seventh seed in the AVC Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship after it stopped host Philippines, 25-20, 25-16, 21-25, 21-25, 15-3, Thursday at Alonte Sports Arena here.The Kazakhs, ranked no. 21 in the world, had already beaten the Philippines once in the tournament when the two met in the group stages of the tournament.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ Vilma Santos, Luis Manzano warn public of fake account posing as her Ai-Ai delas Alas on Jiro Manio: ‘Sana pinahalagahan niya ang naitulong ko’ LATEST STORIES Filipinos turn Taal Volcano ash, plastic trash into bricks PLAY LIST 01:40Filipinos turn Taal Volcano ash, plastic trash into bricks01:32Taal Volcano watch: Island fissures steaming, lake water receding02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite 2 nabbed in Bicol drug stings View commentslast_img read more