Colombian Army Captures Individual Close to FARC’s “Mono Jojoy”

first_imgBy Dialogo June 15, 2009 Bogotá, June 11 (EFE). – The Colombian Army captured “Martín Cuero,” a member of the FARC guerrilla organization who is very close to rebel leader Jorge Briceño Suárez, aka “Mono Jojoy,” official sources reported today. According to a press release from “Casa de Nariño,” the presidency headquarters, the arrest of “Martín Cuero,” a member of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), took place in Calarcá (Quindío) in a joint effort between the Army and the Colombian public prosecutor’s office. According to the authorities, the rebel had been tasked with organizing and implementing a mobility corridor between Buenaventura (south), the Coffee-Growers’ Axis (center-west), Meta, and Caquetá (south), to market cocaine. He is also accused of coordinating business with the drug cartels of the Orinoquia area, the Pacific Coast, and the Coffee-Growers’ Axis. In addition, he is accused of participating in the battles between the Colombian Army and the FARC in Casa Verde, municipality of La Uribe (Meta), in 1990, as well as the assaults on the towns of El Billar (Caquetá) in 1998 and Puerto Rico (Meta) in 1999. The prisoner had an arrest warrant for homicide, terrorism, forced displacement, and rebellion.last_img read more

Adaptation is in our DNA

first_img 89SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Scott Butterfield Adaptation: “the result of an evolutionary process in which individuals within populations evolve traits over time that are better suited to their environment.”Successful adaptation happens when specific traits emerge that increase a species’ chances of survival. Adaptation also applies to credit unions and the credit union movement as a whole.First, a biological example from the animal kingdomDuring the winter of 2013-2014, the southeastern United States – specifically along the Texas-Mexico border – endured an extreme cold snap. This severe weather event had a radical effect on the Green Anole Lizard. During the cold snap, which would typically kill off most Anoles, scientists observed over the span of just a few months how the population underwent a dramatic genetic transformation in response to the unusual temperatures, paving the way for future generations of Green Anoles to survive cold weather. [1]It’s extreme events like this one that produce the strong selection response to adapt – or die. These populations of Anoles adapted and will live another day.Credit unions can (and do) adapt and thriveJust like the animal kingdom, credit unions adapt to survive. The credit union movement today is a prime example. Most of our credit unions have been chartered for at least 50 years (many more than 80). That’s a considerable period of time for any business. To get to this point, each credit union had to adapt over time. But adaptation is not a “one and done” process – it’s an ongoing process to adapt in response to our changing habitat. And our habitat is changing more rapidly today than ever before. I suspect five years from now, the number of credit unions will drop by one-third. Truly, the future is reserved for credit unions that adapt and change. This applies to credit unions of any size.Members Credit Union (Cos Cob, Connecticut) is a current best-practice credit union that had to dramatically change its priority target market in order to adapt to significant environmental changes. MCU is a $29-million credit union located in one of the most economically polarized areas of the country: Greenwich, Connecticut. The credit union was chartered in 1935 to serve the educational community and served this group well for many years. However, during the past decade, the credit union has struggled to grow due to increased competition and an aging membership (sound familiar?).Four years ago marked a reflection point for the credit union’s leadership. They realized that if they wanted to remain relevant, they would need to make some changes (i.e., adapt). This adaptation included finding a new target market group within their field of membership, with high consumer-loan demand to serve. Leadership identified a lower-income, Latino target market in their field of membership that was underserved and largely unserved. This lower-income, minority group was the polar opposite of the predominately white, middle class (and aging) membership they had experience serving for 80-plus years. It was a sober realization that a lot needed to change to serve this new demographic. But leadership was energized by the prospect of serving a population who really needed a credit union – their credit union. If successful, they would have a market with less competition, greater potential for growth, better earnings, and, most importantly, greater service and community impact. Long story short, during the past three years, MCU has adapted its lending practices to better support risk-based lending. They have become knowledgeable in immigration matters to better serve non-citizens with accounts and loans. They committed to having ALL staff becoming CUNA FiCEP Certified Financial Counselors so that each employee had the tools they needed to teach and coach a new, underserved market. Their efforts expanded staff and board diversity and increased community partnerships to reach this new market. And to more fully demonstrate their commitment to serving their growing Spanish-speaking community, the entire non-Spanish speaking staff volunteered to take Spanish language classes to improve their ability to communicate with the people they value and serve.Like most $29-million credit unions, MCU lacks many resources afforded to larger credit unions, and it would have been easy to give up. Rather than faint at the prospect of more work, this credit union – from the board to member-facing staff – were motivated by a desire to help people, and not only survive but thrive in their ability to serve the next generation. There has been a significant cultural shift (it’s an amazing place to work), ROAA has doubled since 2017, used auto loans have increased 80 percent, and net membership growth is a positive 2.6 percent. The credit union pursued a methodical and prudent process to accomplish this significant strategic shift. It’s managing growth, limiting loan losses, and increasing average loan yield. It’s so popular now, new members are driving across the county to get to the credit union’s only branch office. During 2018, the credit union was nationally recognized by Inclusiv with the Juntos Avanzamos (Together We Advance) designation, acknowledging its commitment to serving its local Latino community. During 2019, its success was further validated by the U.S. Treasury CDFI with a $120,000 grant that will be used to hire an additional loan officer to keep up with consumer loan demand.Loan growth is generating extra income. The extra income is being reinvested into marketing, technology, and human resource development to ensure the credit union can continue to adapt as quickly as possible. Truly, Members Credit Union is an inspiration and best practice, showing that even the smallest of credit unions can adapt and remain relevant.Why it mattersThe environment we operate in is changing rapidly. I’ve seen a lot of changes during my 35-year credit union career. The changes we’re experiencing today are probably the greatest the credit union movement has ever faced. The good news is that consumers, especially the lower-income and working-class (a growing market segment), still need credit unions. I would argue that with the continued income polarization and a shrinking middle class, credit unions have never been needed more.It’s the beginning of a new decade. Now is the time for an honest assessment. If your credit union is not consistently growing or generating the level of revenue needed to invest in tomorrow, what are you willing to do or change to be successful? If your leadership and culture are willing to adapt and change, there are many opportunities out there – but, like anything worth having, it won’t be easy.Credit union pioneer, Edward Filene summed up the need for adaptation best: “Progress is the constant replacing of the best there is with something still better.” All credit unions, regardless of size or business model, need to be in constant search for something “still better” to compete and ensure our credit unions and the movement we serve are still here to welcome in the next decade.[1] Scott is the Principal of Your Credit Union Partner, PLLC.Your Credit Union Partner (YCUP) is a trusted advisor to the leaders of more than 100 credit unions located throughout … Web: Detailslast_img read more

Salmonella -tainted cereal sickens 21 in 13 states

first_imgEditor’s note: The numbers in this story were revised on Apr 15 to reflect a correction issued by the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA originally said the outbreak involved 23 cases in 14 states, but on Apr 15 the agency said the correct numbers were 21 cases in 13 states.Apr 14, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has linked at least 21 illnesses in 13 states to a Salmonella strain that triggered a recent recall of puffed rice and puffed wheat cereals made by Malt-O-Meal, based in Minneapolis.According to federal and state public health officials, the outbreak involves the same uncommon strain, Salmonella enterica serotype Agona, that caused an outbreak 10 years ago that was linked to toasted oats cereal produced at Malt-O-Meal’s Northfield, Minn., plant.The FDA, in an Apr 12 statement, said the products—originally recalled on Apr 5—include unsweetened puffed rice and puffed wheat cereals that were distributed nationally under the Malt-O-Meal label, as well as several other private-label brands such as Acme, America’s Choice, Food Club, Giant, Hannaford, Jewell, Laura Lynn, Pathmark, Shaw’s, ShopRite, Tops, and Weis Quality. The products have “best if used by” dates that range from Apr 8, 2008, to Mar 18, 2009.Malt-O-Meal said in an Apr 11 press release that routine sampling revealed Salmonella on a product that was produced on Mar 24, and a follow-up investigation determined additional products may have been exposed to the pathogen.In a statement issued Apr 11, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the Minnesota Department of Health had confirmed that an S Agona isolate obtained from the state’s Malt-O-Meal plant had the same pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) pattern as isolates from people who were ill.According to the CDC’s most recent count, as of Apr 11 the outbreak had sickened 21 patients in 13 states, including California, Colorado, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Illness onset dates were known for 9 patients and ranged from Jan 22 to Mar 2. Patients’ ages range from 1 to 95 years, and 62% are female. Three hospitalizations have been reported, but no deaths.The CDC said the PulseNet system notified its outbreak team on Apr 7 about a cluster of human S Agona isolates from several states that had the same genetic fingerprint. Three days later, several state health departments notified the CDC that patients who had S Agona infections had eaten Malt-O-Meal cereal products.State health departments, the CDC, and the FDA are in the process of identifying additional cases and are investigating what led to the outbreak, according to the CDC statement. However, Malt-O-Meal said its own investigation into the source of the Salmonella had “determined a root cause of this situation and corrective measures have been taken to ensure that there is no reoccurrence of this issue.” The company did not specify what the root cause was.Chris Neugent, Malt-O-Meal’s president and chief executive officer, said in the press release that the company has had a strong food safety record with systems that exceed industry standards, including a new program that requires suppliers to use third-party audits to prove they have effective food safety programs.”We will take any additional measures necessary to preserve our customers’ confidence in the safety and wholesomeness of the products we offer to consumers,” he said.In April and May of 1998, at least 209 people from 11 states were sickened in an S Agona outbreak involving Malt-O-Meal’s toasted oats cereal, according to a Jun 12, 1998, report in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). At least 47 patients were hospitalized. According to the MMWR report, the outbreak only involved the Millville brand of toasted-oats cereal made by Malt-O-Meal.In the MMWR report, the CDC said S Agona is an uncommon serotype that accounts for about 1.5% of human Salmonella isolates and is found in several animal reservoirs, including poultry, cattle, and pigs, and in animal feed. Other outbreaks involving S Agona have been linked to dried milk and a commercial peanut-flavored snack.Craig Hedberg, PhD, a foodborne disease expert and associate professor of environmental health sciences at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health in Minneapolis, told CIDRAP News that there may an environmental source of S Agona at the plant, despite the steps that Malt-O-Meal reportedly took in response to the previous outbreak in 1998.”My guess is that the bug may have been in the plant the whole time, but that to have enough contamination to cause an outbreak also required an amplifying event,” he said.Hedberg said that if this is, in fact, the same strain that caused the previous outbreak, it would be interesting to review PulseNet data see if health officials have missed other cases involving the outbreak strain over the past 10 years.This latest Salmonella outbreak underlines a finding the CDC released a few days ago in its annual FoodNet update, he said. “We haven’t made much progress in controlling Salmonella,” Hedberg said. Data from the CDC’s 10-state FoodNet surveillance system suggested that in 2007 rates of infection with Campylobacter, Listeria, Salmonella, Shigella, E coli O157, and Yersinia did not decline significantly compared with the previous 3 years.Of 17,883 foodborne infections that were reported through FoodNet in 2007, up slightly from the 17,252 reported in 2006, Salmonella led the list, with 6,790 confirmed cases (38% of the total).See also:Apr 12 FDA press release Salmonella Agona page Multistate outbreak of Salmonella serotype Agona infections linked to toasted oats cereal—United States, April-May, 1998. MMWR 1998 Jun 12;47(22):462-4 [Full text]Apr 10 CIDRAP News story “Foodborne disease rates changed little in 2007”last_img read more