SOUTHCOM and the Dominican Republic Strengthen Cooperation in the Fight against Drug Trafficking

first_imgBy Julieta Pelcastre/Diálogo December 12, 2016 Major General Pilot Luis Napoleón Payán Díaz, commander general of the Dominican Republic Air Force (FARD, per its Spanish acronym), met with U.S. Marine Corps Brigadier General Paul J. Rock Jr., U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) director of Strategy, Policy and Plans (J-5), to boost cooperation in the fight against transnational organized crime networks. During his November 11th visit, Brig. Gen. Rock Jr. “familiarized himself with the needs of the Dominican Air Force, focusing on the operations that the military institution has carried out throughout the years in counter-narcotics operations,” FARD Colonel Pilot Regner G. Evins Feliz, aide to Commander General Payán Díaz, told Diálogo. The meeting was held at the Joint Operations Center of the Ministry of Defense in Santo Domingo. The senior military commanders discussed the importance of enhancing the training Dominican pilots receive in the use of night-vision goggles to strengthen nighttime activities against international drug trafficking, illegal migration, and arms smuggling. “The objective is to increase training opportunities for rotary-wing aircraft pilots— whether that is with specialists from the U.S. Army, Air Force, or other regional partners, such as Colombia,” Col. Evins said. “Night-vision technology and instruction is of the utmost importance for the Dominican Air Force, to provide support for the Navy or the National Drug Control Directorate (DNCD, per its Spanish acronym) in the fight against drug trafficking, by moving land units during both day and by night,” Col. Evins said. The officers also discussed SOUTHCOM’s Military Assistance Program. The FARD expressed their need to improve maintenance and resource management to increase the operational readiness rate of the Dominican Republic Air Force helicopter fleet. “The performance of the FARD is reduced if they do not have aircraft ready to engage in the flight time required for strong results,” Daniel Pou, associate director of Latin American Social Sciences Institute in the Dominican Republic told Diálogo. The Caribbean country is considered an important transit point for illicit drugs originating in South America. The United States Government, in its 2015 International Narcotics Control Strategy report, estimated that approximately six percent of all cocaine brought into the United States and Europe moves through the Dominican Republic. “Since 2008, the Dominican Air Force has impacted deterrence and managed to achieve a reduction in illicit air flights to zero,” Col. Evins said. “The main mission of the Dominican Air Force is to give support to the Dominican Republic’s Navy. Almost 100 percent of the leaders of criminal drug-smuggling organizations have moved to the sea. There are no borders for these organizations.” To strengthen security in the Caribbean country and throughout the region, the FARD is also working jointly with squadrons from other countries through the development of joint interdictions and trainings. These efforts at joint collaboration on regional security between the Dominican Armed Forces, the DNCD and SOUTHCOM are demonstrated through various programs such as the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative. The United States cooperates with the Dominican Armed Forces and the DNCD in several areas by providing support, intelligence, training, and specialized equipment. “Cooperation between the Dominican Republic and the United States in terms of the military is pertinent, especially regarding the area of aeronautics, so the FARD can play a support role in terms of law enforcement,” said Pou “Cooperation is increasingly important because the Dominican Republic is a bridge for all this ill [drug trafficking], which has an impact on society. The main way to have greater effectiveness in combating international drug smuggling is to continue combining efforts, exchanging information, training together, and giving each other support,” said Col. Evins. At the conclusion of the meeting, the Dominican authorities highlighted the commitment of their government and Armed Forces to increase cooperation. “We are committed and we are going to make our best effort so that, by working together, we have the best results in the fight against drug trafficking and other transnational crimes,” concluded Col. Evins.last_img read more

Sadiković, Samardžić and Zadro, at the European Junior Judo Championship

first_imgEuropean Judo Championships in junior competition up to 21 years old will be held at the Olympic Hall “Juan Antonio Samaranch”, in Sarajevo from 20th to 22nd September. Judo Alliance of Bosnia and Herzegovina, who has organized four European championships until now, is expecting around 400 young fighters from 44 European countries, and Bosnia and Herzegovina will be represented by national champion, and the best competitor in the junior B&H, and at cadet category.The selector of judo team of Bosnia and Herzegovina Branislav Crnogorac highlighted at the today’s press conference that the highest expectations are from of the cadet world champion Harun Sadiković and the European champion in the cadet category Petar Zadar and Aleksandar Samardžić.“I believe that the National Team of B&H at the European Championship in Sarajevo can achieve good results, and our cadets in one year have won one European and one world medal. This is something that can not be ignored, and we expect from them the most”, said Crnogorac.He added that the Judo Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina is not famous, only for its results, but also for its excellent technical organization of the competition.(Source: Fena)last_img read more

DONEGAL OUTDOOR SCHOOLS IN A CLASS OF THEIR OWN

first_imgThe number of parents opting to send their children to outdoor pre-schools is on the rise. That’s according to Donegal woman, Sally O’Donnell, who established Ireland’s first outdoor school in Donegal eight years ago.Located just outside Letterkenny in Glenswilly, Glen Outdoor School is now part of a trio of Early Learning Schools in Donegal where children spend 80% of their time outdoors.As well as Glen Outdoor, the Early Learning Schools incorporate Park School, located at the Mountain Top, Letterkenny and Ray Outdoor School in Ray Community Centre, situated between Rathmullan and Ramelton. A native of Churchill, O’Donnell was ahead of her time when she opened Glen Outdoor School in 2006, but is now delighted that outdoor schools are gaining popularity across Ireland and the UK.O’Donnell explains: “Parents are curious to find out more about the benefits of outdoor play, because before they visit our schools, they are sometimes concerned that outdoor play is just that – play.However, they are reassured when they realise that our schools follow the Early Childhood Curriculum Framework, Aistear.“The focus of our schools is to allow children enjoy their childhood as two, three, and four year olds should, instilling in them a desire to learn by following their individual needs. In doing so we prepare them, not just for school – but for life.” O’Donnell continued: “Nature provides a variety of learning opportunities that children can really get involved in, from planting seeds to exploring the properties of water.“The outdoor environment also encourages children to explore curricular concepts using higher order thinking, problem solving, self-risk assessing and complex language.“We’ve also got great feedback from parents in terms of dramatic improvements in their children’s health and well-being since starting our outdoor schools.“That’s largely because many leading experts recommend that children get a minimum of three hours active outdoor play every day, but it appears that this is now the exception rather than the norm.” The fact that one in four children is now either overweight or obese is hugely concerning and just should not be the case.” Early Learning Schools give children the opportunity to experience the outdoors in all types of weather, while dressed in the appropriate clothing and footwear.Additional benefits include independence, resilience, self-esteem and disposition, better energy levels, better quality of sleep, agility, balance and co-ordination, stronger immune systems and lower stress levels.Early Learning Schools will host a series of information evenings this week to inform and educate parents about the positive impact outdoor activity has on children’s development.The first information evening takes place in Park School, Mountain Top, Letterkenny, (entrance via Foxhill’s Estate) on Tuesday, 24th February, followed by Ray Outdoor School (Ray Community Centre, between Rathmullan and Ramelton) on Wednesday, 25th February and finally, Glen Outdoor School on Thursday, 26th February. All sessions take place from 6.00pm – 8.00pm each evening. Visit www.earlylearningschools.ie or call Sally on 086 858 9339 or Noreen on 087 2966164 for more information.DONEGAL OUTDOOR SCHOOLS IN A CLASS OF THEIR OWN was last modified: February 23rd, 2015 by Mark ForkerShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:childcarechildreneducationFeaturesLearningnewsOutdoorPre-schoolschoolslast_img read more