Category: szfgn

Santos Cruz, General at the Front Line

first_imgBy Kaiser Konrad/Diálogo June 19, 2017 Brazilian Army Lieutenant General Carlos Alberto dos Santos Cruz, who led peace missions in Haiti and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, was recently appointed Brazil’s Public Security Secretary.Born in Rio Grande, the son of an officer in the Military Brigade, 64-year-old Brazilian Army Lieutenant General Carlos Alberto dos Santos Cruz, is internationally recognized by colleagues and subordinates as one of the most brilliant Brazilian military officers. His work in Haiti became a reference, and was so important that a few months after he retired he was asked to return to active service in order to command the largest and most complex United Nations (UN) peace mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and the first to have an Intervention Brigade. In the African jungle, he was at the front line, leading combat units in highly complex operations with technological resources that were previously nonexistent in the Brazilian ground forces, achieving complete success by overcoming the enemy and opening a space to create peace, which again resulted in the international community’s recognition.Diálogo: Your first command assignment abroad was with the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH, per its French acronym), where you initiated a radical change in Haiti’s security situation and called the UN’s attention to your command and strategy to solve the country’s crime problem. What was your experience like in that mission?Brazilian Army Lieutenant General Carlos Alberto dos Santos Cruz: My first participation in the UN was in Haiti, as the commander of the UN troops in that country. I held the job for two years and three months, from January 2007 to April 2009. When I arrived in Haiti, the criminal street gangs were concentrated in the neighborhood of Cité Soleil and already had complete control of the area for some years. The UN troops had some points already established inside the area, called strong points. Later, after we arrived, the decision was to end this gang dominance over the area and the local population in order to make it possible to reestablish public order. It is impossible to tolerate criminal groups who rule an area by overtly using weapons, not allowing state access, and subjecting the population to kidnapping, extortion, rape, etc. Attacks against UN troops occurred daily. The troops had a big advantage in this situation since the military is prepared precisely for conflict situations. The armed groups’ belief that it was possible to defend the territory and face the UN troops in combat was crucial to our success. We immediately decided to confront them. The troops are professional; they have better training, supplies, technology, logistics, and much better leadership. In these situations, leadership and resolve are fundamental. It’s important to keep the operations at a strong and steady pace against the criminal gangs until they are completely dismantled and eliminated. You can never rest. This was done by well-led and well-trained troops from various countries, with the Brazilian contingent being the largest. In reality, the actions were not to solve the crime problem but rather to eliminate the power of the armed groups that had been politically exploited at a certain moment in the country’s recent history. The reduction of the normal public safety problems, namely the crimes that occur in the day-to-day life of a society, was a natural byproduct. On this point, it’s important to emphasize that Haiti’s homicide rate, for example, is considerably lower than Brazil’s. The UN’s goal, usually, is to eliminate violence that is political in origin, and not really the crimes that take place in society, which are problems of public safety. However, in the Haitian case, the elimination of the gangs also led to increased security in the areas under UN military control. And all this was obtained without so-called collateral damages, thanks to the quality of the troops responsible for the actions.Diálogo: In 2013, you were called back and assumed command of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO, per its French acronym), including the first Intervention Brigade in the history of the peace missions. Could you talk more about your work in DRC? What were the missions like? How did you defeat M23?Lt. Gen. Santos Cruz: I left active service in the Brazilian Army in December 2012, and in April 2013 I was surprised at the possibility of commanding UN troops in DRC. MONUSCO was, and still is, the UN’s biggest mission, and also the one that has the biggest budget. At that time, it had a force of more than 20,000 men and a budget of around $1.4 billion. The Congo’s problems are extremely complex, especially on the eastern side, where the country borders South Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and Tanzania. That entire area has a history marked by violence, with one of the most well-known events being the 1994 genocide, when nearly 500,000 ethnic Tutsi people and more than 300,000 ethnic Hutu people were killed in Rwanda in a period of approximately three months. Many of them fled into the Congo. Later, in Congo’s interior, innumerable Hutus and members of other ethnic groups were massacred during various conflicts. It is estimated that between five million and six million people died as victims of violence in the Congo in the last 20-25 years. The inaccuracy of the numbers shows the loss of the human dimension of the problem.In 2012, another rebel movement arose in the Congo, called M23. It was basically an ethnic Tutsi group with solid military training, among whom were strongly armed deserters from the Congolese Army itself who had external support. After several battles, this group occupied Goma, one of the main cities in Congo. Located in the east, on the border with Rwanda, it has more than one million inhabitants. The Congolese Army retreated, the UN did not prevent the occupation, and this led to a situation of shame and disgrace for the United Nations. The Security Council issued a new mandate with a broader authorization for the use of force, and it beefed up the mission with the so-called Intervention Brigade, composed of around 3,000 soldiers from Tanzania, South Africa, and Malawi. I arrived in the Congo in the first days of June 2013, after the first contingent of the Intervention Brigade from Tanzania was called in. Later the troops from South Africa and Malawi arrived. There were around 45 armed groups in the Congo, but the main focus at the time was to liberate the city of Goma from the M23 siege north of the city. Thanks to the UN’s political pressure, that armed group had left the city and established itself in the first hills to the north in the outskirts of the urban area, around 6-7 kilometers from the city center. However, M23 had artillery with a range of 18.5 kilometers. In the political sphere, a round of peace talks between the Congolese government and M23 had been opened in the city of Kampala, the capital of Uganda.The immediate decision was to support the Congolese Army in the fight against M23, in order to liberate the city of Goma, defeat the movement, and recover the area to the north that was under the control and administration of that rebel group, since M23 had created a type of parallel government in the region. The battle to liberate Goma occurred at the end of August 2013, with the UN supporting the Congolese Army. M23 was in very strong positions, in hills that were hard to conquer, and the battle lasted eight days, culminating in M23’s defeat and retreat, but also with many losses on the Congolese side, and some UN casualties. It was typical combat, with infantry on the attack and very strong support from artillery, mortars, and attack helicopters. M23 retreated to positions further north, and in October 2013, there was a new confrontation in Rutshuru and Kiwanja, where we also sustained losses, but we defeated M23 once again by making the rebel group occupy a defensive position that was extremely difficult to conquer near the border with Uganda. After some attacks by the Congolese Army, and support from the UN, with the use of infantry, artillery, and mortars, the rebel group was defeated with a massive bombing by attack helicopters, and those remaining fled to Uganda.During the ongoing operations, actions were launched against other armed groups in jungle areas that were completely different from the combat area with M23. The combat became one of small patrols and squads in an area similar to the Amazon forest, against groups who avoided direct conflict and relied on ambushes. One of these groups, which originated in Uganda, was called ADF. It had a radical Islamist ideology and terrorized the population with indiscriminate violence against civilians, including cruel assassinations of men, women, and children, almost exclusively with axes and machetes, with minimal use of firearms. The use of the ambush and civilian assassination technique (around 500 assassinated in one year) also led to many casualties in the Congolese Army and some among the UN forces. In other areas of the country, we had other operations against different rebel groups.Diálogo: In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, you frequently resorted to equipment that the Brazilian Army (EB, per its Portuguese acronym) does not even have today, such as attack helicopters and remotely piloted aircraft. What is the importance of these systems, how were they used, and what operational benefit did they provide? Which lessons did you bring to the EB regarding their use?Lt. Gen. Santos Cruz: To enter into combat you need equipment, training, knowledge, but mainly resolve, the will to win, leadership, perception, and decisiveness. You need to maintain a strong rhythm of [military] actions, and to have the ability to escalate the conflict if needed. The entire military apparatus of technology, arms, logistics, and fire support needs to be used at its maximum efficiency level. This is very hard to manage in a UN environment since the motives and the influences on the organization are very different. You must have confidence in the perception since there is no time to sit around analyzing everything in a classic military way. There is no time available. You must have an operational dynamic but also follow all the rules of the International Law of Armed Conflict, the principles of human rights, and not have collateral effects. This is all possible since it’s only a question of perception. Equipment such as attack helicopters, efficient artillery, special troops with special equipment, and remotely piloted aircraft with good image resolution are essential for intelligence, for situational and operational area awareness, for making decisions with the least risk, for destroying the opponent, and protecting the infantry and cavalry in their advance on the ground. When you have quality troops and equipment, you have a greater sense of security in making risky decisions. The great personal lesson that I can pass on is that the EB can multiply its capacity many times over if it is equipped with what it requests because the EB already possesses the main component [for success] – the quality of its personnel. I had the opportunity to command our personnel in action, together with combatants from other countries, who were also excellent. The privates, corporals, sergeants, and officers on the front line are extremely fearless, courageous, careful, technically adept, precise, and disciplined. At one point, I had the opportunity to mention at a UN meeting that the best “show” was not on Broadway, in New York. The best of all was to see the privates, corporals, sergeants, and officers in action on the front line. And I had the pleasure of seeing our personnel in action. That is how I remember and pay homage to them and to the soldiers from other countries as well.Diálogo: If you were asked again, would you be ready and willing to return to active service and command another peace or combat mission abroad? Considering the current conflicts, what would be your preference and the strategy to be implemented?Lt. Gen. Santos Cruz: Without a doubt. If I had another chance, I would go. I don’t lack willingness. And I think that, even with the inexorable passage of time, I am still capable. But opportunities also have to arise at the right moment. In a conflict situation, there’s no choice, but without a doubt, it has to be a task that gives you the feeling that you are contributing to the defense of innocent people, to the defense of the most vulnerable, to the protection of those who suffer from the violence of political and armed criminal groups. People have to have the feeling that they are contributing to the defense of the weakest. Thus, it’s not so hard to identify the “preference.” Each situation is unique, but the strategy to be implemented in any situation follows certain principles: planning, specific training, initiative, and determination for the confrontation.Diálogo: Already in the reserves you were asked to manage FT-35 (Ground Force), bringing your operational experience to the restructuring of the Army. What is the significance of this work? What are the main changes to be implemented, as you see it? How should the EB be in 2035?Lt. Gen. Santos Cruz: All organizations, including the [Brazilian] Army, need to make a medium- and long-term plan from time to time. FT-35 is a small part of the projects with the end goal of suggesting and implementing the changes to the Army, with an outlook toward 2035. At certain times, it is necessary to verify the technological gap, structural modernization, and change of contexts for possible deployments of the Ground Force. Military equipment is constantly evolving in the area of vehicles, individual equipment, individual and group armaments, command and control, cyber, aircraft, munitions, etc. And the Brazilian Army is underway with this process. I feel useful by participating in this process, and being able to contribute something. It’s an important task, since it modernizes, rationalizes, and increases the efficiency of the Brazilian Army.The Brazilian Army follows the beat of society and budget availability. So the evolution occurs within what is possible. The changes to be implemented, especially in the area of equipment, will follow budgetary perspectives. It’s clear that it is impossible to make all the desired changes, as occurs in any area of public administration, but there are some points that the Brazilian Army has maintained at a level of excellence: the selection of personnel and the instruction and training system – these are the Brazilian Army’s points of excellence, and they are recognized nationally and internationally; the disciplinary conduct of its personnel; the national presence, allowing the population to have confidence in the institution; its smooth administration and good application of allocated resources; participation in all emergencies in order to provide aid to the population; maintaining troop readiness for immediate strategic response; updating technology in deploying Army aircraft, special forces elements, command-and-control systems, artillery systems, mechanized and armored cavalry, mechanization of basic combat elements, cyber defense, and monitoring and intelligence systems. Eighteen years from now (2035) is not such a long time, and I think that the EB is going to get there with the same reputation of a highly reliable, exemplary, and admired institution; as a reference point in many aspects for the Brazilian population, and a force with greater combat power in certain selected internal units.Diálogo: Speaking in terms of equipment, in your opinion, which systems should be introduced to improve the Brazilian Army’s combat capacity?Lt. Gen. Santos Cruz: This is a strictly personal opinion, for these definitions depend on the commander of the Army, assisted by the Joint Staff. I think that evolution is important in the areas of attack helicopters, in artillery systems, such as target search and modern guided/intelligent munitions, in mechanization and armored vehicles, in the areas of sensing, command and control, remotely piloted aircraft, intelligence, and cyber. These are examples of areas where the development of systems is fundamental.Diálogo: You participated in many urban combat operations. How do you see the possibility of deploying the Ground Force in missions like this? How could they protect the borders and keep peace in the country, with regard to fighting crime?Lt. Gen. Santos Cruz: The Brazilian Army is extremely well-prepared for combat missions in urban areas. We had high-intensity clashes, exchanging thousands of bullets with armed groups, and there was never any physical harm to innocent people or damage to their property. The EB is perfectly adept at this type of mission and is also very well-prepared for police-type operations.There is no difficulty for the Brazilian Army to be deployed in urban combat missions or in police-type operations. That is not to say that the Army can, or should replace the police. The problem of the level of criminality in [Brazil] is much broader than the implementation of the police force or the prospective participation of the Army. At its root are questions of administration, leadership, impunity, corruption, bad examples, and social imbalance, among others. Crimes that involve violence comprise just a part of serious problems already in existence. The fight against crime is a crusade that must be waged against all types of crimes, at all levels, and not just against those crimes of direct violence against persons or property. The spectrum is much broader. The fight against crime must be waged against all types of crimes and criminals. This goes beyond the ability of an armed force deployed in a support role or in response to a Guarantee of Law and Order situation in an emergency situation.As to the expectation of the Brazilian Army’s participation in the fight against crime, whether at the border or not, it’s important to take some things into account. Anywhere in the world, armed forces are deployed in emergency situations to support the other institutions responsible for the area where the emergency occurs. The Brazilian Army should not be routinely deployed to fight crime, or in any other public security operation. There are specific entities for that. The frequent use of the Ground Force in public security is a symptom of chronic problems, of social imbalance, and not of an emergency situation. The alarming situation of crime in Brazil has reasons that go beyond public security. Public security has three pillars: police, courts, and the prison system. In a balanced society, these three pillars need to function efficiently. This harmony is impossible when there is no example, leadership, or efficiency in upper management. To the extent that the three pillars do not function effectively, there will be no solution. The deterioration in public security occurs, in part, because of poor functioning and lack of synchronization of points that go from one extreme to the other.At the level of security enforcement, the civilian and military policy need to be valued, equipped, receive investments, be able to balance their economic and social problems with a suitable professional proposal, and supported so that they can carry out their work effectively and safely. This is not a problem that is solved with armed forces. The problems of the courts are currently seen on the front pages of the newspapers. Likewise, the issues of the prison system are labeled as catastrophic. All these matters have causes that occurred over time, for various reasons. Thus, you have to clearly distinguish what is an emergency situation and what is long-term deterioration – perfectly identifiable as a reported catastrophe. Defining responsibility for the existing problems is as important as the direct enforcement of security measures. It’s not hard for any citizen with an ordinary level of knowledge to identify the existing problems, their origins, causes, and what needs to be done.The Ground Force is a resource for emergencies, and its deployment in activities that are the jurisdiction of other agencies should not be frequent; it should not be a routine deployment. This cannot function as a smokescreen to obscure the vision of the real problems, or even to be exploited for other purposes.As for the Army’s participation in the fight against crimes that occur along the border, the military organizations normally participate in security [exercises] in support of the responsible entities, such as the Federal Police, Internal Revenue Service, Brazilian Environmental and Natural Renewable Resources Agency, State Police, etc., as a subsidiary action, when so determined. This is a perfectly standard matter since there is specific legislation that grants police power to the EB along the border.last_img read more

Gary Smith out to beat David Beckham’s Inter Miami with Nashville | Football News

first_imgHired when Nashville were playing the United Soccer League, Smith impressed enough to be entrusted with the role of head coach for this inaugural MLS season. He has rewarded that faith with a seventh-place finish – three above Miami – and a place in the playoffs.“I think it has exceeded everyone’s expectations,” he says. “It is a brand new group and I have tried to bring those guys together and create a bit of an identity, a style. It is not easy.- Advertisement – Nashville head coach Gary SmithImage:Smith is an MLS winner during his time at Colorado Rapids in 2010 I think it makes for great press. David and Goliath, if you like.Gary Smith on the game against Inter Miami preview image There has since been the tornado in Tennessee that forced two of the team to move house and the challenge of making up for missed games in what has been a packed schedule.Smith has found a way. At 51, his only management role in English football ended seven years ago at Stevenage, but his pedigree Stateside is not in question. The Miami game will take place 10 years to the day since he led Colorado Rapids to glory in the MLS Cup.He had reservations about the move to Nashville at first. Smith’s first impression of Music City was that this was “Blackpool on steroids” but he has since found comfort in a quieter part of town, making a new life there with his wife and three teenage children.- Advertisement – “You are not only trying to fast-track relationships, building a rapport and understanding, but you have got to present a practical idea. What is the philosophy? How are we are going to compete? The template is laid out but it is then up to the players to bring it to life.“It has just been an incredibly difficult year for everyone involved but to show the character and spirit that we have is a testament to the individuals that we have in the group.” NASHVILLE, TN - AUGUST 30: Head coach Gary Smith of Nashville SC celebrates with Walker Zimmerman #25 and Joe Willis #1 after the match against the Inter Miami at Nissan Stadium on August 30, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee. Nashville defeats Miami 1-0.Image:Smith believes his Nashville players have exceeded expectations this year Nashville's Anibal Godoy scored a stunner against Inter MiamiImage:Smith has succeeded in forming a strong bond among his players in quick time Could there be a repeat of that success with Colorado Rapids? It would be a sensational story, once more, but Smith does not sound like a man who is ruling it out.“Quite frankly, there is no comparison with how this club is run. The understanding with the technical director, the general manager, the ownership group, it is just poles apart.“Again, this is an unfancied group. Again, we are battling the odds.“It is different here but the fact that we are unfancied and were unfancied from the outset plays into this. Does anyone really want to play us? I would not think so. The team that plays against us is expected to win and I believe that makes it difficult for our opponent.”Beckham, watch out? “Fortunately for us,” laughs Smith, “he isn’t playing.” Nashville expansion into MLS celebrated by Don Garber and Ian Ayre (Pic: USA Today/MLS)Image:This is Nashville’s first season in MLS having joined as an expansion team Watch highlights of Nashville’s impressive 3-0 win over Dallas last monthcenter_img It is a bittersweet memory now. The people of Nashville had rallied behind the team but the Covid-19 crisis means that the crowds have not been able to return in numbers since then.And yet, Smith’s side have battled on. They have been beaten only once at home since that opening game – and even that was as a result of a controversial offside call. Nashville have the third best defensive record in the league. That could be crucial in the playoffs.“A lot of press and pundits look at the fact that we don’t concede goals and I think that has sometimes been misconstrued,” says Smith, a reference to his reputation for defence.“The big thing that I have always wanted from a group is to be organised. That defensive organisation has helped us to stay in games when we have not had the firepower to make it work. Credit to the group for staying focused and organised and carrying out our plan.“There is more than one way to skin a cat.”The game against Miami highlights that clearly. The razzmatazz that has greeted the Florida outfit’s introduction to MLS contrasts with the more measured approach of Nashville. “People will look at the similarities – or maybe the lack of similarities,” says Smith. Indeed, Smith still has the ball from the MLS Cup final. His eldest daughter jumped the hoardings upon the final whistle and at the age of seven had the wherewithal to grab it.“Next thing you know, she is standing there with the match-ball. It is amazing what takes their focus. She went scuttling after it. I got the guys to sign it. It is pride of place.”But within a year of that success, Smith was gone. Without a green card in America, he returned to England hoping that his achievements overseas had been noted.He ended up at Stevenage.“I would have loved an opportunity in the Championship but that was not the case,” he explains. “Maybe the league was not viewed as it should have been but I thought Stevenage was a good opportunity. You don’t go anywhere thinking that it is going to be ****.”Smith took Stevenage to the League One playoffs in his first season, losing to Sheffield United in the semi-final. It remains the club’s highest league finish in its history but he was sacked the following March, just days after a 4-0 win over the Blades, and with the team safely in midtable, after what was described by the board as a ‘worrying’ run of form.“What happened there was probably my biggest frustration,” he admits.“I understand that all managers are under pressure. But knowing you have a budget among the bottom three or four, and that you are punching above your weight in a transition period, that was my biggest frustration. I felt I deserved a bit more time.”It has been a long road back to the big time, which is why Nashville’s opening game against Atlanta United back in March – played in the Tennessee Titans’ stadium in front of a huge crowd of almost 60,000 supporters – was such an emotional experience for Smith.“It was an incredible occasion,” he says. “For everyone who was at the game there were some really deep emotions. The stadium itself is magnificent. To be standing there with nearly 60,000 there, a brand new team, all the effort that had gone into that.“Of course, for me personally, having won a championship in Denver and then not having had another opportunity in MLS until that Atlanta game, it was quite remarkable really.” When Inter Miami travel to Nashville for the playoff game between the two MLS expansion teams this Sunday evening, most eyes will be on Miami co-owner David Beckham. But it is another less well-known Englishman whose fingerprints will be all over the occasion.Nashville head coach Gary Smith has faced down adversity this year. His team, short on stars but long on determination, only met up during pre-season and could not even complete in the opening tournament in Orlando when much of the roster was struck down by Covid-19.- Advertisement – In 2017, much to his amusement, he was even selected by a local magazine as one of the 25 most beautiful people in Nashville. “I think they were struggling for candidates that year,” he tells Sky Sports. “But the photographer did tell me that I was definitely in the top 10.” 1:01 It is also a testament to the work of Smith and his backroom staff, which includes the former Leicester and England winger Steve Guppy. The pair were once team-mates at Wycombe.Reunited at Nashville, they are attempting to recreate one of the more unlikely achievements in MLS history when Colorado Rapids defied the odds a decade ago.Smith had only gone to Denver to set up a youth academy for Arsenal but was unexpectedly offered the job in chaotic circumstances. He recalls a franchise that was “immersed in mediocrity” but history was made with a come-from-behind win over FC Dallas.“It was a remarkable journey,” he says.“There were a lot of things behind the scenes. It was not a harmonious group. I am talking about the technical director and the senior staff at the club. To build a team when it was such a fractured outfit, to build a spirit of togetherness, the very epitome of us against the world, and go on and win a championship with the next to lowest budget in the league…“There weren’t many spending less than us at the time. It was an amazing achievement and one that we all constantly chat about and look back on with great feelings of pride.” “Their additions have been far more high profile than ours but they have brought something to the table and their form has improved. They have got themselves in this playoff spot.“I think it makes for great press. David and Goliath, if you like. They are still under more pressure than we are because of the expectations in general of that franchise. But we have gone about our business and dealt with the adversity. That has brought the group together.“Our competitive nature speaks for itself. This is a terrific group of players and their fibre and inner spirit is something you need in the playoffs.“If we can get past this hurdle, if we can get this job done at home, which will not be easy, I believe it will give the group a confidence that will be unquenchable, really. Then, I think you will see a group of players who are feeling ten feet tall and feeling pretty bulletproof.” – Advertisement –last_img read more

No global bonds in sight as Indonesia focuses on local debt market

first_imgIn the meantime, the government aims to attract more domestic investors to fund the country’s budget deficit during the global health crisis, as foreign ownership of Indonesia’s sovereign debt papers (SBNs) has fallen significantly to 29.6 percent from 39 percent at the beginning of the year.The government is planning to raise Rp 35 trillion to Rp 40 trillion every two weeks throughout the remainder of the year through the primary market, Luky explained, adding that retail bonds would be worth Rp 35 trillion to Rp 40 trillion in the second half of the year.“We want to attract investment from domestic investors to prop up financing because this will make [the debt market] more resilient” to global economic shocks, Luky said, adding that it had a strategy in place to increase domestic ownership of SBNs.The country’s financial markets have been hit by the coronavirus pandemic this year as foreign investors have dumped Rp 122.4 trillion in Indonesian assets as of July, according to the ministry’s data, which has weakened the rupiah exchange rate and caused a spike in yields of government debts earlier this year. The government is not likely to issue another global bond this year as it aims to focus on strengthening the local debt market while relying on domestic investors amid the pandemic.“We currently have no plan to issue another global bond in the second half,” the Finance Ministry’s financing and risk management director general, Luky Alfirman, said on Friday.The government has raised a total of $9.9 billion from global bonds in the first half, including from dollar-denominated bonds and global sukuk (sharia-compliant bond) issued earlier this year, according to Luky. To fund its COVID-19 fight, the government is planning to raise Rp 900.4 trillion (US$61.8 billion) in the second half this year to cover for a widening budget deficit of 6.34 percent of gross domestic product.The government’s Rp 695.2 trillion stimulus was introduced to boost the economy, which is expected to shrink 0.4 percent at worst or grow 1 percent at best.Bank Indonesia agreed earlier this month to buy Rp 397.5 trillion worth of government bonds and bear the interest cost of the central bank’s policy rate of 4 percent to fund healthcare and social safety net programs amid the coronavirus pandemic.“We are currently setting up a special account at the central bank and hopefully next week we may start the implementation,” Luky said, adding that the burden-sharing scheme would reduce SBNs in the financial market to around Rp 453 trillion from June to December.However, despite not issuing global bonds, the government is looking to raise $5.5 billion from multilateral organizations in the second half after raising $1.8 billion in the first half from five multilaterals, including the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).“We are focusing on getting loans from our multilateral partners in the second half this year after focusing on raising funds from global bonds in the first half,” he added.Center of Reform on Economics (CORE) Indonesia research director Piter Abdullah urged the government to consider the current economic condition before relying on domestic investors.”The government’s strategy to strengthen the bond market is appropriate but it will need economic growth that can create a new middle-class, as well as expansive monetary policy,” he said.The Indonesian economy grew 2.97 percent in the first quarter, the slowest in 19 years. The government expects the economy to shrink up to 5.08 percent in the second quarter as the outbreak paralyzes business activity.center_img Topics :last_img read more

Designs provide space for the whole family, even the in-laws

first_imgBold Living’s “Modern” house designIt takes a village to raise a child, as the saying goes. And it would appear that sentiment is making a comeback, with one developer launching a new home range in response to changes in the “co-living” market.Bold Living director Brett Boulton said their new acreage range, The Sanctuary Collection, would suit families wanting more space to play at an affordable price.“The modern family has come full circle, with many grandparents now sharing a home with their children and grandchildren, and we are seeing increasing demand for homes that cater for this situation,” Mr Boulton said.“Acreage designs provide the room for grandparents to be down one end of the house and the kids and grandkids at the other, each with their own living areas. More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus1 day agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market1 day ago“This new-age family co-living is making housing more affordable for the younger generation and is attractive to grandparents who get to spend more time with their kids and grandkids and have room to park the caravan when they’re not travelling.” Bold Living’s “Boulton” house designMr Boulton said many families were putting lifestyle ahead of their daily commute, opting for larger homes and blocks over city fringe living. Among the first to build a Sanctuary Collection house are Karen Dioth and Carlos Hinostroza, who will make the move to Samford when their five-bedroom home is completed in December. Karen Dioth and Carlos Hinostroza, with their daughter, Isabella, will make the move to Samford when their five-bedroom home is completed in December.The couple, who have a three-month-old daughter, Isabella, said they were “itching to get out of suburbia” after moving from Melbourne to Brisbane in 2014.“I love being in the garden and we have a Labrador who needs a lot of space, so when we saw the acreage offering from Bold, we jumped at the chance,” Ms Dioth said. “Our new home will be equipped with everything we need and more, and with five bedrooms we have enough space to accommodate parents and other family members if they decide to come and live with us in the future.”last_img read more

Port of Townsville Expansion Program Gets Green Light

first_imgPort of Townsville announced this morning that the construction works on the port expansion program could start next year after the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the project was approved by the Queensland Coordinator-General.The EIS included comprehensive scientific assessments and consultation processes to address key issues, and the conditions placed on the Coordinator-General’s approval include stringent controls to ensure the health of Cleveland Bay is safeguarded.Port of Townsville Chief Executive Officer, Ranee Crosby, said that the $1.6 billion, 30-year development plan would ensure the Townsville Port kept up pace with global and domestic demands.“The State’s approval of the EIS for the project cannot be understated; it’s a milestone that has been in the making for nearly 10 years,” said Ms Crosby. “By 2045, the Port of Townsville will create up to six new berths, new land for cargo handling, and widen and deepen the channels for bigger ships.”“The EIS was a rigorous environmental review and project assessment, so we are delighted to have now received endorsement for the project from the Coordinator-General.”“We are looking forward to getting this vital project underway, and to continue working in close partnership with the local community to deliver best practice environmental outcomes,” Ms Crosby said.The $193 million Channel Capacity Upgrade will be the first work to start under the Townsville Port Expansion Project, involving widening of the shipping channels to accommodate larger ships.“Ships are getting bigger, so widening of the channel is critical. This will result in lower shipping costs for freight, and allows larger cruise and defense ships to visit the city, which is great for tourism in the region,” Ms Crosby added.The Queensland Government has committed $75 million towards the channel works, which will start next year pending Commonwealth approval of the Additional Environmental Impact Statement and finalization of funding.The Commonwealth Government’s decision is anticipated by 24 October.[mappress mapid=”24460″]last_img read more

BBB officials warn of fake check scam

first_imgIndianapolis, In. — An in-depth study by Better Business Bureau finds that, while consumers may write fewer checks in this era of electronic financial transactions, fake check scams are on the rise. Fake checks are used in a variety of frauds, from employment scams to prize and sweepstakes fraud. In all cases, victims deposit the check and send money back to scammers. BBB warns consumers to be on guard against these serious and pervasive frauds and their perpetrators.The investigative study– “Don’t Cash That Check: Better Business Bureau Study Shows How Fake Check Scams Bait Consumers” — looks at how fake checks dupe consumers. It digs into the scope of the problem, who is behind it, and the need for law enforcement and consumer education to address the issue.Scammers often succeed because consumers don’t realize:Crediting a bank account does not mean the cashed check is valid. Federal banking rules require that when someone deposits a check into an account, the bank must make the funds available right away – within a day or two. Even when a check is credited to an account, it does not mean the check is good. A week or so later, if the check bounces, the bank will want the money back. Consumers, not the fraudsters, will be on the hook for the funds.Cashier’s checks and postal money orders can be forged. A cashier’s check is a check guaranteed by a bank, drawn on the bank’s own funds and signed by a cashier. If a person deposits a cashier’s check, the person’s bank must credit the account by the next day. The same holds true for postal money orders. Scammers use cashier’s checks and postal money orders because many people don’t realize they can be forged.“Everyone should really understand fake check scams in order to protect themselves,” said Tim Maniscalo, BBB Central Indiana President and CEO. “Banks credit your account before verifying the validity of checks, so it’s critical to know how to spot the red flags before it’s too late.”Fake check fraud is a huge problem, with complaints to regulatory agencies and consumer watchdog groups doubling over the last three years.Fraud employing fake checks is rapidly growing and costing billions of dollars. Fake checks were involved in 7 percent of all complaints filed with BBB’s Scam Tracker. The number of complaints received by the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Sentinel database and the Internet Fraud Complaint Center more than doubled between 2014 and 2017.Based on complaint data trends, the study suggests that there may be more than 500,000 victims of counterfeit checks in 2017. The study found the fraud affects victims of all ages and income levels, but consumers between 20-29 reported being victimized by the scam more than consumers of any other age range.One central Indiana resident lost more than $1,600 in a fake check overpayment scam. After posting his car for sale on LetGo, he was contacted by a buyer. The buyer sent two checks (each were $2,000 more than the asking price) via express mail delivery. Per instructions, the Indiana resident deposited one check, and sent $1,650 of the overpayment to the buyer in Texas via Western Union and Money Gram. His bank informed him later that the check was not valid and he would have to pay NSF fees.“The hard truth is that you are responsible for everything that is deposited into your account, said Andy Shank, Assistant Vice President Fraud Investigations Manager for Elements Financial. “If a check is returned later for any reason, it is your account that is subject to the funds being withdrawn and various fees. If you’ve already sent some of the money from the check back to the fraudsters, that money is long gone and you are responsible for the balance owed to your financial institution.”The National Consumers League, which also receives complaints from fraud victims at, found that fake checks complaints in 2017 were up 12% and was the second most common type of complaint over all, after online order issues.Nigerian gangs appear to be behind most of this fraud, often using romance fraud victims and other “money mules” to receive money from victims. Many fake checks and money orders are shipped to the U.S. from Nigeria.The report recommends:Organizations such as BBB and regulatory agencies should do more to provide fake check fraud prevention education.With wide-scale use of money mules and others to assist in frauds, it would be useful for law enforcement agencies to work collaboratively to both identify these individuals and to take action to ensure that they end these activities.Investigative agencies may need more resources to effectively prosecute fake checks and other widespread frauds.Continued law enforcement coordination and training with enforcement counterparts in Nigeria and elsewhere should remain important and should be strengthened.Banks and financial institutions might consider more collective efforts to educate their customers about fake check frauds.What to do if you have deposited a fake check into your account:Notify your bank or the bank that appears to have issued the check. •File a complaint:Better Business Bureau, or call (317) 488-2222Federal Trade Commission, 877-FTC-HelpInternet Crime Complaint CenterS. Postal Inspection Service o Western Union, 1-800-448-1492MoneyGram, 1-800-926-9400Green Dot, 1-866-795-7597Victims who are seniors or other vulnerable adults may be able to obtain help through Adult Protective Services, which has offices in every state and many counties. Find a local office here.Avoid becoming a scam victim with these tipslast_img read more

Saudi Arabia in talks to buy Newcastle United for £340m

first_imgRelatedPosts Runarsson joins Arsenal on four-year deal Ighalo: My best moment as ‘Red Devil’ Arsenal, Wolves want Michael Olise Saudi Arabia’s Sovereign Wealth Fund is in talks to buy English football club Newcastle United for about 340 million pounds (about N156.4 billion), a source familiar with the situation told Reuters. The revelation confirmed a report in the Wall Street Journal earlier on Saturday. British billionaire Mike Ashley, who made his fortune from sportswear retailer Sports Direct (renamed Frasers Group) last month, has owned Newcastle United since 2007. Saudi’s Public Investment Fund together with a group led by British financier Amanda Staveley are in discussions to buy the Premier League club. But the talks were at a delicate stage and could fall apart, a source familiar with the situation told Reuters. A spokesman for Newcastle United declined to comment on Saturday. Saudi’s Public Investment Fund was not immediately available for comment, nor were representatives for Ashley or Staveley. Newcastle United has been up for sale for a number of years. Three years ago, Staveley’s firm PCP Capital Partners made an offer for it for a reported 250 million pounds but the talks broke down. In 2019, Newcastle United was rumoured to be on the brink of being bought by Abu Dhabi billionaire Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed Al Nehayan, but that deal did not go ahead either. Ashley, who owns a controlling stake in the club, has not always been popular among fans, and thousands have been staying away from matches this season to protest at his ownership. Around a third of English football clubs are under foreign ownership. English Premier League clubs Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United are all in American hands, while Manchester City is owned by the Abu Dhabi United Group. Reuters/NAN.Tags: ArsenalManchester UnitedNewcastle UnitedSaudi Arabia Sovereign Wealth Fundlast_img read more

Three DEFY swimmers compete at Nationals

first_imgINDIANAPOLIS — Three swimmers with the Down East Family YMCA Dolphins competed in the YMCA Long Course National Championships last week.Talor Hamilton, Cooper Holmes and Hannah Wood, accompanied by coach Matt Montgomery, swam against the top YMCA swimmers from around the nation.“This was the first time that DEFY had two swimmers score at a National Championship meet,” Montgomery said. “Despite having very little experience swimming in a Long Course pool (50 meters long), the trio had a great meet.”Hamilton, Holmes and Wood combined for 13 personal best times (out of 13 swims), 11 team records and two top 16 swims.This is placeholder textThis is placeholder textA Long Course pool is more than twice the length of the Ellsworth YMCA’s 25-yard pool.Local swimmers don’t get to train in Long Course pools because there are none in Maine.Montgomery said his swimmers travelled out of state a few times during the summer to get some experience.“Swimmers from Maine are at a disadvantage competing in Long Course meets,” Montgomery said. “We are the only state without one.”Hamilton competed in the 100-yard long course (LC) butterfly, the 100-yard LC backstroke, the 50-yard LC butterfly and the 50-yard LC freestyle. He placed 58th in the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 59.86; 36th in the 50-yard butterfly with a time of 27.22; 25th in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 1:00.96; and 10th in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 24.43.Hamilton also swam a time trial 100-yard LC freestyle in 54.61. All of Hamilton’s times set new team records.Holmes competed in the 50-yard LC breaststroke, the 100-yard LC breaststroke and the 200-yard LC individual medley. He placed 13th in the 50-yard breaststroke with a time of 31.14; 30th in the 100-yard LC breaststroke with a time of 1:09.21; and 64th in the 200-yard LC individual medley with a time of 2:20.32. Both of Hamilton’s breaststroke swims were new team records.Wood competed in the 50-, 100- and 200-yard LC backstrokes. She placed 98th in the 200-yard LC backstroke with a time of 2:33.56; 79th in the 100-yard LC backstroke with a time of 1:09.48; and 53rd in the 50-yard LC backstroke with a time of 32.67. All three of Wood’s swims also were new team records.last_img read more

Ellsworth-Sumner football team wins first game in three seasons

first_imgEAST MACHIAS — After three winless seasons since the program’s revival, the Ellsworth-Sumner Memorial High School football team has won its first game.The Ellsworth-Sumner Eagles beat the Washington Academy Raiders 22-8 on Saturday on the road. The last win an EHS football team notched was in 1955.Ellsworth-Sumner coach Duane Crawford said he was at a loss for words while attempting to deliver a postgame speech.“I’m just so proud of our team,” Crawford said. “The kids have worked so hard for this.”This is placeholder textThis is placeholder textA week prior, the Eagles had lost their first game 36-12 to Orono.“If you are going to lose to Orono,” Crawford told his players before their season opener, “let them beat you. Just don’t beat yourself.”Ellsworth-Sumner football player Declan White (right) poses with Harold “Tug” White — his grandfather as well as president of the Ellsworth Football League — on Monday. The Eagles gave Tug the game ball, signed by the entire team, from their win on Saturday — the program’s first in three seasons. Coach Duane Crawford said Tug had an instrumental role in bringing football back to Ellsworth. “It seemed fitting to give it to Tug,” Crawford said. “He is someone who has always been there.” PHOTO BY ENA WHITEFor the past three years, Crawford has had to balance optimism with realistic expectations for his team, which had lost 25 straight games before Saturday.But the Eagles knew they had a chance against WA, which lost its first game 64-0 to Maine Central Institute.Crawford said his players were fired up all week leading up the game, anticipating an even matchup.“We knew we could win,” Crawford said. “We just needed to execute.”And execute they did.Offensively, Devin Wright led the team with 31 carries for 254 yards and three touchdowns. Wally Moon rounded out the scoring with two two-point conversion catches.Defensively, Tyler Hardwick led the team with five solo tackles and two passes defended. Moon had four solo tackles, a sack, a fumble recovery and one pass defended. Connor Petros recovered a fumble.The game wasn’t put away until late in the fourth quarter, when Ellsworth-Sumner was leading 14-8.“That wasn’t a comfortable lead,” Crawford said.Wright eased his coach’s worries when he punted the ball 40 yards to pin the Raiders on their 1-yard line.“That’s when it started to settle in,” Crawford said. “The kids were so excited.”Jacob Shorey sealed the deal when he intercepted a second-down pass and returned it 22 yards to the WA 1-yard line.Two attempts later, Wright ran the ball into the end zone, giving Ellsworth-Sumner a 20-8 lead. A pass from Hardwick to Moon put the final two points on the board for Ellsworth-Sumner’s 22-8 win.The usually quiet Ellsworth-Sumner sidelines cheered wildly as the final seconds ticked off the clock. Many hugs were exchanged, and Crawford received his first Gatorade shower as the Eagles’ coach.“So many emotions and so proud of the team,” Crawford posted on the team’s Facebook page the morning after the victory. “These players are the embodiment of a team. They never give up.”Ellsworth-Sumner improved its record to 1-1. WA dropped to 0-2.In other news, Mount Desert Island (2-0) beat Belfast (0-2) 24-14 on Friday, and Bucksport (0-2) lost to Mattanawcook (2-0) 30-14. Part 2: When the injury is inside your head, some “don’t get it” – July 26, 2016 Bio Latest Posts Latest posts by Taylor Vortherms (see all)center_img Part 1: Invisible, incapacitating concussions are sidelining high school athletes – July 19, 2016 EHS names new boys’ soccer coach – July 13, 2016 Taylor VorthermsSports Editor at The Ellsworth AmericanTaylor Vortherms covers sports in Hancock County. The St. Louis, Missouri native recently graduated from the Missouri School of Journalism and joined The Ellsworth American in 2013.last_img read more

CBA baseball earns top seed for Class A sectionals

first_imgOf far greater significance to Grimes was its showdown with Westhill a day later, the winner to finish second behind CBA in the OHSL Liberty American division.But Grimes struggled here, too, in a 15-5 defeat, the Warriors breaking out of a 3-3 tie with five runs in the fourth and sixth innings as Ryan Bennett went five-for-five with three RBis and three runs scored.Joe Wike took the loss, lasting five innings before Alex Williams relieved him. Matt Tarby did have two doubles and two RBIs, with Wike, Dalton Damuth and Ben Rivett driving in one run apiece.On Wednesday, CBA lost, 5-3, to Oswego, but still found out that it had the top seed for the sectional Class A tournament, where it would await a quarterfinal against Fulton or Carthage early next week.Jamesville-DeWitt broke out the bats for last Monday’s game against Rome Free Academy and bashed the Black Knights 14-6, peaking with a six-run third inning and scoring twice in four other innings, too.Though helped by six RFA errors, the Red Rams did have 12 hits, including Nick Brotzki’s home run as he and Matt Alexander both finished with three RBIs. Bailey Doust and Zach Goodson had three hits apiece, driving in single runs as RBIs also went to Nolan Giblin, Murphy Foss and Logan Wing.East Syracuse Minoa continued its late-season surge by taking out Auburn 5-1 last Monday night at the Onondaga Community College complex.They were 0-0 until the fifth inning, when the Maroons got a run, only to have the Spartans answer it and then, in the bottom of the sixth, break out for four decisive runs to aid pitcher Sean Welch, who in six innings held Auburn to four hits.Josh Gilkey doubled, tripled, singled and got two RBIs, also pitching the last inning in relief of Welch. Brendan Seburn, Colin Williams and Ben Lieb each had two hits, with Williams, Nolan Penoyer and Jacob Buell driving in one run apiece.All of these results meant that J-D would hold the no. 2 seed for the sectional Class A playoffs – and ESM would have the no. 7 seed, meaning the Red Rams and Spartans, who split two regular-season meets, clash next Tuesday in the sectional quarterfinals. Amid a 15-hit attack, Alec Jewett and Mike Schaefer each had three hits, Jewett doubling twice as he got three RBIs. Jewett drove in two runs, with Kent Wilson scoring three times as Jack Harrigan and Tommy Marzullo had one RBI apiece.A local showdown loomed on Monday, CBA trying to halt Bishop Grimes’ seven-game win streak. But the Cobras had more important games ahead of them, so it rested its top pitchers and the Brothers prevailed 16-1.The game broke open when CBA struck for seven runs in the top of the second, capped by Kodi Dotterer’s two-run home run. Mostly, though, the Brothers relied on singles and doubles to amass eight more runs in the next five innings to bring about the mercy rule. Share this:FacebookTwitterLinkedInRedditComment on this Story Well planted in the state Class A top 10, the Christian Brothers Academy baseball team has designs on a Section III title, especially given the way things went on the last weekend of the regular season.An impressive 4-1 win at Class AA power Liverpool on May 18 was followed, a day later, by the Brothers going to Solvay and blanking the Bearcats 12-0.Cade Bacon pitched four innings, combining with relievers Joey Marsallo and Anthony Marsallo to limit Solvay to six hits while, at the plate, CBA used five-run rallies in the third and sixth innings to get away. Tags: BaseballCBAESMJ-Dlast_img read more