FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Brian Maffly for the Salt Lake Tribune:The Utah Legislature last week approved a $53 million investment in an Oakland, Calif., export terminal, but the state’s coal-shipping aspirations may still be just a dream.So far, Utah is the only entity that may pledge money toward building a $275 million bulk-freight terminal at the deep-water port under construction at the site of the former Oakland Army Base.But Utah wouldn’t pay up until $200 million in private financing is secured — and the identity of those investors and the status of their contributions is unknown.Another hurdle: Utah’s money wouldn’t be released until the four rural Utah counties borrowing it for the investment have a plan to pay it back if the terminal can’t move coal profitably. No plan has been offered.Then there’s opposition to overcome in California — the hoped-for source of more taxpayer money and construction permits.Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, is asking her state’s transportation officials to withhold further public funding from the larger, $1.2 billion project of converting the military base into a port until questions about the coal-exporting terminal are resolved.The coal-producing Utah counties of Carbon, Sevier, Sanpete and Emery initially secured a loan from Utah’s Permanent Community Impact Fund to invest $50 million in the proposed terminal, in exchange for 49 percent of its 9.5-million-metric-ton loading capacity.However, the Utah Attorney General’s Office apparently declined to sign off on the loan, necessitating last week’s passage of SB246 as a legal workaround.Normally, money from the fund — derived from federal mineral royalties — is spent on civic projects in the counties where mining and drilling occur. But in recent years, county commissioners who run the Community Impact Board (CIB) have become interested in funding grander projects that would deliver commodities to market.SB246, which Gov. Gary Herbert is expected to sign, circumvented limits on how counties may spend revenues from the fund. It cycles community impact revenue — critics call it “laundering” — through the state Transportation Fund and back to the CIB in a new pool of money known as the “Throughput Infrastructure Fund,” which also can be tapped to build transmission lines, pipelines and rail.When the CIB first approved the loan in April 2015, it included an additional $3 million to cover administrative costs — such as paying consultants like Jeff Holt, a former Utah Transportation Commission chairman who brokered the deal between the counties and the CIB.The CIB’s approval was premised on Holt’s claim that the $200 million in private financing needed to build the Oakland Bulk and Oversized Terminal would be secured by June 2015.“This benchmark has been missed. That means the only player in this transaction with an open checkbook and a deep pocket is the state of Utah,” said critic Tom Sanzillo, director of finance for the Institute of Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.Full Article: Utah’s coal-export deal still faces high hurdlesRelated articles:Let Them Eat CoalCoal port fund swap ignored usual premium charged by state Many Barriers to Utah Coal-Export Scheme
Saudi project may set the mark for lowest wind power price—1.99 U.S. cents per kWh FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renew Economy:Saudi Arabia’s 400MW Dumat Al Jandal onshore wind farm has announced what it says is a world record-low onshore wind levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) of 1.99 US cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh).The Dumat Al Jandal onshore wind farm – set to be located more than 800 kms north of Riyadh in the Al Jouf region of north-western Saudi Arabia – will be the country’s first wind project and the largest in the Middle East.The developing consortium – led by French renewable energy group EDF Renewables and renewable energy developer Masdar, a subsidiary of Mubadala Development Company – was awarded the project in January at an already-impressive low price of 2.1 cents/kWh, a record for the Middle East and North Africa region.It was not until late-July, however, that the developing-consortium completed the financing for the project and announced financial close, during which time the project had made a 6.5% improvement on LCoE, bringing it down from 2.13 US cents/kWh to what the developers are now describing as a world-record 1.99 cents/kWh.“We are delighted to take part in the first wind project in the country, which is set to be the most powerful wind farm in the Middle East,” said Bruno Bensasson, EDF Group Senior Executive President responsible for Renewable Energies, and Chairman and CEO of EDF Renewables. “This new project demonstrates our ambitions in the country and represents another step forward under the EDF Group’s Cap 2030 strategy, which aims to double its renewable energy capacity by 2030 – both in France and worldwide – to 50 GW.”Construction of the project is expected to begin shortly, with commercial operations due for start in the first quarter of 2022. Vestas Wind Systems A/S has already been contracted as the project’s wind turbine technology provider and will be responsible for engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC). TSK will be responsible for the balance of plant (BOP), while CG Holdings will provide the substations and high-voltage solutions.More: Saudi Arabia wind farm claims world record low energy cost
Before I even have my harness doubled back around my waist, I’m bitching about some petty problem I’m having with my house—something like not being able to find the right paint color for my kitchen. “Lowe’s said they could match the color but what they came up with is not Robin’s Egg. It’s like Cerulean Blue,” I say.Joe Moerschbacher, scruffy and kind of weathered with a big Pura Vida sticker slapped to the front of his helmet, looks my harness over and says, “Well, the good news is you won’t worry about that at all when you’re hypothermic later today.”We’re in the Graveyard Fields parking lot, off the Blue Ridge Parkway, gearing up to fish a remote section of Yellowstone Prong. Okay, “fishing” is a bit of an understatement. We’re carrying ultra light tenkara fly rods—a traditional Japanese style of fly rod that telescopes into itself and has no reel, just a fixed line—and wearing full canyoneering gear. The only way to access some of the pools we want to fish is by rappelling waterfalls. It’s the first time I’ve ever had to wear a helmet and a harness to fish.My buddy Dusty and I have been dreaming about this trip for the better part of a year. We’ve both been mildly obsessed with tenkara since Tenkara USA started infiltrating East Coast fly shops a few years ago. Imagine Western style fly fishing, but strip away all of the hassle and most of the expense. That’s tenkara. Your gear is reduced to just a rod and line (goodbye reel, goodbye fancy vest with a thousand pockets filled with widgets), and some purists, like Tenkara USA founder Daniel Galhardo, only use one fly pattern. Focusing on just one fly eliminates a lot of the learning curve associated with Western trout fishing. You no longer have to be an entomologist with intimate knowledge of local hatch patterns. The cast is even stripped down—forget that big, dramatic casting motion from A River Runs Through It. Tenkara requires just a curt wave of the wrist.It is single speed mountain biking. Free solo rock climbing. Running barefoot. Swimming naked in a lake. Tenkara is simplicity.And thanks to the streamlined gear and telescoping rods, tenkara also pairs well with other adventures. You can throw your tiny tenkara rod in your backpack and never notice the weight on mountain bike trips and backpacking excursions. Or canyoneering adventures.There’s a video that Galhardo made of one of his trips to Japan that shows anglers swimming through pools, hopping from boulder to boulder and climbing waterfalls with full climbing gear. The tight river gorges in the video look exactly like the streams we have here in the Southern Appalachians. The style of canyoneering (they call it “shower climbing”) looks exactly like the kind of canyoneering trips I’d done with Joe Moerschbacher and Pura Vida Adventures. Dusty and I watched the Japanese video and had a light bulb moment.Why not do a canyoneering/tenkara trip here in Pisgah National Forest?When Moerschbacher heard what we were planning, he offered to guide us through a couple of canyons he wants to start running trips on. When Galhardo heard what we were planning, he asked to tag along. Turns out, he’d been looking for rivers in the U.S. where he could have the same shower climbing/tenkara experience he had in Japan.Four months later, there are five of us gearing up for what might be the first canyoneering/tenkara trip in the U.S.—Galhardo, Dusty and myself, Moerschbacher and his canyoneering partner Clay. I like to think of our group as a bit like The A Team, where everybody has his own area of expertise. Moerschbacher and Clay have the canyoneering chops and designed the trip logistics. Galhardo is the trip fishing guru, and Dusty and I have flasks of whiskey.Tombstone Blues Canyon From the parking lot, we hike past families in flip-flops who look at us in our wetsuits and gear like we’re aliens. We ditch the trail quickly and get ankle deep in the Yellowstone Prong just before the gorge gets really steep. Moerschbacher has dubbed the walled out, inaccessible portion of the river “Tombstone Blues Canyon.” I like it. It’s foreboding.We start with a small rappel on the side of a cascade that drops us to a ledge in the middle of the two-tiered waterfall. One by one, we lean into the second rappel, a big vertical drop over the 75-foot falls. The ropes and gear are wet, so the rappel is slow and methodical, giving me a chance to look over my shoulder and take in the site below. At the base of the falls, the river is like a hollowed out bowl of gray rock, thick with lime green moss. On either side of the water are walls of rhododendron that climb almost vertically to the horizon. Galhardo already has his rod out and is fishing a pool hemmed by cartoonishly big boulders before my feet touch the ground.The water is emerald green because of all of the moss. After the two rappels, it’s full-contact boulder hopping interspersed with short bursts of fishing. I don’t even notice the rain once we get moving, and the wetsuits do a good job of tempering the cold water as we have to wade certain pools between boulder hops.Galhardo is in the lead, moving swiftly from one boulder to the next, then extending his tenkara rod and setting up his line in a matter of seconds to fish small, clear pools. He casts a handful of times, then moves on to the next patch of boulders and the next pool downstream.“With small pools like this, I won’t cast more than five times, then I move on,” he tells me when we take a whiskey break.It’s a schizophrenic, almost ADHD style of fishing that I’ve been looking for my whole life. I don’t have the attention span for the traditional approach to fly fishing, where you can spend half an hour fishing a single pool, walk 10 feet, then spend a half an hour fishing another pool. It’s slow, patient work.As far as fly fishing gurus go, Galhardo is pretty young, just over 30. He’s from Brazil, and grew up surfing but fell in love with fishing as a teenager before moving to the U.S. when he was 17 to finish high school. He still surfs, goes on extensive rock climbing trips, fishes a ridiculous amount according to his Facebook feed and geeks out on foraging for mushrooms. Patagonia recently introduced a tenkara rod, partnering with TFO — but Galhardo is the man who introduced the style of fishing to the United States, working with Japanese tenkara masters to design and build a line of rods.He loves blending tenkara with other sports and was originally attracted to the style of fly fishing because of its portability and backpacking potential. Whenever he travels to Japan, he makes time for a “shower climbing” trip. “I love this kind of stream,” Galhardo says. “There’s no other way to fish this stream except to be inside the canyon. This is exactly what I’ve been looking for.”Moerschbacher smiles. “If you like this canyon, you’re going to love what we have planned for tomorrow.”Turn Left At The Grow Field After we cross the border into Shining Rock Wilderness, Clay tells us about how he and Moerschbacher were bushwhacking to one of the lesser known creeks in the area and found an old, abandoned marijuana grow field deep in the backcountry. Legend has it, there’s also a train still tucked into these woods somewhere, left on an old track after the loggers split and the timber companies sold the land to the federal government.Day two has us descending and fishing Grassy Canyon, a skinny blue line on the Pisgah Ranger District map that looks like it jumps off the topo contour lines on its way to meet the East Fork Pigeon River. Before bushwhacking to the top of the canyon, Galhardo gives Moerschbacher some quick tenkara lessons on the bigger water of the East Fork.Moerschbacher says he doesn’t have the patience for fishing. Standing around waiting for a fish to bite isn’t his style. He’s a former professional adventure racer turned full time adventure guide, who spends most of his days leading clients deep into Pisgah’s rugged corners for mountain biking, canyoneering and backpacking trips. He’s 33, carries around the book, Everything I Know About Business, I Learned from the Grateful Dead, and is fond of PBR Tallboys.Galhardo shows Moerschbacher a simple casting motion, then guides him on how to place the fly on the eddy line, where the calm water meets the fast water. That’s where a fish’s food is. Not 10 minutes later, Moerschbacher pulls in his first fish, a small brook trout with pink and yellow spots. It’s almost as big as the smile on Moerschbacher’s face.The first step into Grassy Canyon is a 120-foot waterfall that bends like an “S.” It’s a mandatory, two-tier rappel from top to bottom. The second leg of the rappel puts you in the thick of the waterfall before dumping you into a mandatory swim. Grassy is far more technical than Tombstone Blues Canyon, with a number of rappels, mandatory swims, and some fun (read: sketchy) canyoneering-specific moves. There are at least two natural water slides, a couple of boulder jumps, and exactly one death-defying “sling swing.”This happens at the top of a waterfall that slopes gently at first, before dropping 15 vertical feet into the rocks below. There’s no way to anchor a proper rappel, so Moerschbacher wedges a sling beneath a boulder and extends about six feet of leash. What we have to do is scurry down the edge of the waterfall, grab the leash, then let the water take our bodies around the boulder where we can land on a ledge on the edge of the waterfall before it drops over the edge. If something goes wrong, you’d probably only fall 10 feet or so before you hit something hard. It’s not exactly certain death. More like, “certain manglement.” Or at the very least, “certain sprained ankle.” But there’s no way of knowing any of this because from the top of the falls, we can’t see below the boulder. You have to make a leap of faith, letting the current take you while hoping you can hang onto the leash. It’s easily the coolest thing I’ve done all year.Between harrowing acrobatic feats, we fish surprisingly large pools and I stop keeping count of the number of fish Galhardo catches. It’s a more physically demanding experience than yesterday’s canyon, but it’s far more rewarding. We’re so high up in this remote, boulder-choked gorge, that I doubt many people have ever fished these pools before.This is exactly the experience that Galhardo was looking for, saying the river gorges offer the same type of shower climbing he’s found in Japan.“Canyoneering and tenkara is an interesting mix,” Galhardo says. “Canyoneering is about focus. Like rock climbing, it’s about problem solving. Where’s your next move? The next rock? You get into a zone and your world shrinks to a three-foot radius—your current move and your next move. The rest of the world disappears. Fishing is the exact opposite. With fishing, you have to be hyper aware of everything around you. The brush behind you, the trees above you, the water below you…A fisherman needs to know how he fits into all of that.”We stop in the middle of the river, standing on two large boulders as the water tumbles away behind us. We’ve been moving through the cold water so quickly, sliding and jumping and swimming, that I haven’t bothered to take it all in. Galhardo pulls out his rod and points upstream. From our boulders, we can see how the last three cascades we’ve rappelled and slid down come together to form a solid 200-foot high wall of water.“When you blend fishing with canyoneering,” Galhardo adds, “you’re forced to stop and take in your surroundings, which are absolutely stunning.”
Lots of folks in the outdoor industry world seem to be talking about overlanding these days, but what exactly is this emerging form of outdoor recreation? Overlanding is a way to describe exploring by your own self-contained means, usually by vehicle (often with four-wheel-drive capability) or adventure motorcycle. It’s long been a traditional way to describe safaris in Africa or exploring in Australia. Brits head “overland” to Africa and Asia and across the Continent.The term is used to differentiate the activity from other four-wheel-drive activities such as rock-crawling or rallying. For overlanders, the journey is as important as the destination or the activities particpants do when they get to our destination, whether that be hiking, nature watching, kayaking, or mountain biking. When it comes to camping, overlanders enjoy innovations such as roof-top tents, 12-volt fridges, and high-quality awnings, as well as ground tents, kitchen kits, and equipment like compressors, winches, and other recovery gear.The Overland Expo is a unique event designed to introduce consumers to all the innovative equipment for camping and vehicles, and to introduce travel enthusiasts to the pleasures of exploring the world by your own self-contained means, whether it’s an old van or a new Land Cruiser or Sportsmobile or BMW motorcycle.Through social events, programs, classes, and exhibitors, the Overland Expo is the largest and most unique event combining adventure travel, vehicles, and motorcycles with education & commerce.You can learn more about Overlanding by attending the Overland Expo East this coming October 7-9 at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC. A full-tuition package, includes access to specialized classes, the vendor/exhibitor area, all demos, slideshows, and films, along with happy hour drinks Friday and Saturday, a BBQ celebration Sunday, camping and special attendee bag and offers. Weekend and one day pass holders will enjoy general admission to the expo. These people will be able to check out the vendors/exhibitors, all demos, slideshows, films, roundtables, and are welcome to join happy hours. Learn more here.Related:
Yesterday, the East Coast distribution hub of the Sierra Nevada Brewery in Mills River, North Carolina announced a recall of certain bottled beers that may be susceptible to a manufacturing defect that could lead to customers potentially ingesting broken shards of glass.According to the company, “the flaw may result in loss of carbonation and a small piece of glass to break off and possibly fall into the bottle, causing a risk for injury.”The recall stretches to 36 different states in the Southeast, on the East Coast, and throughout the Midwest, and includes the brewery’s flagship Pale Ale along with its popular Torpedo IPA, the Otra Vez and several others.The affected state are: AL, AR, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, VA, VT, WI and WV.“While we believe this concern impacts roughly 1 in every 10,000 (0.01%) of our bottles packaged during this time, Sierra Nevada has set the standard for quality in the craft brewing industry since 1980 and we have decided to take this precaution to ensure the safety of our consumers,” the company announced on its website.The affected beer has a package date that falls between Dec. 5,2016, and Jan. 13, 2017 and a brewery code of “M” – which stands of Mills River – printed directly on bottles and the packaging of cardboard cases. Reference the list below to find out about every beer that was included in the recall. Related:
The fitness world is full of ever-emerging trends—so much so, that it can be difficult to distinguish between those workout regimens that are genuinely beneficial for health and longevity and those that are simply fads waiting to die out.During the month of June, we here at BlueRidgeOutdoors.com are taking some of the guesswork out of choosing the next best workout program by sending BRO team members and fitness corespondents out into the wild to test the latest and greatest programs that the fitness industry has to offer.Along the way, we will be analyzing everything from High Intensity Interval Training-based workouts to studio cycling classes that incorporate body weight exercises and elements of CrossFit. We want to know which of the newest fitness trends align best with outdoor-oriented adventurers like you and to figure out how they can make your performance in the great outdoors even better.OrangeTheory is designed to keep heart rates in a target zone that spikes metabolism and increases energy.Account Executive Martha Evans will be putting her body on the line all month at Asheville’s OrangeTheory Fitness, where she will engage in a heart-rate monitored, high-intensity workout that the company claims “is scientifically designed to keep heart rates in a target zone that spikes metabolism and increases energy.” Stay tuned for updates on Martha’s journey through the OrangeTheory Fitness program.Digital Editor Travis Hall will be testing his cycling chops at CycleBar in his hometown of Greenville, South Carolina. Travis hopes that sticking to these team-oriented, 50 minute spin classes at least three days a week will improve his performance on local single-track trails.Digital Publisher Dusty Allison is taking on a unique challenge at an Asheville-based gym called Well.Fit Asheville—an indoor group cycling studio that allows members to couple cycling with the benefits of a Navy SEAL-developed body weight training technique called TRX.We will also be sending fitness correspondents to MADabolic, where the name of the game is developing peak athletic performance through the use of intense exercises that utilize natural human movements, and Hard Exercise Works, which starts with a 5-day-a-week, 5-week boot camp program.All the while, our staff members and fitness corespondents will be providing updates on their progress in their respective courses, letting readers know whether or not they are reaching their personal fitness goals, and pointing out ways in which these regimens are beneficial or non-beneficial to the outdoor-oriented lifestyle.Stay tuned for more updates, and let us know about your favorite workout regimens in the comment thread below!
By Dialogo February 04, 2011 Chilean Defense Minister Andrés Allemand has designated Army Maj. Gen. Hernán Mardones as the new head of the Joint General Staff. Mardones replaces Maj. Gen. Cristián Le Dantec, who resigned on 17 January. Mardones has had a long career in the Army, which he entered as a cadet, graduating as an infantry second lieutenant in 1974. In 1987 and 1988 he worked in the Office of the Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Army, and in 1991, after graduating from the War College (Academia de Guerra), he served as academic secretary of the Infantry School and assistant to the deputy commander-in-chief of the Army. In 2006 he was promoted to the rank of brigadier general and took up the post of director of Army Management and Development, and he subsequently served as commander of the Army Doctrine Division. In 2008 and 2009 he held the post of the institution’s director of Operations, following which he was promoted to the rank of major general in order to occupy the post of commander of Land Operations, in which he has been serving until now. In the academic arena, Mardones obtained a diploma in Institutional Management in Education from the Catholic University of Chile and a master’s degree in Military Sciences, Planning, and Strategic Management from the Army War College.
In a partnership with the Ministry of Social Development, to support its program Brasil Sem Miséria, SIPAM will install 166 antennas for satellite communication that will bring internet services to remote Amazon municipalities in the states of Acre, Pará, Amapá, Maranhão, Mato Grosso, Roraima and Amazonas. With this equipment, the municipal officials will register impoverished families in the Federal Government Register for Social Programs. “It is SIPAM’s technological infrastructure contributing to broaden the access to government programs in the region,” Guedes said. SIPAM is working with the Army, Navy and the Geological Service of Brazil in the effort to develop the region’s cartography. This has a 350 million-reai project to develop topographic, nautical and geological charts of the so-called Amazonian “cartographic vacuum.” SIPAM ventures into telemedicine Protecting the Amazonia isn’t just about saving the trees. It also includes taking care of its people and connecting them to the world. That’s why SIPAM is venturing into telemedicine with its announcement last October of a cooperative agreement with the Federal University of the Amazonas (UFAM), the Francisca Mendes University Hospital (HUFM) and the State Secretariat of Health (SUSAM). Telemedicine is the use of electronic communications to exchange medical information to improve patient care, diagnosis and treatment. In remote locations of Brazil, specialty care, second opinions and extended care are near-luxuries. Among other things, SIPAM will install satellite antennas for teleconsultation uses in the municipalities of Coari, Humaitá, Itacoatiara and Benjamin Constant. “This partnership with SIPAM, besides allowing teleconsultations, will help us with distance learning,” said Pedro Elias de Souza, general director of Francisca Mendes Hospital. “We already have 12 study topics, along with cardiology lessons which will be possible to do.” Amazonas is the first Brazilian state to integrate all of its municipalities to the State Telehealth Program, which allows tests and specialist consultations via satellite. Local general-practice doctors perform their procedures, and then share the data, sounds and images in real time with teams of specialists in Manaus, as well as with other doctors who can respond to emergency calls anytime via smartphone. The VSAT antennas that SIPAM uses are easily transportable and double up in support of many of its partners’ projects. Seven satellite communications antennas support the operations of the army’s 17th Jungle Infantry Brigade as well as the Regional Electoral Court in the remote states of Rondônia and Acre. “Promoting access to communications in the Amazonian region is one of the premises of SIPAM,” said José Neumar da Silveira, manager of the SIPAM Regional Center in Porto Velho. “That’s why we are always willing to help our partners in operations or in their permanent bases.” Another SIPAM project aims to complete biometric registration of voters in Porto Velho, sending fingerprints and documents via Internet in areas where there would be no other access to the network. This is crucial, since people who aren’t registered won’t be able to vote in the 2012 municipal elections. SIPAM’s equipment is also used by the 17th Brigade in Operation Curare III, which began in September and seeks to intensify surveillance in the states of Rondônia and Acre, which border Bolivia and Peru. I congratulate Brazil on such an important initiative, which will bring comprehensive benefits to the region under protection. It truly is the biggest of the continental countries. A worthy example to follow. What does SIPAM has to say about the dozens of NGOs established in the Amazon, and how do North-Americans see the Amazon. Finally, because the word Amazon is COOL! By Dialogo November 21, 2011 The Amazon Protection System (SIPAM) is now part of the structure of the Defense Ministry — a strong indication that Brazil regards the defense of its vast rainforest region as a matter of national security. Defense Minister Celso Amorin visited SIPAM’s operational center in Brasília to get acquainted first-hand with the many projects of the technological park in October. Ari Matos, the head of institutional coordination and organization, and his special adviser, José Genoino, accompanied Amorin on his tour. SIPAM works in coordination with states and municipalities that have a hand in policies in the region known as Legal Amazonia. Its partners also include the Armed Forces and the Federal Police, said Rogério Guedes, SIPAM’s general director. The Legal Amazonia, an administrative division established by the Brazilian government to better promote the region’s development, covers the states of Acre, Amapá, Amazonas, Mato Grosso, Pará, Rondônia, Roraima and Tocantins, as well as all of Maranhão state west of the 44th parallel. This vast yet sparsely populated region is home to about 21 million residents. Its population density is only 3.67 inhabitants per square kilometer, yet it has the fastest population growth in Brazil. SIPAM is part of several policy forums, such as the Brazilian Council of Intelligence, the National Commission of Cartography and the National Committee of Operation Arco Verde, said Guedes. The objective of Arco Verde — led by the Western Military Command and based in the city of Sinop — was to fight deforestation and other illegal environmental activity in northern Mato Grosso state. Launched by the federal government, it involved the ministries of defense, justice and environment. The Ministry of Environment has since reported deforestation in Mato Grosso dropped by 74 percent between 2004 and 2010. SIPAM at work Among SIPAM’s specialties are deforestation, radiation detection and meteorology. With local logistical support, it also applies geoprocessing and remote sensoring techniques to be able to define the effects of human activity as well as mitigation measures put in place. SIPAM has significantly modernized the technological park. Among other things, it has bought a high-resolution camera, the ADS80, which generates continuous digital images during flight. This type of camera produces images with a resolution of up to five centimeters of terrain, with a higher quality than satellite images generated by commercial orbital sensors currently on the market. Guedes said the ADS80 will serve aerial remote sensoring mission monitoring by partner entities. SIPAM has also partnered with the Ministry of Environment on the Bolsa Verde project, which offers financial incentives to small farmers and rural producers who take measures to preserve the environment. “We will monitor remotely, with radars or satellites, to ensure that families who benefit from the program are living up to their commitment and not contributing to deforestation,” Guedes explained during Amorin’s visit. The technique is used by the Terra Legal Program. SIPAM has been monitoring areas aided by this program, in which owners have specific targets for the conservation of green areas.
BOGOTÁ — The Colombian military must counter the symbols and rhetoric employed by Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels, specialists in psychological warfare and local politics told a group of officers at a four-day seminar in Bogotá. Ronald P. Archer, special advisor to USSOCOM (Special Operations Command) said that the FARC — Colombia’s most violent terrorist group — still has “significant power despite being defeated militarily.” Speaking Oct. 2 at Bogotá’s Club Militar, he said the FARC now focuses its ideological activities on recruitment, indoctrinating combatants, directing propaganda at civilians in conflict zones and feeding lies to Colombians and people overseas. “The Armed Forces needs to take the initiative in improving civilian-military relations and this will in turn combat the FARC’s claims that the state has abandoned their territory.” Archer told his audience. “The FARC’s propaganda must be studied in its minutiae to improve our understanding of the insurgent’s narrative.” Consistent messages work best Archer said the Colombian military’s narrative must be consistent — and that it must focus on cultural, religious and civic values shared by most of Colombia’s 46 million inhabitants. He pointed out that even though the family is the moral compass that guides Colombian culture and offers security, “the FARC rejects the idea of a traditional family and replaces it with a revolutionary identity.” Archer said that the terrorist group’s romanticized, revolutionary propaganda reaches universities — which are ideal recruiting grounds for new FARC combatants — yet is outdated and far removed from the realities on the ground. “The FARC realized very quickly in the 1980s that they had to get their message out there and directed their efforts to an international audience,” said Henry Cancelado, a political scientist at Bogotá’s Universidad Nacional. “The FARC’s reliance on actual foot-soldier activity is minimal alongside their management of the media and their political marketing — for example, publishing videos on YouTube. They truly believe and know that the more public they make their cause, the better and the further their message will reach.” Using social media wisely These days, said Cancelado, Colombia’s Armed Forces are up to speed on Facebook and Twitter, and in creating a counter-narrative to FARC propaganda. “If the FARC lose the support of their followers and active members, it does not matter how much money or how many bullets they possess. They are going to lose.” Salúd Hernández, a correspondent for Colombia’s El Tiempo and Spain’s El Mundo newspapers, suggested that the practice of using radio stations to call upon guerrillas to demobilize and turn themselves in be ended. She said it was well-known that guerrillas do not listen to those particular radio stations, and that those who do are subsequently punished by their superiors. Added Cancelado: “We should be affecting and damaging their support networks and image overseas. The struggle must be won with social support and showing up their moral corruption.” Archer noted that the FARC’s key support “comes from the regions of Colombia that have been subjected to years of guerrilla indoctrination.” And while those ideologies “may be leading the guerrilla group down an antiquated path,” he said that populations living in those regions need to see real change and promises fulfilled in order for the government to win their hearts and minds. The struggle for political power in the brother People of Colombia, between the incumbent Governments and the FARC guerrilla movement must be staged at the peace table. And the dialogue of the two parties should be free of hatred, the feeling of pain which generate wars, and of the pain and ardor of revenge. Leaving these and others negatives elements behind can help them achieve a good dialogue and a happy outcome for the homeland of Colombia, and everything because of Colombians, from Colombians and for Colombians. From Puerto Rico, we wish the best to our brother country. What a poor memory Colombians have. The Farc initially was the armed arm of the extreme left. At present, its previous philosophy of struggle for social claims disappeared as the Soviet Union is gone and it was changed for a lucrative business of death, based on the drug trade, kidnappings, extortion, robberies, etc. To begin to negotiate with bandits is difficult, because their business is so lucrative that it is also supported by hidden forces, they will never deliver it. This is shown in the history. LetÂ´s continue struggling and praying to our HEAVENLY FATHER to change their hearts is our exit. The vast majority was shocked by the war of bullets and don’t see other wars, for example, the life blood that is lost in hospitals by State corruption, the malnutrition of millions of Colombians that is reflected in their ravenous faces, the indignity of extreme opulence of very few “Christians”, opposite masses in misery of cramped capitals. IsnÂ´t that a war, you myopic people. they think they are so special with their army, and they haven’t even been able to handle a little group of rebels freedom for all those who are kidnapped. Innocent people… It doesn’t do any good to keep up a fight that causes so much pain and property damage, and that is frowned upon by the world. It is much better to implement government agreements for employment with fair remuneration, education and health for all combatants. This will truly bring peace, progress and a bright future for this great Colombian country. Foreign investment, industry and tourism will grow exponentially; consequently, the average Colombian will raise his standard of living like he never dreamed before. There will be no need to go to other countries, since Colombia will have everything readily available. Greetings. Wars helped reduce population, which in my opinion is the cause for the misery in Colombia and in many parts of the world. Today you don’t see that, a lot of technology and complex weapons are being deployed and very little results (deaths). The world population has to be decreased because in a few years we won’t even have water for our grandchildren, and there will certainly be wars. It is urgent to find ways to achieve this reduction, it is urgent to intensify the war, that way it will be over soon. As long as there is corruption, injustice, impunity, inequality, privileges and lack of opportunities, it will be very difficult to achieve real and long-lasting peace. The description for guerrilla is different: the dictionary says: the person who kills, sets fire, steals, kidnaps, etc. is a bandit. From now on they will be called BANDITS. Furthermore, 80% of the 40 millions residents, every time they commit arbitrary acts, the bandits will be left without mothers. GENTLEMEN JOURNALISTS, LEADERS AND SERVERS OF THE THREE BRANCHES OF GOVERNMENT: COULD IT BE THAT THESE ARMED GROUPS, SUBVERSIVE, PARAMILITARY OR OF ANY OTHER COMBATIVE DENOMINATION AGAINST THE ESTABLISHMENT, ORIGINATE BECAUSE OF THE INJUSTICE COMMITTED AGAINST DEFENSELESS, SIMPLE CITIZENS, BECAUSE OF THE GREED TO OBTAIN WEALTH, NO MATTER HOW, AT THE EXPENSE OF THOSE COMPATRIOTS IN POSITION OF INFERIORITY OR VULNERABILITY? TO SHOW AN EXAMPLE OF THIS SOCIAL INEQUALITY, REFER TO THE NEWS AIRED BY NOTICIAS UNO ON SATURDAY FEBRUARY 9 OF THIS YEAR, DURING ITS BROADCAST AT NINE O’CLOCK AT NIGHT, HEADLINING THE DISPUTE ON THE REPEATED FRAUD COMMITTED AGAINST THE COLOMBIAN SOCIAL SECURITY, BY THE OCCUPATIONAL RISKS INSURANCE COMPANY POSITIVA S. A. AND THE AUTHORITIES AREN’T TAKING ANY ACTION! IMMUNITY?… CARTE BLANCHE? (“Z”)… IMPUNITY?… WHAT SECRET INTERESTS, OBSCURE AGREEMENTS OR PERMANENT BENEFITS HOLDS THE POLITICAL CLASS IN ORDER TO BE PERMISSIVE WITH THESE CORRUPT BEHAVIORS THAT COMPROMISE THE SUPREME EXECUTIVE POWER, MINISTERS OF CORRESPONDING DEPARTMENTS WITH THEIR CONTROL AND MONITORING BODIES; OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE NATION, OFFICE OF THE COMPTROLLER AND AUDITOR GENERAL OF THE REPUBLIC; HOUSE AND SENATE AS LEGISLATIVE POWER WITH THEIR POLITICAL CONTROL AND THE OTHER POWER THAT SADLY HAS BECOME TRIVIAL, THE WAY [“IN”]JUSTICE HAS. COMMENT OF MARINO VEEDOR, FIGHTING FOR THE PEACE AND EQUALITY OF THE COLOMBIANS, VICTIMS OF THE TYRANNY OF THE DISASTROUS CORRUPTION THAT IS DESTROYING OUR BELOVED COUNTRY, WHERE WE CAN ASK OURSELVES, MALICIOUSLY, AND WHERE IS THE MANAGER WE CHOSE FOR THIS COMPANY? for many years the separation between the state established legitimately and the groups outside the law has increased, because of capitalist inequality of services, education, health, paved access ways so that the one who grows food has the ability to take his products to the city; on top of all this we have to create a system so that the farmer is not robbed by intermediates, a farmer comes with a bag of bananas and the inter pays for it as they wish, there is no one to put a price on those products, that’s why they stop growing legal crops and they start growing the illegal kind, because the illegal is bought in bulk and they don’t have to carry and beg in order to be able to sell what they have produced. The day the government protects its farmers, things will change. the struggle for political power between the governments in the sister-country Colombia is not doing any good. The dialogue between the two parties should be free of hatred, of the feeling of pain caused by wars, and of the pain and ardor of revenge. What is happening with the Colombian people and our governors, any illiterate person with delusions of dictatorship comes around and takes away from us half of the Caribbean Sea, and nevertheless we go on as if nothing happened, our indolence and that of our ruling class have caused that, for several decades, our neighbors have been trying to take advantage of our natural resources under the accommodating watch of our governments, who only think about profiting during their time at power for their own stingy interests. I think and respectfully suggest that our army and our police must initiate projects, provide education, attend issues on primary health in all those small towns where the State has not arrived yet, with all that it takes farmers to avoid being bought by the outlawed groups. The army and the police should have two groups in parallel, one to maintain military and police presence and another to provide State presence by offering services like the ones described above. This way we will be restoring the confidence that peasants of Colombia have lost. In a prestigious newspaper form Tolima, I read the statements of a great man who was an attorney of the nation, and who states the actual truth on how all the bad things are not just the FARC and he’s right. Everyone in the country blames them for everything because the state is behind them, but they neglect or go along with what’s most damaging for the country, and that’s the fucking administrative corruption where a company steals billions and if they get caught, these criminals who steal our taxes are treated delicately and with benevolence, and are locked up in cells where they have all their toys, and if they are retired, they continue to receive their juicy pensions. This has to change and surely Colombians will live better in the future. How can I believe this lady Salud Hernandez, correspondent of the newspaper El Tiempo. I think it’s disrespectful to write these publications, according to her the army radio stations don’t fulfill their purpose as subversive people do not listen to them, because according to this lady, the guerrilla men are punished for listening to these stations. But I suggest she do more research on this topic because this issue goes beyond listening or not to the army radio stations, because in the course of these months and years the demobilization of these illegal armed groups has increased due to direct and indirect matters regarding radio broadcasting of the messages; as the demobilized guerrilla men themselves say, they have been listening secretly to these stations, and messages are given through relatives of these subversive people, informing them on the plans and benefits provided by the government regarding the demobilization. With this I’d like to tell this lady that this is only one part of what is done with the radio broadcasting and that I think it’s strange that this educated and experienced lady doesn’t study the topics before writing or speaking. I KEEP THINKING THAT IF COLOMBIA SHARES THIS CAKE, WE WILL REACH PEACE MORE OR LESS, OTHERWISE WE WILL CONTINUE PROMOTING WAR. By Dialogo October 08, 2012
Motorbikes remain criminals’ vehicle of choice Acero said Medellín’s pilot law doesn’t represent the first time that authorities have tried to restrict passengers on motorcycles. Bans on having any passengers have been used occasionally in Medellín and other Colombian cities during threats to public order, including riots or incursions by armed groups. “What is new in Medellín,” he said, “is to solely prohibit male passengers and leave female passengers. That is unique.” Motorcycle killings are now ubiquitous throughout Latin America. In Honduras, which has the world’s highest murder rate, Congress in 2011 banned all motorcycle passengers. “As the crime of narcotrafficking has moved to other countries,” Acero said, “of course the governments also adopt methods of control that have served in other countries.” In the last decade, homicides in Medellín have plummeted, but motorcycles still figure heavily in them, and other crimes. Bands of criminals known as combos vie for small territories where they can sell drugs, extort businesses and rob citizens. Their main method of transport, León said, is the motorcycle. “The motorcycle has become the tool of their trade, León said. “In a way, this stigmatizes everyone with a motorcycle.” To limit the impact on citizens, the pilot law was put in effect only during December and January, two months when schools and universities are closed for vacations. León said a decision on whether to make the restriction permanent won’t be made until after January. Quijano said that if the law does become permanent, lower-income people — many of whom use motorbikes as their only mode of transportation — will either reject or ignore it. “The only ones this will affect are the poor here, those who use motorcycles to transport their families.” Sicarios popularized by Medellín cocaine cartel Before 1970, motorcycles were actually a rare sight in Medellín, with only a single company, Auteco, manufacturing an Italian-style scooter called the Lambretta. In 1972, the first Kawasaki motorcycles appeared, and three years later Yamaha sold its first bikes in the city. In his recent book, Colombian journalist José Guarnizo writes that Griselda Blanco — known as the “godmother of cocaine” for her blood-soaked style of street justice — instituted motorcycle killings back in the early 1970s. Before that, Medellín’s hitmen had killed from cars, but Blanco mandated that all hits be carried out on motorcycles after two of her men were caught in traffic while doing a job and were captured by police. “In the mid-1970s, there were these type of killings using motorcycles but not so much,” said Fernando Quijano, an organized crime investigator and director of the Medellín-based human rights group Corpades. The practice exploded during the 1980s and was popularized by the Medellín cocaine cartel led by Pablo Escobar. It first captured the attention of Colombians at large when Rodrigo Lara Bonilla, the nation’s minister of justice, was killed by motorcycle on Escobar’s orders. Trend worsened after Escobar’s death On the night of April 30, 1984, Bonilla had left his office in Bogotá and was driving his white Mercedes when two men on a new Yamaha motorcycle pulled up behind his car’s right rear fender and shattered the rear window with bullets. In an ensuing firefight with authorities, the gunman was killed, but police arrested the driver: Byron Velasquez Arenas, a 16-year-old from Medellín who had never finished high school. “Byron was very young,” Quijano said, “and that had a strong impact.” In the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, during Escobar’s simultaneous battles against the state and rival cartels, motorcycle killings became ubiquitous. Medellín’s poor youth received $2,000 from Escobar for every policeman or soldier they killed, causing the ranks of sicarios to swell. After Escobar’s death in 1993, the homicides continued apace as the armed and experienced young sicarios looked for work, charging as little as $200 per murder. The sicarios always used the fastest and nimblest motorcycles, Quijano said, and the drivers often were hitmen themselves, who taught the younger riders how to kill. “The motorbike became symbol of power,” said Quijano. The sicarios rode “with a pistol in one hand and a woman wrapped around the other.” Hugo Acero, a security consultant who has worked for the mayor of Bogotá, said the freelance hitmen came to be hired not just by narcotraffickers looking to resolve their problems, but also by ordinary citizens. “People used them to recover debts, to avenge an unfaithful lover,” he said. “In the case of Colombia, the sicarios were used to punish.” In 1999, when Acero was working as Bogotá’s security secretary, journalist and activist Jaime Garzón was killed by a motorcycle hitman. Garzón was sitting at a stoplight on a Bogotá street when the two men on a motorcycle pulled alongside him. During the investigation, Acero said, several witnesses reported the same facts: the faces of the motorcyclists had been obscured by helmets with dark face shields, and seconds before pulling out his gun, the rider had covered the license plate with a cloth. The lengths to which the assassins went to conceal their identities led Bogotá’s mayor to institute a law requiring all motorcyclists to wear vests printed with reflective material, displaying their license plates in large numbers and letters. The same number was also printed on the back of their helmets. That law reduced homicides in Bogotá, and had other unforeseen benefits: the number of people killed or injured in motorcycle crashes decreased because the bikers were more visible at night. The law was soon copied by other Colombian cities, including Medellín. Medellín authorities see huge drop in bank robberies By Dialogo January 21, 2013 MEDELLÍN, Colombia — For decades, motorbikes have been the cheapest and most convenient mode of transport on Medellín’s sinuous streets, where they dart and weave nimbly among traffic. But motorcycles are also a deadly tool here, used by sicarios, or hitmen, to get close to their victims. The sicarios ride in pairs, with the driver and gunman sidling up alongside their targets, disposing of them with a few shots, then racing away. In recent years, authorities have tried to stem motorcycle hits by requiring all motorcyclists to wear reflective vests and helmets that display their license plate numbers. However, such measures have been slow to work. During the first 10 months of 2012, Medellín recorded 176 murders on motorcycles — or 15 percent of all homicides, according to Eduardo Rojas León, Medellin’s secretary of security. And motorcycles were used in more than a quarter of carjackings and half of motorcycle thefts. To curb the number of crimes in which motorcycles are used, Medellín Mayor Anibal Gaviria Correa has signed a pilot law preventing men — and even male children — from riding as passengers on motorbikes in Medellín and nine surrounding municipalities from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. The law, also adopted in nine surrounding municipalities, is effective through the end of January, and if it reduces motorcycle crimes, may become permanent. “Here always we have in mind,” León said, “that a motorcycle with a male passenger is synonymous with sicarios and danger.” Acero said that he believes the new measure will reduce homicides in Medellín, though not drastically. The law could have other benefits, he said, such as cutting thefts and robberies by motorcycle passengers. Since the law went into effect, holdups of bank tellers diminished from 36 cases in November to four in December, according to Medellín police. There were drastically fewer robberies at cash machines, he said. Nearly 600 motorcycles have been seized by police, and more than 1,400 citizens cited for flouting the law, León said. “What I hope for is a reduction of these offenses,” León said, “and also to have an effect on the perception of security for citizens.” Quijano, the organized crime investigator, was less optimistic that the law would reduce crime in a lasting way. “The criminal organizations here are structured as paramilitaries and mafias,” he said. “Each day they have more experience, and each day they adapt better to the responses offered by the city. They will use whatever means necessary, whether that be motorcycle, bus, car or approaching by foot.” And gangs will use women, which they rarely did two decades ago, Quijano said, noting that in Medellín, the number of women involved in sicario-related crimes is increasing. León, the city’s security secretary, said he thought it was unlikely the law would have the unintended consequence of more women being dragged into crime. “It is men who are involved in these activities,” he said. Mr. Robbins: since you are gringo, allow me to explain that Colombia is a democratic country where LAWS aren’t made by mayors but in the CONGRESS OF THE REPUBLIC as it should be in a democracy. An ordinary law requires the processing before both Congress chambers (Senate and the Chamber of Representatives) and this takes about a year. Other special laws take about two years (two legislative terms). Changing a word in a law takes about the same time as the issuance of a new law that amends the previous one. Meaning, just as in your country. We are not a rain-forest, Mr. Robbins. Those rules on motorcycles that you mention as changing overnight as if changing underpants, are DECREES (NOT LAWS), which are legal norms of the lowest hierarchy within the legal norms and are as such to allow mayors to handle situations with the agility that such situations require. I know you didn’t have ill intentions but it bothers me that people always speak about my country with getting the right information. Notice how you treat the murder victim RODRIGO LARA BONILLA as BONILLA, meaning as the son of a single mother!!! Here, my friend, our last name is our father’s name and that’s why he was LARA, because his parents were married and he was a legitimate child. A journalist that steps into the Spanish culture should know that we use both last names if we are legitimate children and only the mother’s name if we are natural children. Our Spanish culture is the only one that respects the last names of women since they don’t loose it when they marry (as in the rest of the world) and their last name is added to their children. It is a homage to women. I hope to have contributed to your education.