Category: sbepresh

Expansion for Northwood franchisees

first_imgHome » News » Agencies & People » Expansion for Northwood franchisees previous nextAgencies & PeopleExpansion for Northwood franchiseesWarminster and Glasgow acquisitions completeSheila Manchester4th May 20190558 Views Phil Gee, Managing Director of Northwood, has announced the completion of two significant acquisitions by Northwood franchisees.Phil said, “I am delighted to confirm that Martin and Fiona Bradbury of Northwood Warminster have successfully completed on the acquisition of Wilsons of Westbury, whilst Keith Robin of Northwood Glasgow has completed on the acquisition of Domino Estates Ltd.“Acquisitions are a major part of Northwood’s strategy for business growth, and we have had a huge level of engagement across the entire network with many franchisees looking to develop business growth through acquisition.“Martin and Fiona Bradbury first joined Northwood in 2004, and they have created a phenomenal business at Northwood Warminster said Phil, “They are incredibly committed and hardworking, having completed on a large acquisition two years ago, and winning the title of Estate Agency Sales South at our 2018 Annual Awards. I am delighted to report that they have now successfully completed on the acquisition of Wilsons of Westbury, which has added a further 110 managed properties to their portfolio, and means they have doubled the size of their lettings business in the past 18 months.”“Keith Robin of Northwood Glasgow has been with Northwood for over 15 years. He is a great operator, and the recent acquisition of Dominos Estates Ltd earlier this month is testimony to his professionalism and ambition. This acquisition is also Keith’s second acquisition, and has added a further 191 managed properties to his portfolio.“We wish our franchisees every success with their business development plans. Northwood, which is part of the Belvoir Group, is actively looking for owners of independent businesses who may be looking for an exit strategy, and we have a strong pipeline of acquisitions that are due to complete later this year.”Glasgow acquisitions Keith Robin Martin and Fiona Bradbury Northwood franchisees Northwood Marminster phil gee Sheila Manchester Warminster Wilsons of Westbury May 4, 2019The NegotiatorWhat’s your opinion? Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.Please note: This is a site for professional discussion. Comments will carry your full name and company.This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.Related articles BREAKING: Evictions paperwork must now include ‘breathing space’ scheme details30th April 2021 City dwellers most satisfied with where they live30th April 2021 Hong Kong remains most expensive city to rent with London in 4th place30th April 2021last_img read more

“Disgusting” initiations condemned

first_imgThe Oxford University women’s lacrosse team has been heavily criticised this week for holding “extremely tasteless” initiations which involved students dressing as babies and teenage mothers. Photographs sent to Cherwell yesterday show first year students being initiated into the lacrosse team wearing nappies, sucking on babies’ dummies, and with bibs taped around their necks. One picture shows a student being fed baby food by an older team member, while another shows alcohol being poured into an initiee’s mouth from a baby bottle.The ‘Babies and Teenage Moms’-themed event, which took place on Wednesday night, appears to have begun in a student house. The freshers can be seen outdoors wearing only white T-shirts and nappies, which have been secured to their bodies with parcel tape. Many are visibly filthy and soaking. Lacrosse players who are already members of the team were dressed as ‘teenage mothers’, wearing gold jewellery and tracksuits. One picture shows the initiees sitting lined up against a wall in a military manner. Another shows the ‘babies’ in a queue to be fed a white mixture from paper plates. The current captain of the blues lacrosse team can be seen pushing a plate up into the face of one student for her to eat from, while holding her hand out of the way. When contacted by Cherwell, she declined to comment on whether she felt the initiations had been offensive. She said that the theme had been chosen by a committee of OULC members. The team later proceeded to Park End, where a number of the initiees were pictured lying on the floor of the club.One former member of the lacrosse team said “I think that the theme is extremely tasteless, especially as lacrosse is a sport played almost exclusively at private schools. “The ‘lash culture’ of the lacrosse team made me feel uncomfortable during my time on the team and I fear that freshers will have felt pressured into drinking too much and embarrassing themselves.” President of the Oxford University Sports Federation, Enni-Kukka Tuomala, declined to comment on the lacrosse team’s behaviour on Wednesday. However she added, “We do not condone any Club initiations and all the Sports Clubs know their responsibilities and University regulations that are included in every Club’s Constitution and Code of Conduct. “The safety and well-being of our students is a priority.”A second year student at St. Edmund Hall said, “I don’t have a problem with initiations in principle, but these look disgusting. “I don’t understand why so many people at Oxford find it funny to dress up as disadvantaged people and then get ‘battered’. It’s very embarrassing and I hope that those involved realise how stupid they look.”The photographs of the initiations were available on Facebook until around 6pm on Thursday, at which point they were removed. Cherwell has chosen to protect the identity of those involved.last_img read more

Should Older Drivers Face Special Restrictions?

first_imgShould Older Drivers Face Special Restrictions?  By Jenni Bengal for Stateline/Pew Charitable TrustsBy 2030, more than 60 million older adults could be driving on the nation’s roadways. But don’t expect many more states to put added restrictions on their ability to get behind the wheel.Legislatures have become increasingly reluctant to restrict driver’s licenses for seniors or impose extra requirements — such as vision or road tests — for getting them renewed based solely on their advancing age.That’s partly because older people are generally considered safe drivers, more programs exist to improve their driving skills, and recent studies have shown that many of the restrictions aren’t as effective as once thought in preventing traffic fatalities. It’s also because a politically powerful group of advocates for seniors and motorists, such as AARP and AAA, argue that age shouldn’t be used as the sole measure of an older person’s fitness to handle a car.“We believe that driving is about the ability and health of the driver, not their age,” said AARP spokeswoman Kristin S. Palmer. “We can’t stereotype older drivers.”Jonathan Adkins, executive director of the Governors Highway Safety Association, which represents highway safety offices, said another reason many legislatures have not passed age-based restrictions lately is that society has changed the way it defines “old.” Being 75 isn’t what it used to be, because people are more active and live longer than previous generations.“We just elected the oldest president ever,” Adkins said, referring to Republican President-elect Donald Trump, who is 70.Many states place some sort of restrictions on seniors when it comes to renewing their driver’s licenses, whether it’s requiring vision screening, making them renew their licenses more frequently, or demanding they show up in person at the Department of Motor Vehicles to renew their licenses. But most of the restrictions were approved at least several years ago.In recent years, efforts to impose restrictions often failed. Legislatures in more than a dozen states considered legislation affecting older drivers in the last two years, but only a handful of bills passed, none of them controversial.And some enabled more people to get licenses or gave them breaks based on their age. For instance, a measure in South Carolina allows people with certain vision problems to get or renew a license if they use a special device on their glasses. One in New Mexico lowered the eligibility age to 50 for drivers to qualify for reduced insurance rates if they take a driver’s education course.In contrast, Vermont lawmakers killed a bill that would have demanded drivers 65 and older pass vision and road tests in order to obtain or renew their license. Tennessee lawmakers killed one that would have required people 76 and older to take a vision test.But the fact remains as people age, their vision, hearing and reflexes often deteriorate. And states are faced with trying to balance ensuring the safety of older drivers and others on the road with not discriminating against people just because they are getting older.“Age should not be the issue. It should be your ability to handle the car and drive safely,” said Jurek Grabowski, research director for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, a nonprofit research and education group.Patterns and RisksThe nation’s senior population is projected to explode as 75 million baby boomers grow old. And traffic safety experts expect the number of at-risk drivers will also grow, as all indications are aging boomers who grew up behind the wheel want to continue to drive.In the early 1970s, barely half of Americans 65 and older held a driver’s license. Nowadays, 84 percent do. By many measures, they have a good driving safety record.Seniors typically follow the rules and wear seat belts, observe the speed limit, and don’t drink and drive, auto safety analysts say. Their crash rates have continued to drop over the years. And they are less likely than previous generations of seniors to be in a crash or to be killed or seriously injured in a crash because they’re generally healthier and cars are safer.But older drivers are at higher risk of crashing than middle-aged people because of declining vision, hearing and cognitive ability and medical conditions that could affect their driving. When they are involved in a crash, they are more likely to be injured or killed than drivers in other age groups.“Usually, if someone dies, it’s the older driver or their passengers, who tend to be older,” said Jessica Cicchino, a vice president at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a nonprofit research group funded by auto insurance companies.In 2014, 5,709 people 65 and older were killed and about 221,000 were injured in crashes.Older drivers also are more likely than younger ones to be involved in certain types of collisions, such as crashes at intersections or those caused by failing to yield, according to the Insurance Institute.Good or Bad Policies?States vary considerably in what they require of older drivers to renew a license.Nineteen have shorter renewal periods for drivers over a certain age, according to the Insurance Institute. Eighteen demand more frequent vision screening. And 15 states that allow drivers to renew by mail or online don’t offer that option to older drivers.Illinois has one of the strictest renewal requirements of any state. Drivers 75 and older must take a road test to renew their license. It’s the type of law that AAA opposes.“Many states have bills introduced seeking that. We spend a lot of time combating it,” said Jake Nelson, AAA’s traffic safety director. “It’s bad policy and it doesn’t enhance safety at all.”Many age-based requirements haven’t proven effective, studies have found.Only two have been shown to reduce fatal crashes: making drivers 85 and over renew in person and requiring people in that age group to take a vision test in states that don’t make them renew in person, said Cicchino of the Insurance Institute. Fatality rates for drivers 55 and older are no lower in states that mandate road or written tests or shortened renewal periods for older drivers, she said.Some states, such as Alabama and Kentucky, impose no age-based requirements on older drivers. Others actually give them a break. Oklahoma, for example, reduces the license fee for drivers age 62 to 64 and waives it entirely for those 65 and older.Some groups that oppose putting restrictions on older drivers based solely on their age endorse broader policies aimed at improving safety on the roads. AAA, for example, thinks all drivers should take a vision test when they renew, either at a DMV or at a doctor’s office. And it views the renewal process as a good way for DMV staffers to observe drivers to see whether they may have physical or mental impairments that could affect their driving ability.“This isn’t about senior drivers, it’s about detecting at-risk drivers,” said Rich Romer, AAA’s state relations manager.For seniors who might be a danger on the roads because of certain physical or mental conditions, both AAA and AARP support the concept of medical advisory boards that set standards for state licensing agencies and assess at-risk drivers’ ability to get behind the wheel. At least 38 states have set up some kind of advisory board.“If you come to our attention and you should not be on the road, we have a process to get you off the road very fast,” said Dr. Carl Soderstrom, the chief of Maryland’s Medical Advisory Board. “The fact that we have taken the licenses away from thousands of very unsafe people over the years says the program is working.”A Matter of IndependenceDriving is an important way for older adults to remain independent and mobile, experts on aging say. Without a car, they can grow isolated and depressed, and their physical and mental health can deteriorate.Instead of driving themselves, some may turn to taxis or ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft, or eventually, self-driving cars. Others may rely on volunteer driver programs or public transit.“We want to get away from the idea of taking away mom and dad’s keys and focus on other alternatives to keep them mobile,” said Adkins, of the governors’ highway safety group. “But you also don’t want to take away their mobility and independence if they could be driving safely.”AAA and AARP have created driver refresher classes for older adults to help them stay safe on the roads.AARP’s “Smart Driver Course,” offered in classrooms or online, teaches strategies for reducing the likelihood of a crash and making adjustments to compensate for the effects aging may have on driving. The group runs about 30,000 courses a year and trains about half a million drivers, said Palmer, the group’s spokeswoman.At least 34 states plus Washington, D.C., have passed laws allowing auto insurance companies to provide a premium discount to seniors who complete a state-approved driver safety course in a classroom.A number of advanced technologies, such as collision warning systems and rearview cameras, also can help seniors drive safely for a longer period of time, a 2015 AAA Foundation report found.But all the bells and whistles on new cars can be a distraction for some older drivers.That’s why auto safety groups also recommend that transportation agencies take action on their own, by making letters on road signs larger, making pavement markings more visible, and adding left-turn lanes and signals at intersections. Another possibility: reconfiguring intersections as roundabouts, which reduce speeds and eliminate the complexities of turning at intersections.“These are simple fixes to the roadways that states actually can make that can prevent older drivers’ deadliest crashes,” said the Insurance Institute’s Cicchino.FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img read more

Simple, Scalable, Containerized Deep Learning using Nauta

first_imgDeep learning is hard. Between organizing, cleaning and labeling data, selecting the right neural network topology, picking the right hyperparameters, and then waiting – hoping – that the model produced is accurate enough to put into production. It can seem like an impossible puzzle for your data science team to solve.But the IT aspect of the puzzle is no less complicated, especially when the environment needs to be multi-user and support distributed model training. From choosing an operating system, to installing libraries, frameworks, dependencies, and development platforms, building the infrastructure to support your company’s deep learning efforts can be even more challenging than the data science. Add on top of that, the rapid pace of change in deep learning software and supporting libraries – many of which change monthly – creates a recipe for IT headaches.Containerization helps solve some of the IT complexity. Instead of your IT staff cobbling together dozens of libraries and dependent software packages to make your deep learning framework of choice function, you can download pre-configured containers which handle all of that. Or you can have your data scientists build custom containers to meet their specific needs. However, your IT department must still build and configure infrastructure for orchestrating those containers, while providing a resilient, scalable platform for your data science team to be as productive as possible.Nauta Deep Learning PlatformNauta software seeks to solve many of the problems associated with building container orchestration infrastructure for deep learning. Nauta is a containerized deep learning platform which uses Kubernetes for container orchestration. It provides an intuitive command-line interface for building, running, curating and evaluating experiments, and it includes must-have features such as Jupyter notebooks and Tensorboard.We’ve been using Nauta in the Dell EMC HPC & AI Innovation Lab, testing its features, functionality, extensibility, and ease of use. We use Nauta to run many of our cutting-edge deep learning research projects, including scalable convolutional neural network (CNN) training on chest xrays and ultra-scalable multi-head attention network training for language translation. It allows us to go from early proof-of-concept in Juypyter notebooks – to high-performance distributed training using the MPI-based Horovod framework for TensorFlow – to wide hyperparameter analysis for producing the most accurate model possible. Best of all, it’s a scalable platform built on top of Kubernetes and Docker, allowing us to easily share and replicate work between team members.In addition to training neural networks, Nauta also provides a mechanism for testing deployments of trained models. This allows us to evaluate model accuracy, benchmark performance, and test reduced-precision quantization on new hardware, such as the 2nd-Generation Intel® Xeon® Scalable processor with Intel® Deep Learning Boost. Nauta allows inference on both batches of data, as well as streaming inference using REST APIs. And while Nauta isn’t expressly designed for production model deployment, the ability to evaluate trained models and experiment with reduced precision is an important component of the overall model development and deployment process.Looking ForwardThe Dell EMC HPC & AI Innovation Lab team continues to use, evaluate, report and resolve issues, and recommend improvements to Nauta. Select customers are also experimenting and evaluating Nauta on Dell EMC hardware, and Nauta will be a central component of future Ready Solutions. In the end, your company’s AI efforts are only going to be successful if the infrastructure is ready to support your data science team. Nauta provides an on-ramp for your IT organization and your data science team to get started training in an on-premises containerized environment quickly and easily.last_img read more

Florida utility FPL looks to close all coal, oil generation units no later than 2030

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Palm Beach Post:Big changes are forecast for Palm Beach County’s and Florida’s energy sector during the next decade as an explosion of solar power takes shape.Florida Power & Light Co.‘s fleet will transition from producing less than 2 percent of its electricity from solar to a projected 20 percent from its solar energy centers. Larger solar battery storage systems will come online and extend the solar facilities’ energy production by a few hours each day.“It’s going to have a lot of solar, that’s for sure, with 30 million panels by 2030,” FPL CEO and President Eric Silagy told the Palm Beach Post. “I will be disappointed if we don’t do more than that.”The total of 10,000 megawatts of new solar will make Florida a global leader in solar, Silagy said.In 2018, close to 75 percent of FPL’s electricity was produced using natural gas. Renewables, such as solar power, accounted for less than 2 percent. Nuclear power provided 23 percent with coal at 2.1 percent, and oil at 0.3 percent. By 2030 or sooner, oil and coal will be phased out. Nuclear and solar power are projected to account for 20 percent each and natural gas for 60 percent.FPL operates 18 solar plants, and 10 are under construction. Along with several small installations, solar generates 1,250 megawatts. Each new plant will add 74.5 megawatts of capacity, enough to power 15,000 homes. Florida ranks fifth in solar capacity, but it is running in second place among all states for projected capacity installed over the next five years, with nearly 5.5 more gigawatts expected, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. The price of solar installations has declined by 32 percent in the last five years.More: Palm Beach County 2030: More power will come from solar energy Florida utility FPL looks to close all coal, oil generation units no later than 2030last_img read more

Fat Dad Challenge

first_imgI have a friend who has refused to eat anything but lettuce and carrots for the last three weeks. He’s starving himself for the “Fat Dad Challenge,” a weight-loss competition among a dozen middle-aged fathers hoping to jumpstart a healthier lifestyle through some friendly competition. The rules are fairly straightforward. The dad that loses the highest percentage of body fat in eight weeks wins a $500 pot. It’s like The Biggest Loser, only the contestants aren’t as fat and the trainers aren’t as hot. The challenge started with a group weigh- in where everyone stripped to their skivvies. Bellies were pinched with calipers. Incriminating photos were taken. One dude wore a speedo. Another found out he was carrying roughly 75 pounds of fat on his body, about the size of his oldest son.I should mention that there are no fat dads in Asheville. Even the guy carrying around an extra nine-year-old child around his belly isn’t fat in the classic sense. This city is an uber-healthy bubble in a region famous for its fried foods and large bellies. I’m sure we have obese citizens in Asheville, but I rarely see them, probably because there’s no good place for them to eat downtown. Looking for vegan tamales? We’ve got those in spades, but you can’t get a decent pulled pork sandwich downtown.The guy that designed the “Fat Dad Challenge” is a marathoner. Nobody would ever consider him fat, except maybe ultra marathoners. And that’s the problem with living in Super-Fit-Ville: you lose perspective. Skip a lunch workout to actually eat lunch, and you start to think you’re getting lazy. In this town, we’re very proud of ourselves for escaping the typical corporate rat race that’s so prevalent in larger cities, but really, we’ve just traded the corporate rat race for the athletic rat race. We’re still keeping up with the Joneses, but we’re just more concerned with their 5K PR and new carbon fiber bike than their bank account and new Lexus. While the rest of the country is hard at work contributing to the GDP, Asheville is filling Monday afternoon yoga classes to capacity crowds and swarming trail systems for group rides.The lifestyle sounds great, and it is, as long as you don’t take it too seriously. One day, you’re knocking off work early to hike a mountain outside of town, the next thing you know you’ve hired a coach and quit that day job for a gig at Subway because it allows you more time to “train.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve caught myself thinking my job is really getting in the way of my mountain biking.“Let’s face it, none of us live here because of our jobs,” says my buddy Mark, one of the Fat Dad Challengees. “We live here because of the other stuff.”For Mark, the “other stuff” is biking. Road biking, mountain biking, track biking. I’m sure I’ll see him on a tandem before too long. Recently, he’s taken up running thanks to the Fat Dad Challenge.“I’m up to five miles a day,” he told me recently over beers. Well, I was having a beer. He was drinking water.He gets up at 5 a.m. for gym workouts, then typically runs at lunch. Ask him why, and he’ll look at you funny. “It’s $500.”Money that he’ll instantly parlay towards a new road bike if he wins. And all of my friends in the Challenge would do the same thing. Well, all except Eric. He’s the black sheep, following a strict “no exercise” regimen since leaving high school. Eric’s in the Challenge too, but he’s taking the anorexic approach. Strictly lettuce, and the only exercise he’ll submit to is mowing the lawn once a week.“I hate running. Why would I do it?” he says. “Not even for $500.”I have a hundred friends who share that sentiment all around the country, but Eric’s an anomaly here in Asheville. It’s actually refreshing. In a society where the men constantly discuss split times and gadgets that monitor heart rate and urine color, Eric’s my go-to guy when I want to discuss the finer points of the Cartoon Network. Eric’s exercise apathy is downright inspirational.Regardless of the amount of time and energy I put into “training,” a podium finish isn’t in my cards. Maybe, if I’m still healthy and running at 92, I’d have a shot at taking my age group in the local road race, but for the next 60 years, I’m going to have to accept my place at the back of the pack. It’s one thing to realize you’re a mediocre athlete, but it’s a different ball game altogether to actually be comfortable with that athletic mediocrity, which is probably why my friends are creating calorie charts and hiring trainers in pursuit of the Fat Dad Challenge cash purse. Sometimes, it’s just fun to win something. Even if it’s a Fat Dad Challenge amongst dads who aren’t that fat. I’m sure there’s something deep about the human spirit and the need for competition that I could glean from the situation, but who has the energy for deep thought?So, friends, good luck as you starve yourself and hit the gym at 5 a.m. I’m pursuing a different path that is decidedly less aerobic. I’m toying with the notion of not working out at all. Maybe I’ll experiment with watching more TV. Maybe I’ll order another basket of chicken wings.Blue Ridge Outdoors - The Fat Dad Challengelast_img read more

Son of Deposed Shah Says that “It Is Time” to Change the Future of Iran

first_imgBy Dialogo June 23, 2009 Washington, 22 June (EFE).- Reza Cyrus Pahlavi, the son of Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, deposed by the Iranian Revolution in 1979, today expressed his confidence that “it is time for Iran” to overthrow the Islamic regime, after years of failed attempts. In an emotional press conference, the Iranian prince, who has lived in the United States since 1984, characterized the protest movement that has developed in his native land as a result of the June 12 elections, considered fraudulent by the opposition, as a “cry for freedom and democracy.” With his voice breaking with emotion, he indicated that what is happening in Iran “is almost revolutionary” and that “this is the first time ever in modern Iranian history” that the Iranian people are demanding the intervention of the international community so that their voices may be heard. “We have to defeat the system; we know that this regime ultimately must end,” affirmed Pahlavi, who left Iran in 1978 and has lived in Morocco, Egypt, and the United States since then. The son of the last shah of Persia, who died in exile in Egypt in 1980, acknowledged that many have tried before to cause the “ultimate collapse” of the Iranian regime, but he expressed his conviction that “it is time for Iran after thirty years” of struggle. He affirmed that there exists “impetus” to put an end to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s Islamic government, but he also suggested that the movement would not “succeed” without the support of the international community and the “tactic ,” more than verbal, support of foreign governments. “I have seldom seen non-violent movements of change succeed without international support,” he stated. Along these lines, he described himself as “encouraged” by the most recent declarations by U.S. president Barack Obama, who over the weekend called on Tehran to “stop all violent and unjust actions against its own people.” Pahlavi, basing himself on reports reaching him from Iran and on his contacts with Iranians in political, military, and religious circles, explained that at the present time there are two groups in the upper levels of the Iranian government, those who are loyal to the regime and those who are carefully planning their “exit strategy.” Looking forward, the prince said that, as time passes, the movement will grow, and pressure on the regime will increase. “At some point there will be much clearer positions announced” on the part of members of the government, of military intelligence, and of the Iranian clergy, either against or in favor of the people in the street, he predicted. “This has become also a defining moment for the clergy to show a complete demarcation from the system,” he indicated. “A decision will have to be made pretty soon” by the various Iranian authorities on whether they join the voice of the people and distance themselves from the regime or continue to support it, he added. What is important is to keep the protest movement going, given that pressure will “further deteriorate and fragment” the Iranian theocratic regime, he insisted. “We will not let it die,” he said of the movement, which he considers “not Islamic or anti-Islamic,” but rather it seeks the “sacred” and “sovereign” of the voters’ decision to prevail. “This has gone beyond just a result of an election or a candidate,” he added, and has become a matter of achieving “democracy” and “the liberty to vote and choose freely.” Pahlavi, who lives in Maryland with his wife and three daughters, indicated that his decision to speak out in favor of the Iranian people had nothing to do with his own future, but rather with the struggle to establish a democratic, parliamentary, and secular system in his country, because this is “the only solution” and outcome for Iran.last_img read more

Colombian-U.S cooperation leads to guilty pleas by three international drug traffickers case

first_imgBy Dialogo October 08, 2014 Three Colombian drug traffickers who conspired to use speedboats to traffic cocaine into the United States pleaded guilty October 3, marking the culmination of cooperative efforts by officials from both countries to bring them to justice. Ángel Javier Varón Castro, 43; Luis Delio Herrera Astudillo, 45; and Eusebio David Webster Archbold, 33, entered their pleas in federal court in Washington, D.C. Their charges included one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine and one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine on board a vessel subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. Those charges came after a 17-month investigation in which Colombian police cooperated with U.S. anti-drug agents to break up their drug trafficking group. Ultimately, they were able to record conversations, using phone taps, in which the defendants spoke about using two 12-meter go-fast boats to transport cocaine. The U.S. Coast Guard interdicted the vessels in international waters in February and April 2010, respectively, according to the U.S. Justice Department, leading to the arrests of the three traffickers. “These defendants and their drug trafficking partners used seagoing vessels to inject vast quantities of cocaine into international commerce,” said U.S. Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell. “But while drug traffickers may believe they can operate on the high seas with impunity, [the] convictions prove otherwise. Working with our international partners, we will bring to justice those who would flood our ports and, ultimately, our communities with dangerous narcotics.” “[The] guilty pleas highlight our successful and vigorous partnership with Colombian law enforcement as we work to halt the flow of drugs heading north from the coast of Colombia.” Those pleas took place before U.S. District Judge Beryl A. Howell, who scheduled sentencing for January 9, 2015. “The arrests and guilty pleas of these three international drug smugglers are the direct result of the resolute partnership between the DEA and our Colombian law enforcement partners,” DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart said in a prepared statement. “This is another example of the fine work that DEA, prosecutors, and our partners around the globe accomplish every day.” The guilty pleas mark yet another success of the U.S.-Colombia partnership in the counter-narcotics fight. In May, Colombian and U.S. military units worked together to seize 2.3 metric tons of cocaine from a semi-submersible vessel and arrest its three-man crew about 43 miles off the South American country’s Pacific Coast. The seized drugs were worth an estimated $71 million (USD), according to police. The operation marked the first time since 1993 that Colombian security forces seized a semi-submersible vessel transporting drugs while the crew was on board. The fiberglass vessel, which was about 13 meters long and two meters wide, had been traveling from Sanquianga, a national park in the department of Nariño, on the Pacific Coast near the border with Ecuador. This is how you work, side-by-side, they are an example. Sea traffic control is very well controlled, I think the only way they have left would be to come in by land to Panamanian territory and continue their route through Central America, which makes their shipping costs higher, because they would have to bribe lots of authorities before reaching the border with the U.S.A. Little by little they’re being corralled and the shipping costs become unprofitable, if the Central American authorities are able to bring technology to their police corps with staff that don’t [fall for bribes] this would be achieved with a well-paid police career and lots of technical training, and work security. Colombia could give them great help in teaching and techniques to fight the drug trafficking organizations.last_img read more

#RemoteDepositCapture benefits outweigh risks

first_imgSince the Check 21 Act was passed in 2004, financial institutions (FIs) of all sizes have been implementing remote deposit capture (RDC) and mobile remote deposit capture (mRDC).RDC is a system that allows a customer to scan checks remotely and transmit the check images to a bank for deposit, usually via an encrypted Internet connection. When the bank receives a check image from the customer, it posts the deposit to the customer’s account and makes the funds available based upon the customer’s particular availability schedule. As fast and convenient as RDC has become, however, it is not without concerns. There have been some instances of consumers double-depositing checks via RDC.That said, a recent survey from concludes the risks associated with RDC aren’t enough to prevent FIs from offering this service to consumers. The survey—designed to measure the perception, usage and experience of RDC technology among more than 300 community FIs— found 95 percent of FIs believe RDC benefits outweigh any fraud risks associated with the practice.Among FIs that offer RDC and participated in the study, 80 percent reported no losses. This may be the result of the way these credit unions and community banks have configured their offerings. Over 60 percent have a customized approach to setting deposit limits; based on segment, customer risk score or another rule, such as account type or deposit size. continue reading » 6SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

10 questions to ask when evaluating information management solutions

first_img 35SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Michelle Harbinak Shapiro Michelle Shapiro has more than a 15 years of experience in the banking industry to her role as Financial Services Industry Expert at Hyland Software. Her mission is to share … Web: Details As your credit union membership and loan portfolios continue to grow, information assets are increasing and becoming more complex to retain, manage and obey compliance standards. Can your existing information management system continue to support your growth while providing superior member service? Enterprise information management, also commonly referred to as enterprise content management (ECM), centralizes your important business content in one secure location, and then delivers your relevant information to you when you need it, wherever you are. The right solution allows your credit union to take control of its documents and member information in a secure environment. However, like any important technology purchasing decisions, you need to do your due diligence. You should be confident that the decision you make now is also the right decision for the future and that the total cost of ownership (TCO) meets your expectations. So, where do you begin? How do you find the right solution that will meet your needs now and in the future? Here’s a list of ten questions to ask your potential technology partners.How many documents can your solution import per hour with “import tools”?Does your solution convert documents to a propriety format or do users view them in their native formats?How many items can we store in your database?Does your solution allow users to fix a potential misread in the capture process or do they need to navigate to a different area then go back into capture?Does your capture workflow logic work in conjunction with your business process automation workflow logic?How do you integrate with other systems?Can we leverage your information management solution throughout our enterprise?How do I build and design workflows?How do you perform upgrades?How frequently do you release new/upgraded software?Armed with the answers to these important questions, you’re ready to make a more informed decision to meet your needs today and in the future.  last_img read more