Peace at Last?

first_img It all started a little over a year ago. On November 4, 2011, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) suffered a serious blow: the death of their leader Alfonso Cano as the result of the military operation “Odiseo,” when the Colombian Air Force bombarded a FARC campsite. Juan Manuel Santos, president of Colombia, made a statement a few hours after the announcement of Cano’s death: “This is the time to leave weapons behind, repeating what we said before, the alternative is to either go to prison or to the grave.” The former Colombian president, Andrés Pastrana, also spoke up: “This is a crucial moment for the FARC. Those who are leaders seriously consider peace negotiations to put an end to this war, for the benefit of all Colombians.” Analysts considered Cano’s death the beginning of the end for this terrorist organization. On December 6, 2011, several NGOs called for a protest through the social networks urging the FARC to free the hostages and to end the violent acts, seeking a more dignified life for the Colombian people. Former hostages, family members of murdered victims and hostages overcame their fear and pleaded for peace. Even Colombians who were not direct victims of the terrorist group joined the protest. Many people shouted: “No more hostages! No more FARC! No more!” The march was supported by the government and all the media. The repercussion was such that 10 other countries, including Argentina, Ireland, México, Spain, and the United States, organized similar protests, according to members of the NGOs involved. President Santos stated: “Set them all free now, without any terms. Show there really is a desire for peace.” Actually, both the Colombian government and the FARC realized that the continuation of the conflict made no sense, because it was not through war that rebels would succeed. Instead, they need to become a legal political force, and the government knew that the end of the conflict was essential for Colombia’s complete integration into the world of major democracies. The president said that all mistakes made during previous attempts of peace agreements must be avoided, such as the one conducted under former President Andrés Pastrana, which failed after almost four years of negotiations, between October 1998 and February 2002. The government concluded that a large demilitarized zone that had been created for meetings was being used by the terrorists for their reorganization. It is important to note that the FARC’s current force has between 8,000 – 9,000 members, less than half of the 20,000 guerillas they had in 1998, according to Colombian government data. On February of 2012, the FARC abandoned the practice of kidnapping for ransom and, in April the group released the last 10 police officers and soldiers who were still held as hostages, but they believed that the guerrillas still kept dozens of civilians captive. In June, Colombian legislators approved a measure to reform the constitution granting amnesty for demobilized guerrillas. Finally, on August 27, 2012, President Santos confirmed that his government had started the “exploratory talks” with rebels from the FARC to prepare the groundwork for a peace process. He said that, this time, the Colombian forces will not suspend their operations, nor reduce the military presence in the country during the contact with the guerrillas. Initially, the dialogues were scheduled for October 8, in Oslo, Norway, but were later postposed to the 17th, and the talks would continue in Havana, Cuba. The news generated a positive reaction from world leaders, renewing hope for an end to the armed conflict which has lasted for almost half a century, since the beginning of the FARC in 1964, leaving 600,000 people dead, 15,000 missing, and four million displaced. On October 17 and 18 the delegates from the Colombian government, led by Humberto de La Calle, and the FARC, led by Iván Márquez, met in Oslo, Norway, for the first round of talks. Five topics were selected: the restitution and land development; the war on drug trafficking, which has been the main source of income for the FARC in recent years, as well as programs to replace the crops and initiatives to prevent the consumption of drugs; the possibility of former guerrillas participating in the political process; the disarmament, including ceasefire; and lastly, the most important matter for the Colombian people, the victims of 48 years of armed conflicts, repairing the damages and creating an official record documenting crimes committed by the rebels. The Colombian government and the guerrilla group started the second phase of peace dialogues on November 19, in Havana, which lasted through the 29. Members of the government negotiating team include retired General Jorge Mora; Peace Counselor Sergio Jaramillo; former Peace Counselor Frank Pearl; President of the Colombian National Association of Businessmen, Luis Carlos Villegas; and former Director of the National Police Óscar Naranjo. Members of the FARC delegation are Iván Márquez, number two in the terrorist group, and Rodrigo Granda (alias Ricardo Téllez), Jesús Emilio Carvajalino (alias Andrés París), and Luis Alberto Albán (alias Marcos Calarcá). In the beginning of this second phase, the FARC announced a unilateral ceasefire, which started on November 20 and will last for two months. The guerrilla units received the order and everybody in the national territory had to cease all offensive military operations against the public force, and the acts of sabotage against the public or private infrastructure. “This will be a quick and efficient process. A process that will last months, not years”, said Humberto de la Calle. However, he stressed that for the duration of the negotiations, the government will not make military concessions, ceasefire, nor create demilitarized zones. A timeframe has been determined of November 2013 to reach a negotiated peace. The dialogue resumed on December 5, “with the focus still on the agricultural reform, the first item on the agenda,” the parties said in a joint statement. The best indicator that the process is moving forward was the agreement to create a public forum in Bogota, in January 2013, regarding the agricultural development, since the uneven distribution of lands has been a major source of conflict for a long time. The conversations remain and the entire world expects that, this time, Colombia will reach their desired objective: peace. By Dialogo December 14, 2012last_img read more

CUNA launches coronavirus resource, information page

first_img continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr CUNA has launched a resource page for information and other materials on the coronavirus (COVID-19) disease as they become available. CUNA is closely following all developments and will update the page as necessary with business continuity recommendations and information about CUNA/CUNA Council conferences and events.At this time, CUNA has not cancelled or altered live conferences or events. CUNA is constantly monitoring and following the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).As more updates and information become available, CUNA will communicate directly with registered attendees and membership at large. In the meantime, CUNA continues to work with venue partners to take every precaution, like adding extra hand-washing stations, hand sanitizer and additional signage as reminders of how best to prevent the spread of viruses.last_img read more

Half of coronavirus patients given ventilation died: German study

first_imgOlder patients were also significantly more vulnerable, as 27 percent of patients in their 70s died while 38 percent of those above 80 years old failed to pull through.”These high mortality rates clearly show that a relatively high number of patients with a very serious course of disease were treated in hospitals,” said Juergen Klauber, director of WIdO.”Such serious course of diseases mainly affect older people and people whose health is already compromised, but also occur in younger patients,” he warned, urging the population to take necessary precautions to prevent new infections.Of the 10,021 patients, 1,727 were given mechanical ventilation. While almost twice as many who received ventilation were men, the mortality rates were similar gender-wise, the study said. One in five patients hospitalized in Germany over the coronavirus succumbed to the disease, with the fatality rate rising to 53 percent for those who received ventilation, a study showed Wednesday.Data of 10,000 patients admitted to 930 German hospitals between February 26 and April 19 were analyzed by the German Interdisciplinary Association of Critical Care and Emergency Medicine, the Technical University of Berlin and AOK health insurance group’s research arm WIdO.Hospitalized male patients had a higher mortality rate than women, with 25 percent compared to 19 percent. Topics :center_img Patients were staying in hospitals for an average of 14 days, with those not on ventilation hospitalized for an average of 12 days while the duration for those who needed help breathing rose to 25 days.Reinhard Busse, professor of healthcare management at TU Berlin, noted that on average, 240 days of ventilation would be required for every 100 hospitalized patients.”These are important numbers to prepare for a second wave of the pandemic. However, we do not anticipate any problems with normal hospital beds, even with high infection rates,” he added.Thanks to its decentralized healthcare system, Germany has been able to significantly ramp up its capacity to treat COVID-19 patients, avoiding scenes like in Italy where some hospitals were overwhelmed by the sudden huge caseload.However, health experts have urged against complacency, with the head of the RKI disease control agency, Lothar Wieler, repeatedly urging the population to keep to hygiene rules like social distancing or mask wearing.With the summer holiday season in full swing, politicians are also watching anxiously at infection numbers which have ticked up in recent weeks.As of Wednesday, Germany has recorded 206,926 cases of infections including 9,128 deaths.last_img read more

BiH Football Team seeks 10th Consecutive Victory with Match in Spain!

first_imgBosnia and Herzegovina’s (BiH’s) football team will play a friendly match with Spain at 20:45 in Las Palmas today. This will be a chance for the Dragons to make the 10th consecutive match without defeat, which would be a record in the history of the state team.The Dragons have nine match wins, with five consecutive wins and four draws (Bulgaria 1: 0, Senegal 0: 0, Montenegro 0: 0, South Korea 3: 1, Northern Ireland 2: 1, Austria 1: 0, Turkey 0: 0, Northern Ireland 2: 0, Austria 0: 0).Safet Susic also managed to tie nine victories from August 2012 to August 2013, and at that time, there were eight victories scored namely against Vales, Liechtenstein, Latvia, Lithuania, Algeria, Slovenia, Greece and Latvia and Greece.After the UEFA League match against Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina expects a friendly match with Spain on Sunday.Robert Prosinecki. BiH team head coach, will not be able to count on Miralem Pjanic and Ognjen Vranjec for this friendly match.Namely, Pjanic has problems with his leg, while Vranjes has an inflammation of the throat.Spain coach Luis Enrique will make changes to his side when they play Bosnia-Herzegovina in Las Palmas (Canary Islands) on Sunday as he looks to find a way back into winning ways. Sergio Busquets, Isco, Sergio Ramos, Marco Asensio, the recalled Jordi Alba and David de Gea all disappointed in Zagreb, with goalkeeper De Gea doing little to dispel the doubts over him in the World Cup finals.Ramos has had to withdraw from the squad with a groin injury and that absence coupled with that of Nacho Fernandez, who injured his knee before the Croatia game. Thus, Mario Hermoso is likely to start in defense, and Jony Otto and Gaya could also get their chances.However, after a winning start as a coach, Enrique has a problem with key players below their best and he needs to find long-term replacements for Busquets and Ramos, as well as an in-form striker.Although Sunday is a friendly match, it is important for Spain, with a win allowing Enrique to consider his solutions until March, while a third consecutive defeat would leave him with four months wondering how to get things right.last_img read more

LIVE: Joshua to play it cool in Klitschko super-fight on now

first_imgLondon, United Kingdom | AFP |  Britain’s Anthony Joshua says he is prepared to play the waiting game in his world heavyweight super-fight against veteran Ukrainian Wladimir Klitschko at London’s Wembley Stadium on Saturday.Joshua, 14 years Klitschko’s junior, is expected to attack the 41-year-old with the same explosiveness that has seen him win all 18 of his professional contests to date.But while many observers believe the longer the fight goes on, the more it will play into Klitschko’s hands, Joshua says he is prepared to wait for his moment.“He’ll probably start fast because he won’t be able to keep up the pace,” said Joshua, who hopes to add the vacant World Boxing Association (WBA) title to his International Boxing Federation (IBF) crown.“Father Time is a genetic thing. It’s something no-one can deny and it’s just part of life. I don’t think he’d be able to cope in my training camp.“How I’ve been taught to win is to box off the line, set it up, and then come forward, defend, and try and come forward again.“So it’s what opportunities are there, rather than being aggressive and missing shots because I’m just hungry for a knockout.“I just have to create opportunities and when they come, I’ll explode then and take him on.”Joshua, 27, will confront Klitschko, the former world heavyweight number one, in front of 90,000 fans in the biggest fight the division has seen in years.It is the most significant heavyweight fight ever to be held in Britain and will reportedly earn the pair upwards of £10 million ($13 million, 12 million euros) each.Britain’s largest attendance for a boxing event since 1939 is expected beneath the Wembley arch, with millions more watching on television in over 140 countries.Yet Joshua, the London 2012 Olympic gold medallist, does not even see this as being the most important fight he will ever have.“I don’t think so, because it won’t be the end of my career,” said Joshua, who was born in England to Nigeria-born parents.“When he gets beat, that could be the end of him. That’s why it could be defining for him.” – ‘Crumble like a cookie’ –Joshua was seven years old when Klitschko (64-4, 53 KOs) turned professional in 1996 following his Olympic gold medal success in Atlanta earlier that year.The Ukrainian was last seen in a ring in November 2015 when he was outboxed in a defeat by Joshua’s burly compatriot Tyson Fury, ending his nine-and-a-half-year reign as champion.Klitschko, who saw Fury twice pull out of a re-match, is banking on his greater experience being a decisive factor.While Joshua has never been beyond seven rounds, Klitschko has fought 12 rounds nine times.“Experience is something that you cannot buy in a shop. You gain it over the years,” Klitschko said.“People could be in great preparation and great spirit and I’ve seen that they crumble like a cookie right before the first bell.”Klitschko is bidding to become a three-time world heavyweight champion like his older brother, Vitali, Evander Holyfield, Lennox Lewis and Muhammad Ali.Joshua tipped the scales at 17 stones 12lbs 2oz (113.4 kg) — 10 pounds more than Klitschko and his heaviest ever pre-fight weight — at Friday’s weigh-in.It prompted Klitschko to compare him to an over-muscled body-builder.“I’ve never seen AJ as big as he is right now,” he said. “He is as big as Arnold Schwarzenegger at his best.”Klitschko even went as far as predicting the partisan British crowd will be cheering for him by the end of the bout.“I was booed at the beginning (of his open workout), but cheered at the end, when I finished,” said the Ukrainian.“I’ve seen it with my brother (Vitali) and Herbie Hide here years ago. If you perform well, people will accept you with cheering.”Share on: WhatsApplast_img read more