Interest rate rise – will it turn the dials in the housing market?

first_imgThe decision by the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) to introduce an interest rate rise of 0.25% a percent to 0.5% in order to keep inflation in check was applauded in most business circles as a prudent first move to ‘sensible’ interest rates after nearly eight years of rock bottom rates.The move is intended to dampen down the economy mildly and rein-in inflation, which currently stands at 3% and is expected to peak higher than that before the MPC’s measures kick in. Bank of England Mark Carney said the inflation increases were due largely to the weakening of Sterling following the Brexit vote.“The decision to leave the European Union is having a noticeable impact on the economic outlook,” he said. “We need to support the economy during this adjustment process.”But what does the property industry think of an interest rate rise? Russell Quirk of eMoov, who was first out of the blocks into the news studios yesterday, said the rise would only add £16 a month the average mortgage holder and would be “water off a duck’s back for those with a fixed rate security blanket”.But what did the rest of the industry think. Here are their reactions.Knight Frank – James Roberts, Chief Economist“An increase in the base rate is often viewed with trepidation by the property industry, but this long-expected move is unlikely to have a negative impact.“I expect the Bank of England will follow the same strategy as the US Fed, and gently apply the brakes while giving lots of advance warning, in order to balance the competing pressures of normalising rates while not derailing growth.“Consequently, I see a gradual rise ahead, partly to stockpile some future rate cuts should the MPC need to combat another downturn at a later date.“Also, the Bank of England is showing some younger homeowners that rates do rise, given how long it has been since the country saw an increase – the last UK rate hike in 2007 came a few days after the first iPhones went on sale.”Jackson-Stops – Nick Leeming, Chairman“Today’s moderate interest rate rise is unlikely to disturb the housing market.“Good things don’t usually last forever and the end of this golden period of great mortgage deals won’t be a surprise to the majority of prospective and current homeowners.“The market remained fairly stable throughout the General Election and the EU referendum so it would be surprising to see activity levels or house prices fall as a result of such a modest change to interest rates.“Traditionally, higher interest rates mean higher mortgage rates so we may see those already on the fence about moving house take a ‘remain and renovate’ approach instead.“However, this hesitance will not be down to interest rates alone. Over the last year punitive stamp duty levels have been a real drag on the property market and will continue to be unless Philip Hammond announces stamp duty reform across all transfer values in the upcoming Budget.“The combination of stamp duty, high moving costs, economic uncertainty and potential further interest rates rises, will represent a major barrier to home ownership.“If the rumoured first-time buyer stamp duty holiday does come into play it will be a significant boon for this demographic.”Chestertons – Guy Gittins, Head of Sales“Today’s very small increase in the Bank of England base rate is actually good news for the housing market. The knock-on effect will most likely be that Sterling value will increase, potentially demonstrating that we are in a stronger position today than we have been in recent times and giving added confidence to overseas buyers currently looking at opportunities in within the UK.“The housing market has already demonstrated resilience in the face of the snap general election and EU vote, so this is unlikely to have a significant effect. Whilst it does mean that monthly mortgage payments will rise marginally for those on variable rate mortgages, the degree of impact on individual households depends on the size of the mortgage.“For the vast majority, although inconvenient, the small rise will be manageable, equating to approximately £30-£60 more per month on a £300,000 mortgage.  It will also benefit those with savings who will likely start to see higher returns.“[Most] mortgage lenders have already withdrawn lower rate products and relaunched new mortgage deals ahead of this increase, with the remaining lenders set to reprice following this announcement.”Glentree Estates – Trevor Abrahamsohn, Managing Director“There is still uncertainty in the air with Brexit and this will probably be the case until a deal is done, in all probability by October 2018, when the true picture of our trading arrangements with the EU, will become clearer.“I am sure that lenders in the Residential Property market will probably ‘crank’ the mortgage rates up by a ¼%, but I don’t think it will be appreciably more than this for the moment. The point being, that the trend for property owners who borrow is, technically, going the wrong way, although I think it will be a very flat curve and therefore, not too much to worry about.“There is still uncertainty in the air with Brexit and this will probably be the case until a deal is done, in all probability by October 2018, when the true picture of our trading arrangements with the EU, will become clearer.“I am sure that lenders in the Residential Property market will probably ‘crank’ the mortgage rates up by a ¼%, but I don’t think it will be appreciably more than this for the moment.“The point being, that the trend for property owners who borrow is, technically, going the wrong way, although I think it will be a very flat curve and therefore, not too much to worry about.”Haart – Paul Smith, CEO“This rise was predicted and as such we don’t believe it will impact the housing market at all. When you consider interest rates have historically been several percentage points higher, this very small increment should not affect anyone who has borrowed sensibly.“With more stringent borrowing criteria in place we do not see very small increases in interest rates as being a significant impediment to the market. But this rise does show that rates could nudge up in future.“A far bigger threat to the stability and health of the housing market is the punitive levels of stamp duty which the Chancellor should address as a top priority in his budget later this month.”Sandfords – Andrew Ellinas, Director (London)“A 0.25% rise is not going to have a significant impact on the economy as a whole, but it will further depress a falling property market, particularly in prime central London.“Currently, the market is flat.  As an example, there are two blocks of apartments near our Regent’s Park office that are historically very sought-after and if a property came available we would be swamped with buyers and a sale would be made very quickly.“In one of those blocks, in the same month in 2016 there were three apartments on the market and they all sold. This year, there are ten apartments currently available but there are no buyers for them.  In the other block, a very similar situation, there was one property on the market in 2016 and in 2017 there are ten that are not selling.“There are two main reasons for this. The first is that they are overpriced. Vendors still believe that values are what they were two years ago.“I called the top of the market just over a couple of years ago and it has been drifting down ever since, with a bit more yet to go.“With so many tax changes (increased stamp duty, an extra tax for buy-to-let investors and foreign investors’ tax) and Brexit looming, there is too much uncertainty and buyers, particularly overseas investors, have been put off making big financial commitments.“The government is being urged to abolish stamp duty ahead of the budget. Undoubtedly, this would be the best thing to happen to the property market. London is the driving force for every market and scrapping this tax would provide buyers with an incentive to start moving again.”Kay & Co – Martin Bikhit, Managing Director (London)“We expected that after 10 years of bank rates falling that at some point they will rise again so the announcement from the Bank of England is not a surprise.I am sure that for first time buyers and those trying to get a foot on the ladder that this change will have a marginal impact on them, however I don’t expect to see any impact this will have on the London property market.“As rates continue to rise, we may see some effect but this will be a gradual change over a long time period. It is expected that rates will rise to 2% by 2021.”Andrews – David Westgate, Group Chief Executive“The Bank of England’s announcement today should come as no surprise.  This has been mooted for a while now and, in my opinion, is actually long overdue.“In the aftermath of the financial crisis, it made sense that rates should be kept low in order to drive activity in the market.  That was, however, 10 years ago and the time is now right to start readdressing rates.  Given that this is a relatively small increase in the base rate, its impact to most borrowers should be nominal and, assuming they have planned appropriately, relatively easy to adapt to.“What the industry needs to ensure, however, is that it works to stem any knock to confidence amongst consumers that this announcement brings.  Simply hearing news of a rate increase will lead some people to reconsider their financial and property decisions and whilst this is understandable in some respects, these decisions should only ever be made based on personal circumstances and with at least a medium, if not long, term view.“When taken in this context, today’s rate increase should not have any impact on the property market.”     guy gittins Martin Bikhit Jackson-stops Paul SMith haart interest rate rise Knight Frank – James Roberts Mark Carney Nick Leeming MPC Andrew Ellinas Band of England bank interest rate Chestertons Trevor Abrahamsohn November 3, 2017Nigel LewisWhat’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 2021 Home » News » Interest rate rise – will it turn the dials in the housing market? previous nextInterest rate rise – will it turn the dials in the housing market?The Negotiator canvasses the industry’s leaders for its likely effect on the market and the wider industry.NIgel Lewis3rd November 201702,517 Viewslast_img read more

USS Jason Dunham Hosts Navy Chaplain

first_imgBack to overview,Home naval-today USS Jason Dunham Hosts Navy Chaplain USS Jason Dunham Hosts Navy Chaplain February 19, 2013 Share this article A Navy chaplain visited guided-missile destroyer USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109) on Ash Wednesday to provide religious services and visit crew members.Lt. Peter Ott, a chaplain assigned to amphibious dock landing ship USS Rushmore (LSD 47), commenced observance of the 40-day season of Lent by offering religious services and counseling as part of a U.S. 5th Fleet effort to ensure all ships operating in the area have access to religious services.“The Navy cares about Sailors’ well-being and their right and ability to exercise their religious beliefs,” Ott said. “I’m here to help facilitate that the best I can.”U.S. guided-missile destroyers often do not have chaplains permanently stationed on board and rely on command lay leaders to perform worship services. Lay leaders are volunteers appointed by the commanding officer who are trained by chaplains to serve the needs of a particular religious faith group. Lay leaders may conduct religious services, but may not exercise specific activities usually reserved for ordained clergy.Ott said lay leaders are often prohibited from performing sacraments or offering counseling to crewmembers but still do a terrific service for their command. “There’s not much difference between a chaplain and a lay leader, spiritually speaking,” said Ott. “The main thing I bring to the table that a lay leader cannot is confidentiality. A Sailor can walk into my office, talk about personal issues without it becoming a command issue and leave with a weight lifted off their shoulders.”Quartermaster 2nd Class Johnathan Restrepo, USS Jason Dunham’s Protestant lay leader, said the Chaplain brings a lot more than counseling abilities and confidentiality. “Chaplains have different personalities and backgrounds they bring with them,” Restrepo said. “I think the crew gets used to the way the lay leader does things, but having a chaplain on board can make worship a little more exciting and feel like you’re going to church back home.”Restrepo also thinks having a chaplain on board boosts morale by creating an atmosphere of trust and comfort. “Even non-religious crewmembers go to him for advice or just to talk,” said Restrepo. “Just knowing he is there and his door is always open makes a big difference.”USS Jason Dunham is deployed with the John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group to the U.S. 5th Fleet areas of responsibility conducting maritime security operations, theater security cooperation efforts and support missions for Operation Enduring Freedom.[mappress]Naval Today Staff, February 19, 2013; Image: US Navy View post tag: Chaplain View post tag: Naval View post tag: hostscenter_img View post tag: News by topic View post tag: Navy Training & Education View post tag: Jason View post tag: USS View post tag: Dunhamlast_img read more

HMAS Sydney Returns to Its Homeport

first_img Authorities September 26, 2014 Australian Navy’s HMAS Sydney has returned to its homeport in Garden Island, Sydney, after five and a half months on patrol. View post tag: Homeport View post tag: HMAS Sydney Sydney sailed at short notice in early April and was operationally employed in a border patrol role. While Operation RESOLUTE was the largest part of Sydney’s program, the ship’s company also honed their war fighting skills during exercises BERSAMA SHIELD and KAKADU.One of the highlights of the time away for Lieutenant Commander Marc Beecroft was dominating the ‘free-play’ phase of Exercise KAKADU.“Sydney led the Blue Force, comprising of ships from the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force and the Philippine Navy,” Lieutenant Commander Beecroft said.“During the unscripted scenario, we identified and neutralised the red force threat, proving the capability of our weapon systems and our crew’s abilities.”“We also had the chance to host a number of international observers, which gave us the chance to strengthen relationships with foreign Navy personnel,” Lieutenant Commander Beecroft said.Another highlight was visiting the Pemulihan Dalam Community Centre in Lumut, Malaysia after Exercise BERSAMA SHIELD.Over the coming weeks, Sydney will remain alongside conducting deployment preparations before she takes part in exercise TRITON SIM.[mappress]Press Release, September 26, 2014; Image: Australian Navy View post tag: News by topic View post tag: Naval HMAS Sydney Returns to Its Homeport Back to overview,Home naval-today HMAS Sydney Returns to Its Homeport View post tag: Asia-Pacific View post tag: Australian Navy Share this article View post tag: Returns View post tag: Navylast_img read more

Asda pilots RSPB farm scheme on in-store bread

first_imgAsda is piloting a partnership scheme between its in-store bakeries, a group of North Yorkshire farmers and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB).Wholemeal 400g in-store baked loaves, sold in the supermarket’s English stores, now use wheat grown on farms endorsed by the RSPB. And the scheme is likely to be rolled out to other lines if the pilot is successful.Each farmer taking part in the initiative has introduced at least 10 different bird-friendly measures to encourage wildlife back onto their farmland. These measures, designed to help wildlife flourish, include producing an environmental plan of the farm; growing a minimum of 15 hectares of spring crops; cutting ditches once every two years; installing feeding stations – where waste grain and seed is left to provide food for seed-eating birds; leaving a one-metre grass strip between the outer edge of the hedge and the crop edge; and good hedgerow management.Asda agriculture strategy manager Chris Brown, said: “This project has taken two years in the making, so it’s great to see the fruits of our labour.”last_img read more

Grocery Aid hails record £4.3m of welfare spending

first_imgGrocery Aid, which is the trading name of the National Grocers’ Benevolent Fund (NGBF), spent £4.3m on welfare projects, according to its end of year financial results.Last year, more than 7,800 people called the charity or accessed its website for financial and emotional support.The charity’s Carers’ Programme also offered financial and emotional support to around 580 people.The welfare assistance is only possible due to the support of the industry with the charity’s regional branches having a particularly strong year, raising a record £1,163,335 in funds. This emphasises the important role the volunteers play in the success of the charity.General director of Grocery Aid Gillian Barker said: “I am delighted to report that another great year of industry support has enabled Grocery Aid to help even more current and former colleagues in need.”She added: “We have for the first time in our history helped more than 11,000 grocery colleagues.”The charity was founded in 1857 to help people who work or have worked in the grocery sector.last_img read more

Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, & More 1968 Canterbury House Recordings Have Been Found

first_imgThe Michigan History Project has unearthed several seven-inch reel-to-reel audio tapes recorded at a student ministry at the University of Michigan in 1968, including live performances by Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Tim Buckley, Odetta, David Ackles, and Dave Van Ronk. The recordings came out of a countercultural hub in the 1960s, the Canterbury House in Ann Arbor, Michigan.According to Rolling Stone, the Michigan History Project have acquired the special recordings and are in search of a record label interested in releasing them.“We learned of the existence of the tapes about six years ago,” said Alan Glenn, President of the Michigan History Project. “They were in the possession of a private collector. Then they disappeared, and we were afraid they were gone for good. But a few weeks ago they resurfaced, much to our surprise and relief. Now our first priority will be to get them transferred to a digital format, then make sure that the original analog tapes are safely archived.”Chris Goosman, Michigan-based mastering engineer, also said of the recordings, “These from Canterbury House aren’t audience-recorded bootlegs but first-rate soundboard captures made on professional equipment. It’s an amazing collection with the rare combination of being well-recorded and also well-preserved, and that makes it even more historically significant.”The Michigan History Project also confirmed that the recordings were made with consent from the performing artists.Neil Young performed at the Canterbury House on November 8, 9, and 10 of 1968, with the latter two nights featured on his Sugar Mountain – Live at Canterbury House 1968. Though, the November 8th concert has yet to see the day of light. According to Rolling Stone, “It’s unclear which date(s) the Michigan History Project is in possession of.”Rolling Stone also notes that “Artists like Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, Buddy Guy, Sun Ra, Richie Havens and more also performed at the Canterbury House during the era, but recordings of those gigs have not yet been found.”[via Rolling Stone]last_img read more

Mountain Mama: Singing on the Run with Jenny Greer Fares

first_imgOne of my favorite parts of marathon training has been the people I’ve met along the way. Jenny Greer Fares has added so much fun to the miles we’ve shared that I’m excited for you to meet her as she launches a new project, Run Sing Thing .Some people sing in the shower or the car – Jenny sings while running. A musician, Jenny used music to motivate her when she first started running four years ago. Her sister challenged her to start running by listening to a few songs before stopping to rest, and Jenny became hooked.Last November, three miles felt easy, so Jenny looked for a new challenge and found it on the trails of Bent Creek, located in the northern tip of the Pisgah National Forest and minutes outside of Asheville. Jenny stopped smoking cigarettes and for the first time she could smell the possibility after it rained and the musky smell of decomposing leaves.Jenny wore neoprene and fleeces, her hot pink striped running skirt on top adding a splash of color. Her signature dark brown side ponytail peeked through her wool cap. She ran before work, early in the morning. By winter time, she pulled into the empty parking lot and left her heated car to brave the dark woods alone.On one dark January before the grey of dawn graced the sky, her giant white dog, Juice, nudged her until she took him running. That day she forgot to bring her iPod along. She heard owls hooting, coyotes howling, and the crunch of leaves underfoot. As she climbed two thousand feet up the mountain, she felt delirious and tired. Without music to motivate her, she started singing, like she often does in difficult situations, any words that came to her, without over-thinking, after all, nobody was around to hear her.She belted out whatever came to mind, lyrics like “I’m beautiful, I’m wonderful, and I look good.”Her feet felt lighter and she leaned forward into that mountain, charging up the hillside faster than she’d ever run. Singing filled her with a high all its own, similar to the endorphins that flooded her after her run. By then a year had passed since she’d written her last song, and for the first time her mind and body opened up to the creative impulses surrounding her and she became inspired to pursue music again.“Taking a break from music let me learn to love music more. It was like being away from a family member you love. As soon as I called music back, it was right there,” Jenny said.A few months later, she went running up a steep trail to the top of a mountain looking for a song. The pressure was on since she’d scheduled a recording session later the same day. She’d challenged herself to be spontaneous and write whatever came to her in that moment, not over-thinking, and that’s how she wrote Go Deep Down.She ran down the mountain the mountain, its jagged peaks rounded over thousands of years. Jenny imagined the core of the mountain and going that deep to find the source of her suffering. As she ran down the mountain, she went to that deep place and lyrics came to her.Go deep down, take it.And as she sang them aloud, she looked up to the heavens and pulled all the joy and abundance she could think of, letting it move in her body. She realized everything she needed was already there, all she had to do was feel it and sing.Take it down and move it round and roundIf I let it go we can all let it flow If I let it flow than we can all let it go.Jenny recorded that song and shared it with others, realizing how many people related with letting go of things in their lives that no longer serve them. Jenny wanted to find way to teach others this kind of love and help positivity flow.Join Jenny Greer Fares and friends in her latest musical experiment as they launch the Run Sing Thing. It might just be the most fun you can have while running. All ages and skill levels welcome for this casual three-mile run. If you’re not much of a runner, the singing will help. If you’re not much of a singer, then running may help. You’ll be too busy worrying about where to take your next step to worry about either.The Run Sing Thing will be held on Sunday, November 9 at 1 p.m. at Carrier Park in Asheville, N.C. Register at runsingthing.com.Jenny1last_img read more

Interview with Major General César Adonay Acosta Bonilla

first_img Sandra Marina/DIÁLOGO In April 2012, military and civilian leaders from 13 Western Hemisphere countries met in San Salvador for the Central American Security Conference. The event, sponsored by the U.S. Southern Command and the Salvadoran Armed Forces, joined other efforts to strengthen cooperation and counter organized crime in the region. The local host, Major General César Adonay Acosta Bonilla, head of the Joint General Staff of the Salvadoran Armed Forces, took a break to speak with Diálogo about the challenges Salvadoran Military personnel are facing, the violence generated by drug gangs, and his country’s contribution to international peace. Diálogo: What is your primary challenge as head of the Joint General Staff of the Salvadoran Armed Forces? Major General César Adonay Acosta Bonilla, Head of the Joint General Staff of the Salvadoran Armed Forces: We have two primary challenges: continuing the institutional development and professionalization of the Armed Forces, in order to be more effective in executing our missions, and effectively or more effectively executing the plans related to the support given to public safety in the fight against crime. Today, the challenge is also to look for ways [in which] we can integrate these efforts at the regional level, among the Armed Forces, which this forum is in fact about. That’s a challenge in the sense that each country has its unilateral strategies, but our challenge is how to integrate all these strategies around a common objective: fighting transnational organized crime. Diálogo: How do you think that this coordination that you mention can be achieved among the armed forces of the countries of Central America, South America, and the Caribbean? Major General Acosta: A forum like this, like the Central American Security Conference, seeks precisely that, to exchange ideas, approaches, strategies. The key is then how to link those efforts together for the purpose of this grand objective. Consequently, I think that having harmony among our legal frameworks and willingness to join together to unite our efforts is a very important strategy on the basis of which we can develop different plans to fight this plague. Diálogo: Do examples of that cooperation that you mention already exist? Major General Acosta: Of course. In fact, we’ve acknowledged the efforts of General [Douglas] Fraser, whom we recognize as a leader in this, for having the initiative to integrate these efforts, and Operation Martillo is a clear example of seeking this integration of strategies so that our countries can enjoy a greater level of stability that can serve the cause of peace, democracy, and having a more favorable climate for national development. Diálogo: Could you say more about the Salvadoran Armed Forces’ participation in Operation Martillo? Major General Acosta: Operation Martillo began in January, in the Atlantic, while our coasts are on the Pacific. There’s willingness, a desire –in the first place, on the part of the Salvadoran government, to be a part of these efforts. Now the main effort in the Pacific must take its turn. As a country and as the Salvadoran Armed Forces, we’ve already worked out a plan to support this initiative and to integrate these efforts that we’re talking about. We’ve coordinated a way in which we can participate in Operation Martillo with General Fraser, so that it can bear the expected results that we all hope for. Diálogo: Salvadoran Military personnel play a very active and varied role in their country’s life, and in addition, they participate in peace missions in very distant nations from our continent. Could you tell us about the group that will leave soon for Afghanistan? Major General Acosta: Among the major experiences of working jointly –that we’ve conducted shoulder-to-shoulder with the United States, Operation Iraqi Freedom, to which we sent 11 contingents (from 2003 to 2007), stands out. That was a very valuable experience in several senses. First, because we integrated our efforts in favor of world peace, and we worked very well with the U.S. Army, and second, because it enabled us to professionalize our forces through the experience we gained in the operations. We successfully executed the mission that we had in Iraq, and we’re now preparing our second contingent that’s going to Afghanistan, and we’re very happy to do so, as a country and as Armed Forces. We’re going to continue there as long as necessary. Diálogo: How close is the link that exists today between gangs and drug trafficking in El Salvador? What is the Military’s strategy for combating this phenomenon? Major General Acosta: Yes, in effect, the phenomenon of gangs and drug trafficking in El Salvador has a special nuance, because they mix. We recognize that the region is a drug-trafficking corridor, but this drug activity moving from south to north in our countries generates incalculable levels of violence. Gangs become a phenomenon in which there’s also a fight to control the market and the territories, which generates violence. It’s for this reason that we’ve confirmed a local situation in which gangs traffic in weapons, and what we call the retail drug trade, which is a generator of violence, takes shape. Conscious of this, our president ordered the participation of the Armed Forces in decided and direct public-safety support to the National Civil Police, starting on November 6, 2009. Along those lines, various efforts have taken shape. On one hand, with the Zeus Command we’re deployed in 33 areas with the highest crime rates, and more than two years after the start of that effort, the results have been very positive. On the other hand, we’re also conducting operations in support of public safety in the border area, through the Sumpul Command. What we also want at the 62 unauthorized border crossings that we’re covering, is precisely to eradicate and prevent drug trafficking, prevent smuggling, prevent all kinds of illicit goods that might circulate by way of the border. Finally, we have the San Carlos Command. Since we realized that crime orders were originating from correctional institutions, we decided to take partial control of the correctional institutions. Currently, the correctional institutions have taken back that mission, but as the San Carlos Command, we’re continuing to provide security and protection to the correctional institutions. And since 1993, we’ve been supporting the National Civil Police through what we now call the Joint Community Support Groups, which are task forces made up of police officers and soldiers who are in the communities, providing security in order to have there be better levels of security in the different communities. Diálogo: At present, in what way do they collaborate with military personnel from other countries in the region? Major General Acosta: Fortunately, in Central America we have an entity called the Central American Armed Forces Conference, where there is a sincere dialogue among the Armed Forces, and we’re also uniting our efforts to fight crime. One of the ways to do that is the constant coordination that we have among the commanders of border units. We have monthly meetings among commanders; for example, the commander of a Salvadoran border unit meets with the commander of a Honduran border unit and with another commander from a Guatemalan border unit. They meet and coordinate efforts among the border units in order to be able to conduct patrols aimed at locating and apprehending groups of criminals who try to engage in illicit activities. This generates a climate of trust and cooperation among the countries in order to confront the different challenges that we have with transnational threats. Diálogo: If you had the chance to do something more to improve the situation in regard to drug trafficking and transnational organized crime, what would you do? Major General Acosta: As we’ve said, the problem is regional, or the problem is global, and it needs global solutions, First, it’s necessary to look at the origin of this phenomenon. We know that there’s a production base and a consumption base. Between the production base and the consumption base, there’s a route that unites these two phenomena. I believe, then, that structuring a hemispheric strategy aimed at this situation would be interesting to implement because we have strategies to combat the phenomenon of drug trafficking, the phenomenon of organized crime. There’s a strategy to combat it, but I believe that it’s necessary to work hard on a strategy aimed at eradicating production and also aimed at consumption. If there’s production, there’s going to be consumption, and if there’s consumption, there’s going to be production. When the two come together, they generate violence. It would then be necessary to seek ideas or strategies for this part also. Diálogo: Is there anything more that you would like to communicate to Diálogo’s readers? Major General Acosta: I wanted to thank the Southern Command for its presence here [at the Central American Security Conference] and to reaffirm, in the name of the Salvadoran Armed Forces, our willingness to be a part of all efforts that might be generated or carried out so that we can have a better hemisphere, so that the Americas can truly be continents of peace, security, and democracy. By Dialogo May 29, 2012last_img read more

Guatemalan Armed Forces Help Eradicate Heroin-producing Plants

first_img Interagency effort Authorities have also seized 70 vehicles that allegedly were used to traffic drugs, plus an airplane, two boats and 54 firearms. In addition, they also confiscated more than $1.9 million collectively in cash, including quetzales, Mexican pesos, and U.S. dollars. The eradication operation also included flyover experts from the Air Interdiction, Drug Enforcement and Counterterrorism Force (FIAAT), 500 agents from the Office of the Deputy Director General for the Analysis of Drug Enforcement Information (SGAIA) under the National Civil Police (PNC), and 10 prosecutors from the Prosecutor’s Office, according to statements SGAIA Deputy Director Yodzaida García made to the National News Agency. Most of the heroin-producing poppy plants are cultivated in the “Poppy Triangle,” which comprises the municipalities of Tejutla, Ixchiguán and Tajumulco in the department of San Marcos. The department’s elevation of 2,398 meters above sea level results in soil that produces a plant considered to be of high quality for heroin production. Authorities have found poppy plants bearing red, pink, and yellow flowers in the Poppy Triangle, according to Chapas. From February 14th-19th, Guatemala’s Armed Forces and law enforcement agencies teamed up to eradicate more than 17 million poppy plants in 610 fields measuring 45 hectares. The crops could have produced more than $57 million in heroin, authorities said. In 2015, the National Defense Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff reported three eradication operations covering a total of 449 hectares and containing a total of 220,006,135 poppy plants, which would have been worth more than $711 million if they had been converted to heroin. In addition to eradicating poppy and marijuana plants, authorities have now initiated projects to benefit the community. The zone is an impoverished area, where narco-traffickers force farmers to grow poppy. The Armed Forces deployed 150 Soldiers, five specialists, eight junior officers and one senior officer from the Mountain Operations Brigade (BOM) for the mission, stated Army Cavalry Colonel Pedro Reyna Caro. In addition to assisting with personnel, the Army also provided security for prosecutors, in conjunction with the PNC. The security details were necessary because when authorities arrived at the eradication sites, operatives who allegedly worked for the crop owners fired shots and blocked the vehicles’ access to the site. center_img The Guatemalan and U.S. governments are cooperating to assist these populations. For example, the Guatemalan government and the U.S. Embassy provided school supplies in the three communities where authorities conducted this operation, according to Chapas. Many of the poppy fields were in remote locations, which is why the Armed Forces led the mission in cooperation with prosecutors, Drug Crimes Chief Prosecutor Aldo Chapas told Diálogo. In addition to the poppy plants, Troops also destroyed 344,896 marijuana plants worth more than $18 million, according to data published by the Prosecutor’s Office and the National Defense Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Previous eradication efforts By Dialogo May 09, 2016 The Ministry of Defense also assisted by providing BOM facilities in San Marcos, the capital of the department of the same name, to use as a center of operations. Every day, the work teams – spread across the three municipalities where the operation took place – traveled to the work site before spending the night at the BOM facility. A security force with an average of 500 to 600 members, which included between 150 and 200 Military personnel, participated in each operation, according to a report issued by the National Defense Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Interagency efforts have led to more than the eradication of poppy and marijuana crops. The prosecutor’s Office for Drug Crimes reported that the Army also provided assistance for the seizure of 712 kilograms of cocaine and 465 pounds of processed marijuana between January 1st-March 31st. last_img read more

Barnshed Brewing: NY’s Bravest Brewer

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Many people use homebrewing as a relaxing hobby, but for one New York City firefighter, homebrewing became a burning passion that sparked his founding a brewery in his hometown on Long Island.Twelve-year FDNY veteran Bryan Murphy opened Barnshed Brewing in early 2017 in a small warehouse located off Route 107 on the Hicksville-Bethpage border, where he grew up in a large Irish Catholic family. His launch came after raising more than $16,000 on Kickstarter to purchase a used 1-barrel brewing system from a local brewer and becoming a licensed New York State farm brewery. “The support from the community has been tremendous,” Murphy says, “beginning with the Kickstarter campaign and then the enthusiasm of people who come to our tasting room.” Barnshed’s name came from Murphy’s first makeshift brewhouse, a backyard shed shaped like a barn, where he made his homebrews. Many of the beers on tap today in Barnshed’s cozy tasting room open on Thursday and Friday evenings include his first beer, 135 Pale Ale, Propaganda Porter, Murphy’s Lawger, and Bethpage Blonde.       There are usually 12 beers on tap and Murphy likes to experiment with many different styles, including Belgian beers, German hefeweizen, New England IPAs, and Irish stouts.  “Being small, we have the flexibility to brew whatever beers we want,” said Murphy, who still does all the brewing himself.  Most of Barnshed’s production is consumed at the tasting room but beers are also available at a few accounts including BK Sweeney’s in Bethpage, Kegs and Cases in Levittown, and Heneghan’s Tavern in Point Lookout.  “We are self-distributing right now and looking to add a few more accounts,” said Murphy, “but we like where we’re at.”Seasonal beers on tap in October will include Oktoberfest, a Marzen-style dark lager made with chocolate malt, Pumpkin Ale made with traditional pumpkin pie spices including allspice and cinnamon, and Barn Dunkel Weizen, a dark wheat beer.  It’s just the thing to quench a fiery thirst. Barnshed Brewing is located at 100 Lauman Lane in Hicksville. For more information visit barnshedbrewing.com.Bernie Kilkelly is the editor and publisher of LIBeerGuide.com.last_img read more