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Betancourt Prepares Her Book Outside Colombia a Year after Her Rescue

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first_imgBy Dialogo July 02, 2009 Bogotá, July 1 (EFE).- A year after being rescued by the army, former presidential candidate and former FARC hostage Ingrid Betancourt lives outside Colombia. She is in the middle of a divorce, and is finishing a book that everyone predicts will be a best-seller. After six years as a hostage, Betancourt was freed on 2 July, 2008 during an undercover military operation known as “Operation Jaque” together with Americans Marc Gonsalves, Keith Stansell, and Tom Howes, as well as eleven Colombian police and military personnel, some of whom spent more than ten years captive in the jungle. In an operation that is considered almost a masterpiece of military intelligence and that took place a year ago tomorrow, a group of uniformed personnel passed themselves off as humanitarian aid workers and freed the fifteen hostages without firing a shot. “Thank you to the army of my country, Colombia, thank you for the impeccable operation; the operation was perfect,” were the first words of the former hostage when she arrived, free, in Bogotá that day. Betancourt, who was the most valuable hostage held by the guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), was kidnapped on 23 February 2002 in the jungle department of Caquetá while campaigning for that year’s elections, two days after the breakdown of peace negotiations between the administration of then President Andrés Pastrana and the guerilla group. Both her friends and her critics acknowledge that her kidnapping took place in the context of what was almost a provocation, given that the civil and military authorities had recommended that she not go near the region dominated by the guerrillas at a moment of such tension. But her rebellious personality did not allow her to listen to this advice, and she was taken hostage together with her running mate, then-vice-presidential candidate Clara Rojas. She kept up this kind of “insolence” during her years of captivity, as her fellow kidnapping victims have recalled in various books published since their liberation. The most severe critics have been Americans Marc Gonsalves, Keith Stansell, and Thomas Howes, who in their book “Out of Captivity” tell the story of how Ingrid protested when they arrived at the camp at which they met her for the first time because, in her view, this meant sharing the limited space available to the hostages. The Pentagon contractors, captured in 2003 when their airplane crashed in the jungle during an operation in search of FARC cocaine laboratories, recount that Betancourt accused them in front of their kidnappers of belonging to the CIA, placing them in serious danger. The Americans label Betancourt “selfish and lacking solidarity” when it came time to share food, clothing, radios, and books, essential items in the jungle that enabled them to survive better in that hell. Clara Rojas, although she has been discreet, has acknowledged that her relationship with Ingrid deteriorated because “she did not behave like a friend.” One of Betancourt’s unconditional supporters is former senator Luis Eladio Pérez, with whom she appears to have maintained a romantic relationship while kidnapped, according to the Americans’ account in their book. Another supporter is Sgt. William Pérez, a nurse who took care of Ingrid during her most difficult moments and who continues to correspond with her on a weekly basis, as he indicated to EFE. Once freed, Betancourt traveled to Paris, where she was reunited with her children, and where she has filed for divorce from publicist Juan Carlos Lecompte, her second husband, whom she married in Polynesia in 1997. Ingrid petitioned for divorce alleging “de facto separation” for years, while it seems that Lecompte feels offended by the “ingratitude” shown by his wife, according to a report published last week in Caras magazine . Following her rescue, the former presidential candidate traveled to various countries, and she was received by Latin American and European leaders, even the Pope, and was awarded several prizes, among them the Prince of Asturias Award for Concord , due to her “dignity” and “courage.” She was even a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize, after being named “Woman of the Year 2008” by the organization Women’s World Award, sponsored by former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev. In Colombia, these awards have been met with ill-will in some sectors, as many former hostages and members of civil society believe that Betancourt is no more deserving than other former kidnapping victims who continue to work for peace away from the spotlight. At present, Ingrid divides her time between Paris and New York, makes few public appearances, and is concentrating on writing her dramatic story, a book that even before reaching bookstores, it is destined to become a best-seller.last_img read more

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NY Hunter Education course being offered online

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first_img“People fall out of tree stands, you would not believe it. Experienced hunters, turkey hunters shoot each other. It’s things that we pick up on and we tell them there’s certain things they can do to prevent incidents,” said Hektor. It’s typically offered in-person, but because of the coronavirus, it’s now being offered online. Hektor says those field lessons are important for one reason. “When we have the training here we do field work. We actually take the students out to the fire range, as you can hear in the background, and we let them shoot state guns,” said Hektor. Hektor says there are things he teaches his students hands-on during a typical eight hour course. The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation says the course will be available online until June 30. For example, loading your vehicle with your firearm or crossing a fence with your firearm. “Most of the instructors are old like myself. My father who is 96 and has been an instructor for 73 years. So we pass on our experiences to the new students,” he said. The online course cost $19.95, a new fee put in place by the software developer, which isn’t required for the in-person classes.center_img “Safety. Our number one concern is safety for the hunter in the field,” he said. Hektor also says the instructors teaching the in-person classes have years of knowledge. Having an instructor in the same room allows them to share some real-life experiences. “We are volunteers, we don’t get paid, the DEC doesn’t get paid, the only money they get paid from is when you go to get their license,” said Broome County hunter safety coordinator Alan Hektor. (WBNG) — The New York Hunter Education course is required to purchase a hunter license in the state. While the online class is convenient, hunting officials are voicing concerns about the course being offered in the non-traditional way. For more information on how to sign up, click here.last_img read more

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CDC, CSTE release online H5N1 readiness course

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first_imgMay 15, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) today released a 3-day online course to teach state and local public health officials how to respond to human cases of H5N1 avian influenza.The course, titled “CDC/CSTE Rapid Response Training: The Role of Public Health in a Multi-Agency Response to Avian Influenza in the United States,” is available on the CSTE Web site. It consists of six modules that cover surveillance, case management, personal protective equipment, poultry farm investigation, management and public health action, and laboratory issues. The downloadable materials include lectures, presentations, case studies, tabletop exercises, and other items.Jennifer Lemmings, deputy director of programs for the CSTE, told CIDRAP News the materials are freely available to individuals or groups and are designed to meet the multidisciplinary needs of a wide range of public health professionals. Though the course is intended to provide 3 days of group instruction, the modules can be shortened or modified to meet the needs of different public health workers.The online course was developed from courses that the CDC and CSTE conducted early this year in Washington, DC, Denver, and Atlanta. A key component of the training is coordination between veterinary and human public health agencies at all governmental levels, the CDC said in a press release today.”The unique aspect of the training is that it brings together human and animal health professionals, who would work together as part of a multidisciplinary response to an avian influenza threat,” said Joshua Mott, an epidemiologist in the CDC’s influenza division who led the course development. “Importantly, this training also teaches public health response skills that are applicable to other emerging diseases.”The CDC and CSTE developed the online curriculum with educators at the North Carolina Center for Public Health Preparedness. Support for the regional courses and the online adaptation came from a $2 million grant from the CDC.No human or avian infections with the lethal strain of H5N1 have been reported in North America. Birds in 58 countries have tested positive for the virus, while 12 countries have reported human H5N1 cases.See also:May 15 CDC press releasehttp://www.cdc.gov/media/pressrel/2007/r070515.htmlast_img read more

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ECTAA: Greece, Portugal, Cyprus and Bulgaria record good package sales, while Turkey, Egypt and Tunisia recover

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first_imgDespite a slight decline in bookings during May and June, most European markets recorded good travel sales for the summer of 2018, the conclusion is ECTAA-e.According to the results of a short telephone survey conducted by the ECTAA office on June 11, 2018, the markets of the 10 countries for which ECTAA received data are recording good sales. Representatives of several markets said a slight drop in bookings was felt during May and June, most likely due to people being less inclined to travel due to the World Cup and mostly good weather in Europe. In addition, representatives of national associations of travel agencies that participated in the survey, pointed out problems related to the specific situation in certain markets (announcement of strikes, security, overbooking, etc.).Travel sales statusMarkets that recorded good sales of the arrangement are Greece, Portugal, Cyprus, Bulgaria, etc. The markets of Turkey, Egypt and Tunisia are recovering. The stagnation of travel sales was recorded for the markets of Spain and the USA. The reasons may be in the earlier and direct reservations of passengers and, in the case of suppliers, the lack of capacity in air transport, which has appeared, for example, in the Austrian and Swiss markets due to the insolvency of airlines. More details on the results of the survey can be found in the attachment.Attachment: Booking trends for summer 2018 & general market trendsBooking trendsEuropean Commission Tourism Report for the first quarter of 2018 (ETC 1st quarter report) provides an overview of international tourist arrivals in Europe. In 2017, there was an increase of 8% in international tourist arrivals. Turkey and Iceland achieved the highest growth with 28% and 24%, respectively. Very good results were achieved by Montenegro (+ 19%), Serbia (+ 18%), Malta (+16), Slovenia, Croatia, Cyprus, etc.The ETC predicts that, thanks to favorable economic developments, travel growth will continue in 2018. However, airfare and hotel accommodation prices are expected to rise, making it more expensive to travel to Europe. Growth will continue, but more slowly. Read more in the attachment.Attachment:1.ECTAA: Travel Sales Survey for Summer 20182. Table of Statistics – European travel agents and tour operators RELATED NEWS:ECTAA: PRESS RELEASE ON BETTER PROTECTION OF PASSENGERS IN AIR TRANSPORTBORIS ŽGOMBA RE-ELECTED IN THE HIGHEST BODY OF ECTAAlast_img read more

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