Possum Dark and Shivering Cold: A Close Call on Duncan Ridge

first_imgI drove home with the heater blowing full blast. After my clothes dried some more, I stopped at a convenience store pay phone and called Page. I started quaking again before I finished dropping the quarters into the slot. The same thing happened in the driveway at home. As soon as I opened the back-seat door to grab my gear, I immediately started quivering with the startling intensity of a flu-fevered chill. After nearly two hours of high heat, the reflex was still ready and waiting to pounce with the slightest provocation from the cold.Page had a well-heated home, a mug of hot chocolate, and a bowl of soup waiting for me. After a quick supper, I stripped out of my still-damp clothes and submerged myself in a tub of warm water. As my body relaxed, the long muscles running down the front of my thighs cramped repeatedly and painfully from hip to knee. Another first.Later that night, thoroughly thawed and cramp free, I remembered the compass I always carry in my daypack. I couldn’t believe I had forgotten about my compass. Map and compass, map and compass, I always carried a map and compass in my pack’s top pocket, but what good had it done when I was too addled to remember it. I lifted The Hiking Trails of North Georgia off the bookshelf and looked up what I had written about hypothermia:Wet clothes can lead to heat loss and increase your chances of hypothermia. Remember, wool retains its insulating qualities when it is wet; cotton does not… The first symptom is shivering. Continued shivering means continued seriousness. Shivering may be followed by slurred speech, impaired judgment, weakness, and loss of coordination. The final symptom is unconsciousness.The next morning I quickly came to two conclusions concerning the woefully wrong-headed and compulsive thinking of the afternoon before. Why hadn’t I made the obvious choice, the only rational and logical and no-brainer choice, and followed the blue-blazed path behind the brush piles down to Mulky Gap and the car? Most reroutes are relatively short and tie right back into the existing treadway. Even if there were a few deadfalls, the soon-to-be bypassed segment would have been exponentially better than stumbling headlong willy-nilly off the side of the mountain. So why hadn’t I followed the blocked-off path once I couldn’t find the reroute? I had looked at the map and made a blatantly bonehead decision, a decision hopelessly impaired by the loss of judgment and panic of hypothermia. The hindsight answer was easy: I had butted up against the bottom of the symptom list, the final one where you don’t make it home to a hug and hot chocolate.And once I had made the helter-skelter decision to plunge off the top of the peak like a crazed mountain goat, I repeatedly worried about striking FS 4 south of Mulky Gap. That, of course, was an unfounded fret. If I had swung a little more to the south than I did the day before, I would have run right into the trail and followed it down to the gap. And if I hadn’t come to or crossed a well-defined footpath, that, of course, meant a right turn onto the road would have led to the car. Duh.That morning hypothermia transformed from a CYA passage in my own guidebook—something as alien as a mid-day possum that might happen to someone else, some inexperienced rookie—to a real and relevant danger. I had learned an important lesson about hypothermia’s cold-weather conspirators, collective risk and human error, and its insidious MO. Hypothermia’s early stages are comparable to the beginning symptoms of drunkenness, in that your steadfast belief that you are still in control is the illusion, while the denied reality of impaired function is increasingly the fact.Hypothermia can turn you—anyone, everyone—into a stammering, stump-dumb, scatter-brained fool. It can make you clumsy and incoherent. Unconscious and dead. The invisible line between calculated risk and recklessness is a highly permeable membrane, slick as a sleet-covered root. Poor judgment is the most dangerous grizzly in the woods. Nature bats last and natural selection never sleeps; it doesn’t even catnap. It’s always out there—unwavering as gravity, silent as a meditating shadow, indifferent as time.In his book Natural Acts, David Quammen borrowed a detailed description of hypothermia to add factual data to his chapter A Deathly Chill. Here is some of that description borrowed again:…As that core temperature falls, the symptoms of hypothermia trauma develop in progressive stages. A physician and mountaineer named Ted Lathrop, in a pamphlet published by the Mazamus Climbing Club, has described those stages in detail.Dropping from a normal 98.6° down to 96° at the body core, the victim will show uncontrollable shivering and a distinct onset of clumsiness. From 95° down to 91° the shivering will continue, and now speech will become slurred, mental acuity will decrease, there may also be amnesia. During this stage often come those crucial mistakes in judgment that prevent a victim from taking certain obvious steps that could save him from death. Between 90° and 86° the shivering will be replaced with extreme muscular rigidity… The lowering sky wrapped the rising ridgeline in a dim and gauzy gray. The final grade to Rhodes Mountain rose through forested mist. On the backside of Rhodes, the hardwoods shaped themselves again as I followed the downgrade toward the next gap. The turbulent mix of the colliding air masses—Gulf of Mexico warm, Canadian cold—began to spawn small slanting raindrops as the track began its ascent to a low, unnamed knob. I stopped and thought about turning back, but a quick calculation of time and distance convinced me that I couldn’t catch Steve and Greg before they reached my car. Now I had no vehicle behind me and five peaks, over 6 miles, deteriorating weather, and a car with a good heater in front of me.I slung off my daypack and quickly donned my wool sweater. I looked inside the double lining of trash compactor bags for my poncho. I saw only one stuff sack: my rain jacket. I felt around for the other stuff sack in the bottom of the inner bag. Nothing. I pulled the two water-proof liners out of my pack. Nothing in the bottom of the pack, nothing between bag layers. Then I remembered. The week before I had removed my poncho from my daypack to prolong its life with seam sealer. I had hung it up to dry in the spare bedroom and forgotten to pack it in my hurry last night.I put on my rain jacket and stood there, mulling over what no poncho meant. It meant I was going to get wet below the waist and cold. Wet was a given, how cold the wild card. I now had on all there was at hand: ball cap, cotton T-shirt, flannel shirt, wool sweater, rain jacket, lightweight and fast-drying khaki pants. The night before I had debated whether to wear my polypro longjohn top instead of the cotton T-shirt. Cotton had won because I could put three layers over it, and between poncho and rain jacket, I knew I wasn’t going to get wet anyway. The night before, in the warm house, the insulating long underwear seemed like hot and sweaty overkill.The cloud-dark sky clamped down lower and colder. I stopped to weigh my options, then started wheeling at a slightly faster pace. The cold rain fell harder and settled into the steady rhythm of a shower. Despite the cooling temperature, I still sweated inside my jacket on the upridge pulls. Although I was hiking steadily between stops, I wasn’t making good time or even average progress. Note taking had become an excruciatingly slow process. Each time, I took the notebook out of my jacket pocket, hunched over, forced the wet pages open to the place-holder pencil, wrote as fast as I could until the page was too sodden to accept lead, thumbed ahead to drier paper, wrote some more, skipped ahead.The rain popped on my jacket. The temperature continued to dip, down into the 40s now for sure. My breath billowed white smoke when I stopped to take notes on the harder uphills. The interiors of the monochromatic clouds—formless and flowing—darkened to charcoal gray. My pants were soaked from jacket bottom to boots. My wool sweater was becoming increasingly wet from rain water finding its way down and through my beat-up jacket. I would have been fine if only I had my poncho like on every other hike except this one. Yeah, and if frogs had pockets, they could carry pistols to shoot snakes with. And if your aunt had balls, she’d be your uncle.I rolled my measuring wheel east along the well-defined line of Duncan Ridge, following the lift and fall of named mountains and knobs through the dense gray void of liquid vapor. The ridge crowned over Gregory Knob at mile 5.8, over Payne Knob at mile 6.3. Well over half way now for sure—cold but still OK. The afternoon was now the deepest shade of gray I had ever hiked through: a dark dusk nearly the color of wet cement.As I stood writing notes on the way down from Payne, I held stock still and stared as a slow-moving mammal crossed straight over the top of the fold, left to right, no more than 30 feet in front of me. The primitive animal remained unperturbed; it scarcely picked up its pace after spotting me. It was a possum, its prehensile tail scaly and rat-naked, its fur a much lighter gray than the surrounding mist. A minute before, I would have bet the wet shirt off my back and the two twenties in my wallet that such a mid-day sighting of an active possum would have been out of the question, impossible.The dim-witted critter broke my tunnel-vision concentration. I stood there, cold and baffled, trying to process the rarity and portent of crossing paths with a possum on a Southern Appalachian ridgeline in early afternoon. The day had darkened enough to stimulate the nocturnal marsupial into diurnal activity, that much was certain.The appearance of the possum struck me as a reprimand and a warning—nature’s own foreshadowing as potent as any image a director could have plotted on the same cold-mountain movie set. The whole scene seemed incongruous. Neither of us should have been abroad in this weather at this time of day. I should have been home waiting for a sunny and dry day; the possum should have been denned up waiting for nightfall. Looking around, I now felt the full foreboding of being all alone and cold in the dark gray rain. Alone and cold in mist-bound mountains indifferent to human error—or beseeching prayer.I walked faster. My world turned inward to a small, tag-along circle of visibility, increasing cold, and growing worry. I began to shiver when I stopped to write notes. Sleet mixed with the rain, then switched to all sleet as I followed the narrow treadway up the northern flank of Parke Knob. The wind quartered in steady from what I guessed was the northwest. The breeze blew just hard enough to shoot the icy birdshot down at a slant that stung the left side of my face a bit. No big deal, but definitely another bad sign. The wind-slung ice lasted only fifteen to twenty minutes, but the emphatic sound of it ticking off my jacket, then crunching underfoot, drove home the certainty that I should not have pushed ahead without my poncho. Dumb move. I chanted a pep talk through chattering teeth: stay positive, keep moving, you’ll be OK, keep thinking, keep moving, you’ll be all right—my mantra crowding out increasingly uncomfortable thoughts. By the time I reached Fish Gap at mile 7.9, I had begun shivering violently every time I stopped. I guessed I had no more than 3 miles to go and, if necessary, I could stop wheeling and haul ass for the warmth and security of Steve’s car. I reached the topknot of the penultimate mountain, Clements, as the rain lessened to a thick, glasses-fogging mizzle. But as the rain subsided, the temperature began to drop even more as the cold front wedged through and the wind increased its evaporative cooling. Upper 30s at least, possibly mid-30s on the summits according to my bare-hand thermometers. My convulsive shaking continued for longer distances between stops.I quit taking notes. On my way up the last mountain, Akin, I slipped on a sleet-slick root and fell, thudding to the ground on my right-side hip, ribs, and shoulder. I lay on the thin layer of pellet ice a few moments, taking inventory of pain and moving parts. Other than the shock of its suddenness and having the breath knocked out of me, I was uninjured and soon scrambled to my feet. It was the first time I had ever fallen while holding a hiking stick in one hand and a measuring wheel in the other.The fall knocked out more than my breath. It knocked out the last of my denial too: I was more than just cold and wet—way more. I was already in the early stages of hypothermia and getting colder fast. My body and brain were sliding further down the list of increasingly serious symptoms. My movements were becoming uncoordinated; my thoughts were becoming sluggish and stuttering. I remembered what I had once read about hypothermia: that by the time you realize you’re in trouble, you’re really in trouble.Fear’s first clench grabbed my gut: natural selection’s greedy fingers come to say hello. All right…buck up…get with it…get moving…keep moving…keep going…watch your footing. Heat…heat is only…a mostly downhill…a mostly downhill mile away. OK…yeah…keep moving…keep moving.On top of Akin at close to mile 10.0, several piles of branches barricaded the continuing trail straight ahead. I stood there for a few moments, dumbstruck, trying to process what this meant. Then I got it: this stretch of the tread had been rerouted, or was in the process of being rerouted, for an indeterminate length. I backtracked and searched for the new blaze and reroute that had to be there. Nothing. I traced a couple of concentric circles through the mist-murk atop the mountain’s small crown. Nothing, no luck.I stood there, trying to think, my head shaking furiously, my teeth clicking like cartoon dentures, the warm outflow of my breath pulsing in quick white puffs. My shivering was now a brain-rattling seizure I couldn’t stop. My whole body screamed for relief. I had reached a tense and teetering edge, one where all control would start to slip away if I dropped any further down the symptom list.Time to go, time to get out of here. Get warm. That’s it. Get warm. Get off this mountain. Car. Car. Get to the damn car. Something. Anything. Get moving. Get going. Do it. Do it! Do it!!I unfolded my Chattahoochee National Forest map, but couldn’t hold it still enough to make out the details. I tried to chant my drill sergeant’s marching commands out loud—“rock steady, rock steady”—to calm myself, but all I managed was a series of gasping grunts, loud and panicked. I wadded the map to the area I needed, sat down, stretched it taut across my trembling knee and located Akin. I abruptly decided to bail, to jump off the north side of the mountain, then curl to the right and down as I lost what turned out to be 750 feet of elevation to the road. I was afraid I would strike the road in a place where it wouldn’t be obvious which way led to Mulky Gap, so I decided to intersect the road either at the car or to the north of it. No time for screwing up now.I dropped straight off the mountaintop. After a minute or two, I ran smack into slash from a clear-cut. I skirted the cut down and to the right from its upslope edge. Thrashing through the wet woods generated some heat but drenched my pants even more. I kept getting the spokes of my measuring wheel hung up in branches. It shouldn’t have been that difficult to hold the big orange wheel so it wouldn’t get snagged, but I couldn’t manage it. I bushwhacked through the forest down and down, below the view-obstructing clouds now, my movements increasingly clumsy, my route choices often slow and wrong. The synapses between the rest of my body and brain had grown gummy; neither focus nor force of will would make my body behave with customary coordination. I fell in semi-controlled slides, feet first on the wet or sleet-covered leaves.I kept slanting downslope and to the right through hardwoods and evergreen heath shrubs. The road had to be out there somewhere. I was confused by muddled and conflicting fears for a minute or two. I stopped to weigh the worrisome thoughts, but the racking shiver-seizures immediately shook me like a terrier shaking a ragdoll. I started down the pitch again, moving faster. But the faster I bushwhacked down the steep slant of the slope, the more likely I was to fall. And the more I fell, the more likely I was to become hurt or seriously injured. Injured?   An injury…Jesus Christ…that would be dicey. But a slower and more careful pace…that…that…that meant continued exposure to the cold…which might…could…freeze my ass beyond mindful function. The conflict was short lived. My mind was too numb to fear falling for long. Both mind and body became fixated on the same objective again: the car…the white car…the white car with its savior heater.I stumbled down and down, crashing through the low understory brush, in a single-minded rush, a barely controlled panic. I worked my way to a light gap opened by half a dozen wind-thrown oaks. Down and to the far left margin of the partial view sat Steve’s white Mitsubishi, not where I thought it would be but as welcome as a winning lottery ticket and only a few minutes away. I had angled too hard to the right; my trajectory would have led me to the road south of the gap and car. I patted my pocket to quell a “what-if” that had suddenly erupted through my good cheer. The car keys were still there.Changing tack, I slipped and stumbled and slid down the steep slope toward deliverance and Dahlonega. I tried to grip hiking stick and measuring wheel in my left hand so I could use my right to grab trees to keep from falling on the slush-slick leaves. I repeatedly dropped wheel or stick as I pin-balled from bole to bole, and fell in slow motion several times as I attempted to pick one of them up. My legs became even more uncooperative; they frequently failed to accomplish the bidding of my mind’s will in a timely manner. I told my feet to stop, hit the brakes, but they kept right on stepping instead. I told my feet to coordinate with my hand’s quick reach for branch or trunk holdfasts, but I tobogganed on my butt instead.My spastic hand clicked the key on surrounding metal before I managed to slide it into the car-door slot. Same with the ignition switch. I buried the heat lever into the red zone and drove off into the dusk. I met no other vehicles on the dirt-gravel road, which was good because I couldn’t steer Steve’s car in a straight line while my hands trembled against the wheel. I was drunk from the cold.My fits of full-body shakes slowly subsided to intermittent spasms, then gradually abated to quick shuddering gasps as I entered Dahlonega. The city lights were shining, and it was nearly dark when I made my first circuit around the square. I cruised slowly around and around, but couldn’t locate either my hiking buddies or my old Subaru. Finally, Steve jumped off the curb and flagged me down. He told me they had gone into a Laundromat to dry some of their wet clothes. They had seen me make four passes. Each of the last three times they had run closer and closer to the road, yelling and waving, sure I would see or hear them. “You looked right at us several times.”He told me to call Page, my wife to be, before I drove home. He had called her at least an hour earlier to find out if she had heard from me. “She’s really worried. I told her what happened; I told her about the rain, but I didn’t tell her how cold and dark it got. We were worried too; we thought you might have gotten lost in the fog or gotten in trouble because of the cold. Man, it was spooky dark up there; we were in the clouds until we descended way down off Wallalah. It must have been rough up there for so long. We waited for 15 or 20 minutes at the trailhead, but we knew that you knew you couldn’t catch us, so we left and came here. How was it?   I know you were wet and cold.”I wanted to tell him about the possum, the sleet, the first fall; about shaking out of my shoes, the blocked path, the bushwhack, and almost missing his car, but I was unable to utter the necessary sentences. All I could manage was a laconic, “Yeah, it was rough out there. I don’t think I’ll do anything that dumb again.”center_img North of Gainesville, the higher folds of the foothills ripple toward the upper Piedmont’s meeting with the mountains. North of Dahlonega, the clouds drifted low and unbroken, a solid ceiling of discouraging gray from horizon to horizon. Past Suches on Highway 60, the weather looked even worse. The sky was now a denser and darker gray. The clouds had become a thick matting, an opaque lid, sealing off and shutting out the sun.Two friends and I had met shortly after sunrise to begin our drive from Athens to the North Georgia mountains. I was on the clock, under pressure to complete a second edition of my trail guide. Steve and Greg had joined me for a day of ridgecrest hiking along the northern border of the Coopers Creek Wildlife Management Area.Steve parked his shuttle car on the pull-off shoulder of FS 4 at Mulky Gap. Then he joined Greg and me for the drive back down the dirt-gravel forest service road to 60, where we continued northwestward on the winding mountain highway to our starting-point trailhead beside Little Skeenah Creek.My goal for the day was to hike the first half of Section 2 of the Duncan Ridge National Recreation Trail. Despite its relatively low elevations, Section 2 was the most strenuous long stretch of trail in Georgia. Back in 1985, the route roller-coastered along its namesake ridgeline, climbing up and over nearly every peak before dropping to the next gap. Because of its length and difficulty, I had made the easy decision to split the section into two manageable segments for wheel measuring and note taking.The TV forecast—rain accompanied by colder temperatures likely—had seemed more abstract, less bothersome, the night before. A cold front was closing in on the mountains, but there was a chance it would arrive late enough for us to finish our hike dry, or wet us only for a mile or two at the tag end of our trek. But now the dark sky was working on our minds and moods. Our good-humored banter at the early morning rendezvous had turned glum. Our conversation became intermittent, then sagged into silence. We were three sons of World War Two fathers; no one wanted to be the first to pull the plug, to whimp out. We held our own counsel and followed our flagging momentum to Little Skeenah Creek.It was early April, transition season in Highland Dixie, when winter eddies back into spring’s flow: bipolar-weather time with meteorological swings from sunny and warm one day to snow in the highcountry the next. But I wasn’t particularly worried. Weather forecasters had cried wolf way too often; time and time again my days in the mountains had turned out better than predicted. I had begun to view forecasts as worst-case scenarios and started to ignore anything less than an 80 percent chance of an all-day rain with scattered tornadoes. I also had begun to view myself as a hardy and competent backcountry hiker, one who always carried map, compass, and matches, extra flannel shirt, rain jacket, and poncho.Across the bridged creek we began the meandering ascent to the first mountain—the one with the euphonious name of Wallalah—through red maple, American holly, and towering white pine straight as sunbeams. Spring’s annual resurrection had just begun its first blush down low along Little Skeenah. Christmas fern crosiers poked up pale green and fuzzy. Trout lily and Catesby’s trillium had punched small leaves up into the vernal light. The flowering dogwoods seeking the highway’s sun gap had yet to whiten the roadside woods. Their newly born-again leaves were still tiny points of pastel green.We ascended a ridgeline with mountain laurel under oaks and a few tall shortleaf pines. Ten minutes later, we flipped the calendar back a page as we climbed into the colder country of Southern Appalachian winter above the last trees with thickened buds. Back at our lowland homes, the greening forests and fields matched the month’s picture of a warm and resurgent spring. But up here, above spring’s quickening thrust, we walked through hardwoods winter-stripped and starkly skeletal against the somber gray sky. The thatch of their discarded leaves rasped underfoot. The temperature felt like low to mid-50s, not bad at all heading uphill with a pack on your back. We followed the blue blazes past our first good view of the day—a rock outcrop overlook open toward Toonowee Mountain across Highway 60 to the south. The higher peaks were already shrouded in mist, their summits sheared off and buried in cloud belly.The undercoating of the flat-bottomed clouds continued to grow thicker and darker. They were now as dark as the air-borne water bladders of thunderstorms and looked ready to burst. The three of us crossed Wallalah’s rocky crown and kept walking, descending to Section 2’s first prominent saddle. After a straight-up-the ridge grunt, we took our first sit-down break at mile 3.2 atop the nearly level summit of Licklog Mountain, at 3,470 feet a modest peak by Mountain South standards. On Licklog’s crown—1,455 feet higher than the trailhead, close to five degrees cooler from elevation gain alone—we could still look out and down from late winter to early spring.The cold front’s first volley gave a low whistling voice to the tuliptree and oak. Our climb sweat chilled in the wind. As we were standing up to start moving again, Greg—a contemplative botanist and reluctant long-distance hiker—announced that he wanted to turn back. Steve and I now had cover; neither of us would be the first to wimp out. The three of us fidgeted through an awkward silence. Normally good to go in most any kind of weather, Steve finally said he still felt weak from a bad cold and didn’t want to risk a relapse. Momentum and an unwillingness to lose a day of work made me want to forge ahead. Sensing my reluctance to turn back, Steve called my bluff and offered to swap car keys and wait for me at the courthouse in Dahlonega. Greg agreed. I accepted their gracious, guilt-induced offer, told them I would hike hard, then pushed my measuring wheel away into the late morning and worsening weather.last_img read more

Big Cocaine Seizure Made Off Guatemala’s Pacific Coast

first_imgBy Dialogo December 07, 2009 The Guatemalan navy and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration detained 12 people who were transporting 2,000 kilos (about 2.2 tons) of cocaine aboard four speedboats off Guatemala’s Pacific coast, officials said. A Guatemalan army spokesman told reporters that the joint operation was carried out in the country’s territorial waters, some 80 nautical miles off the coast of the southern province of Escuintla. Because it was an operation led by the DEA and the case is still under investigation, the identities and nationalities of the suspects were not revealed. According to local media, the drug smugglers departed from South America and had Mexico as their final destination. On Oct. 21, the DEA, with the support of the Guatemalan navy, captured a semi-submersible vessel in which three Colombians and two Mexicans were transporting five tons of cocaine. That shipment was seized off Guatemala’s Pacific coast and was the biggest cocaine haul ever confiscated in that country’s territory. About 11 tons of cocaine have been seized this year in Guatemala, according to official figures. Separately, Guatemalan security forces seized a shipment of 82,899 tablets of pseudoephedrine – the key ingredient in methamphetamine – that had been shipped from Bangladesh. The pseudoephedrine, whose importation and sale has been banned in Guatemala since February, was found at a warehouse near La Aurora international airport. The shipment of the drug had been hidden in a shipment of women’s clothing that had recently arrived in Guatemala from the Asian country, the National Police’s press office said.last_img read more

Peruvian Armed Forces Deploy New Aircraft in Fight against Drug Trafficking and Terrorism

first_imgBy Dialogo June 02, 2016 The investment in the VRAEM includes assistance and incentive programs for farmers who replace illegal coca crops with alternative crops. The funds will also go towards implementing police stations and other initiatives. The additional aircraft will assist the Armed Forces in their ongoing efforts to fight organized crime and terrorism in the VRAEM. For example, in May 2016, the Peruvian Police’s Executive Counter-Terrorism Directorate (DIRCOTE) seized explosive material, garments such as boots and scarves, a solar panel, and others belonging to the Shining Path in the VRAEM area. Police General José Baella, DIRCOTE’s executive director, told Diálogo that the intervention was carried out in the Cusco districts of La Convención and Echarati, in the jurisdiction of the VRAEM, under the framework of the 2016 Caletas II Operation. “We have located at least 10 caches or hiding places [in the jungle] where terrorists kept war materials for use in different subversive operations.” The Military has added 24 helicopters, seven Cessna 172 Sky Hawks, a Piper PA-44, and four other aircraft that can transport Troops and strengthen the Armed Forces’ efforts to fight the illegal drug trade and terrorism, according to an analysis by Roberto Chiabra, Defense Minister under the administration of President Alejandro Toledo (2001-2006). Céspedes applauded the government “investing in roads, prioritizing investment in social infrastructure, and increasing social programs that reduce poverty and provide basic services such as water, sewage, and electricity”. The National Commission for Development and Life without Drugs (DEVIDA), stated there are plans to invest about $5.1 million in 2016 to combat the illegal cultivation of coca in the VRAEM. The institution said the budget represents a 10 percent increase over 2015. Consequently, strengthening the operational capacity of the Armed Forces has improved public security, particularly in the country’s main coca-growing regions, such as the Apurímac, Ene, and Mantaro Rivers Valley (VRAEM) and in the regions of Ayacucho, Junín, and Cusco. “Government security forces are confronting drug trafficking in the VRAEM, which poses the greatest security challenge in the region,” Gen. Acosta stated, adding that the government is also investing in roads, schools, and providing health care in the region. center_img The Special VRAEM Command Chief, Peruvian Army General Fernando Acosta, stressed that the Peruvian government’s strategy, which consists of coordination between the police and Military, is enabling an expansion of government presence in areas that had been overtaken by narcotrafficking. “There is an intelligence committee that is operating on a permanent basis in the VRAEM area to determine the circumstances and the perpetrators of the ambush.” Using public funds to improve conditions in areas where organized crime groups and terrorists operate is a good investment, said Rubén Vargas Céspedes, a security analyst who studies drug trafficking, adding that providing legal alternatives to farmers is also an important component of the government’s anti-crime strategy. “It is important to generate a greater number of productive chains in the coca-growing areas focused on the export of quality products like cocoa and coffee to the international market. They could even create special credit and advisory programs.” Peruvian Armed Forces and police cooperate Fighting drug trafficking “Security forces seized 49 sticks of dynamite, 20 plastic containers [booby traps], an ammunition belt for a machine gun, material for making apparel [cartridge belts, backpacks], a rocket-propelled grenade, and a minesweeper,” Gen. Baella explained. Peruvian authorities have strengthened the operational capacity of the Armed Forces by adding new aircraft to fight terrorism and drug trafficking in coca-growing regions. In these locations, wild vegetation and geographical complications work in favor of the criminals and terrorist groups like the Shining Path, which is engaged in narcotrafficking. “With its new capabilities, the Armed Forces will also be able to handle crime, El Niño, and other acts of nature,” Chiabra said. “That equipment has multipurpose characteristics that are vital to operating efficiently in the difficult Peruvian geography.” last_img read more

Grosvenor gets fingers burned on City store

first_imgTo access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week. Would you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletterslast_img

Manchester United plot bargain £35m transfer deal for Arsenal forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

first_imgMan Utd have expressed interest in signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Arsenal (Picture: Getty)Manchester United have expressed interest in signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang this summer – and believe the striker could be prised away from Arsenal for £35million.Aubemeyang has established himself as one of the most prolific goalscorers in Europe over the past decade, first thriving at Borussia Dortmund and now for Arsenal.After scoring an impressive 141 goals in 213 appearances for Dortmund, Aubemeyang joined Arsenal in 2017 and has already netted 61 goals for the Premier League club.The Gabon international is set to break an Arsenal record by becoming the fastest player to reach 50 Premier League goals for the club, although he will have to wait to eclipse Thierry Henry due to the coronavirus outbreak.ADVERTISEMENT Euro 2020 postponed over coronavirusTo view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web browser that supports HTML5 video Play VideoLoaded: 0%0:00Progress: 0%PlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration Time 1:05FullscreenEuro 2020 postponed over coronavirushttps://metro.co.uk/video/euro-2020-postponed-coronavirus-2132178/This is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.Read the latest updates: Coronavirus news liveAdvertisementAdvertisementAubemeyang will have just one year remaining on his Arsenal contract come the summer and The Sun say Arsenal are resigned to the fact he will not sign a new deal.Head of football Raul Sanllehi and technical director Edu are desperate for Aubemeyang to put pen to paper but the 30-year-old is reluctant as he wants to be playing Champions League football next season.The Gunners were knocked out of the Europa League last month and are currently just ninth in the Premier League, eight points below fourth-placed Chelsea. Comment Manchester United plot bargain £35m transfer deal for Arsenal forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is reportedly keeping tabs on the Gunners ace (Picture: Getty)With Aubemeyang reluctant to commit his long-term future to Arsenal, it is claimed Premier League rivals Manchester United are keeping tabs on the situation ahead of the summer transfer window.The Red Devils may opt to sign loan signing Odion Ighalo permanently in the summer but Aubemeyang could emerge as an ideal alternative.The Sun say Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain are also interested in signing Aubemeyang and believe he could be sold for around £35m.More: FootballRio Ferdinand urges Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop Manchester United starChelsea defender Fikayo Tomori reveals why he made U-turn over transfer deadline day moveMikel Arteta rates Thomas Partey’s chances of making his Arsenal debut vs Man CitySpeaking this week, Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno insisted he was confident Aubemeyang would be staying put this summer despite the speculation over his future.Asked on his eSports channel whether Arsenal will sign any players this summer, Leno replied: ‘I’m not sure, it depends who’s going to leave and who stays. I don’t know.‘I think it depends if Auba signs a new contract or [if] he leaves. I don’t know what they are going to do.‘But if he leaves, of course, you need another player. But I think he’s going to stay.’MORE: Luiz reveals Chelsea staff begged him to return after joining ArsenalMORE: Liverpool join Manchester United in race to sign Denis Zakaria Advertisement Metro Sport ReporterThursday 19 Mar 2020 10:18 amShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link10kShares Advertisementlast_img read more

AET Tankers Christens LR2 Duo

first_imgPetroleum and chemical tanker owner AET Tankers has held a double naming ceremony of two long-range (LR2) petroleum tankers built by South Korean Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI). Christened at HHI’s yard in Gunsan, Korea, Eagle Lyon and Eagle Le Havre will both qualify for the Green Passport notation, having been designed to optimise overall operational efficiency and minimise environmental impact.AET Tankers said that the 114,000 dwt vessels have been fitted with the most modern energy efficient engines, auxiliary equipment having advance power management systems, along with the latest hull, tank and ballast epoxy coatings.“Both vessels have been carefully designed to provide optimal operational and environmental efficiency,” Yee Yang Chien, Chairman, AET and President/Group CEO, MISC Berhad, said.The Singapore-flagged Eagle Lyon and the French-flagged Eagle Le Havre have been taken on long-term charter by French oil major Total.The LR2s unveiled in Gunsan are the latest addition to AET’s fleet, which now includes 12 VLCCs, six Suezmaxes, one Panamax, 46 Aframaxes, four DP tankers, 13 CPPs, five LR2 tankers, 13 chemical ships and an LPG tanker.Its current orderbook includes a further two Suezmaxes and four more Aframaxes.last_img read more

AABA welcomes Boxing Federation of India’s (BFI) decision on national camp boxers

first_imgOur Sports ReporterGUWAHATI: Assam Amateur Boxing Association (AABA) has welcomed the Boxing Federation of India’s (BFI) decision to introduce a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) and Guidelines for national coaching camps which included a ‘special COVID-19 insurance cover’ for all campers. The secretary of the Assam Amateur Boxing Association Hemanta Kalita talking to The Sentinel said: “It’s a good step and would help the boxers to attend the camp without any anxiety.” According to the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) and Guidelines of BFI all the boxers, coaches and support staffs should be insured as per camp norms for medical emergencies and accidents. On the other hand all the boxers returning to national coaching camps will also be tested at the entrance for corona virus and will stay in self-quarantine for five-day (green and orange zone boxers) and 14-day (for red zone) prior to the start of training. However the date of the training is yet to be announced. Meanwhile Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in its new guidelines allowed sports stadiums and complexes to open without spectators. Expressing elation over the development Kalita said: “It is very good news for us that the sports complexes and stadiums have been allowed to reopen. Athletes will get the chance to start their training once again. However we will wait a little to get necessary guidelines and permission from the BFI before we allow the boxers to start their practice.” Also Read: LaLiga clubs allowed to resume group training up to 10 playerslast_img read more

William Ekong Launches Campaign against Tropical Diseases

first_imgAHEAD OF AFCON 2019Super Eagles central defender, William Troost-Ekong, has started a campaign to draw attention to neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) that affect more than 120 million Nigerians. In partnership with the END Fund and Common Goal, William appears in a 48 seconds public service announcement where he calls on affected Nigerians to seek free treatment.Neglected tropical diseases are a group of parasitic and bacterial infectious diseases that affects more than 1.5 billion of the world’s most impoverished people, including 869 million children. They include intestinal worms, schistosomiasis (bilharzia), river blindness, trachoma, and lymphatic filariasis. William Troost-Ekong Preparing to represent the Super Eagles at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt, William is hoping that every Nigerian will participate in the free treatment campaigns from several END Fund partners across the country.“Like the rest of the team, I joined Common Goal because I wanted to use football as a tool to make a difference. I’m proud that we’re partnering with the END Fund to challenge every Nigerian to tackle neglected tropical diseases or NTDs,” said William.“600 million people in Africa need treatment for these diseases with over 120 million living in Nigeria alone.“Football is a powerful force in Nigeria and as a footballer and parent, I believe we should do everything we can to end these preventable and treatable diseases that stand between you and your goals.‘So the next time a health worker comes to your school, community or place of worship make sure you take the free medicine that they are giving out. Keep the ball rolling – spread the word to your family and friends and let’s be the generation to beat NTDs,” he concluded.Dr. Chukwuma Anyaike, Director and National Coordinator of the Neglected Tropical Diseases Elimination Programme, Federal Ministry of Health Nigeria, described the campaign as an important opportunity to bring attention to NTDs in the country.“We are very delighted to have William join the Federal Ministry of Health and our partners in Nigeria’s fight against neglected tropical diseases, we hope that this campaign helps to highlight the importance of the fight against NTDs in Nigeria and across the continent,” Dr. Anyaike said.The campaign will run on local radio and television stations during the months of June and July across the following states: Ekiti, Ondo, Osun, Gombe, Akwa Ibom, Bauchi and Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory. It will also feature on digital platforms nationwide as well and include targeted SMS messaging.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more

Brighton come from behind to beat Gunners 2-1

first_imgLondon, UK | PL | A stoppage-time strike by Neal Maupay helped Brighton come from behind to earn a 2-1 win over Arsenal and record their first league victory since 28 December.The Gunners started brightly and almost opened the scoring on eight minutes only for Bukayo Saka’s shot to come back off the woodwork.Five minutes before half-time, Bernd Leno was carried off on a stretcher with a serious-looking leg injury after landing awkwardly when collecting the ball on the edge of the area.Mikel Arteta’s team went ahead in the 68th minute, Nicolas Pepe curling superbly beyond Mat Ryan with his left foot.But Lewis Dunk equalised seven minutes later from close range. And Brighton won the contest in the fifth minute of added time when Maupay, who also scored the winner in the reverse fixture, lifted the ball over substitute goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez.The Seagulls are in 15th place with 32 points, five points clear of the bottom three.Arsenal, now winless in five away league matches against Brighton, are ninth on 40 points.****PREMIER LEAGUEShare on: WhatsApplast_img read more

Local Biotech Firm Claims to Produce COVID Vaccines Faster, Cheaper

first_img“I mean people are talking about if they are lucky they can make a billion doses in a year,” he adds. “In a week, we can pump out 1.5 billion doses of an antigen, which is the most active component that goes into making a vaccine. It’s a critical component.”Dyadic is working with labs and scientists worldwide on the project.The way it works is those labs share their vaccine gene sequence, which Dyadic places into its hyper-productivity C1 cells.The cells are grown in commercial fermenters, in order to produce the antigen quickly.Data so far indicates that C1 will be effective in vaccine production, according to Emalfarb.While the typical turnaround time for other methods is about 50 days,  Emalfarb says commercial fermenters can mass-produce batches of C1 in just 10 to 14 days. Mark Emalfarb, founder and CEO of Dyadic International, which is headquartered in Jupiter, tells West Palm Beach television station WPEC his staff is capable of producing one-billion doses per month.Emalfarb explains that he has spent the last two-and-a-half decades engineering a fungal cell, nicknamed C1, which is now being used in industrial biotech.He goes on to say that it is being further developed to help eventually mass-produce vaccines and drugs in larger quantities at a more affordable cost.“It’s very unique and the hyper-productivity came from a serendipitous mutation,” he says. “This is something that happened by accident, kind of like penicillin.”In addition, Emalfarb believes the technology, which has FDA GRAS approval for food and feed and has already been successfully tested on animals, could lead to mass production of a coronavirus vaccine. A South Florida-based biotech company says it has the science to mass-produce COVID-19 vaccines more quickly and cost effectively than anyone else, when they become available.last_img read more