Chile, US Strengthen Interoperability with Southern Star

first_imgBy Guillermo Saavedra/Diálogo September 28, 2018 For almost two weeks, the port region of Antofagasta in northern Chile was the scene of a joint and combined exercise for Chilean and U.S. special forces. The Southern Star 2018 exercise coordinated by the Chilean Joint Chiefs of Staff (EMCO, in Spanish) with the support of U.S. Special Operations Command South (SOCSOUTH), tested participating units in air, sea, and land simulated operations. Southern Star 2018 gathered 1,023 Chilean and 53 U.S. service members, August 20th-29th. Chile participated with the Army Special Operations Brigade, the Navy Special Forces Command, and the Air Force Special Forces Group, while the U.S. counted on SOCSOUTH, the Army 7th Special Forces Group, troops of the Naval Special Warfare Command, and units of the Air Force Joint Terminal Attack Control, among others. Officers from Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Paraguay, Spain, and the United Kingdom participated as observers. The biannual exercise seeks to assess the planning, management, and command processes of participants in simulated joint and combined scenarios. The goal is to strengthen Chilean and U.S. special forces’ interoperability and operational capabilities. “The training was very relevant for those who participated,” U.S. Sergeant Fist Class Alexis Ramos, Public Affairs, noncommissioned officer in charge, SOCSOUTH, told Diálogo. “Anytime we are able to rub elbows with our partners and exchange ideas is a great thing for both nations, because opportunities like these allow us to increase our capacities and interoperability.” International intervention In the Atacama Desert and on the Pacific coast of Antofagasta, Chilean and U.S. officers joined forces to neutralize terrorist cells and put an end to internal conflicts affecting the fictitious island of Chiland. In a simulated scenario, the United Nations ordered an international intervention with the deployment of combined forces to restore peace on the island. “One of the advantages [of the location] is that there are military flight zones that allow for 24-hour operations, night flights, and with less restrictions on the use of weapons and real ammunition,” Major General Pablo Müller Barbería, commander of the Chilean Army Special Operations Task Force and leader of the joint and combined forces of Southern Star 2018, told Diálogo. “There are also landing sites to carry out amphibious and insertion operations. Finally, the specific characteristics of the Chilean desert, with its different landscapes similar to Iraq and Afghanistan, makes it appealing for service members of partner nations who take part in the exercise.” The scenarios included infiltration and extraction maneuvers in hostile territory, terrorist confrontations, hostage liberation, and rescue operations. The units also carried out boarding missions, air and land assault, and cybersecurity operations to counter terrorist actions. Among the exercises carried out, Chilean Air Force F-16 fighters overflew the steep hills of the desert and destroyed targets on land, allowing armored vehicles to move in and secure the area. Special Forces of the Chilean Army and their U.S. counterparts supported the operation on the ground with fast-rope insertion from helicopters. On another occasion, the special forces captured a merchant ship that refused to cooperate on the coast. Chilean Navy tactical divers boarded the ship from the Naval Aviation AS365 Dauphin helicopter, while a U.S. Navy SEAL team boarded from a Defender speedboat. The teams searched the ship with the support of air snipers. “The simulated scenarios were designed to challenge the joint staff to think critically and work through the military decision-making process,” Sgt. 1st Class Ramos said. “The exercise provided an opportunity to exercise planning, execution, support, and command and control procedures in a combined and joint environment at the operational and tactical level, helping us improve our shared understanding and capabilities.” Commitment to regional security “[Southern Star 2018] was very positive. We verified, under high standards, the efficiency and deployment of capabilities of this type of special units that interoperated without any problem,” said Maj. Gen. Müller. “However, there are always lessons learned that allow us to improve integration processes and complement capabilities.” Coordinated by EMCO and SOCSOUTH, Southern Star is carried out jointly in Chile since 2007. In 2009, troops from Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay joined the Chilean-U.S. training for the first and only time. Since 2015, the exercise alternates each year with the U.S.-based Northern Star exercise. The next edition of Southern Star will be in 2020. “As we move forward, you will see Chile continue to lead [Southern Star] with the U.S. being there for support,” Sgt. 1st. Class Ramos concluded. “Both the U.S. and Chile are committed to regional security, and [Southern Star] is one way we improve together.”last_img read more

Kostajnica Chestnut Festival included on the map “Tastes of Europe”

first_imgThe European Commission has included the Kostajnica Chestnut Festival on the “Tastes of Europe” map, which promotes European food and high quality beverages.This is the result of the presentation of the most important economic, tourist and cultural events of Sisak-Moslavina County at the conference that accompanied the exhibition “Green-Blue Cradle of Croatia” prepared and organized by Croatian Member of the European Parliament Marijana Petir in March this year in Brussels.DG GROW Tourism Representative Juliana Gabriela Aluas announced that the most important events in Sisak-Moslavina County could be included in the ‘Tastes of Europe’ map and thanked MP Petir for informing the Commission of their content. Aluas said at the time that “until then, the Commission had no information about the Chestnut Festival in Hrvatska Kostajnica and other events, such as Voloderski jeseni and Letovanići – villages near Kupa, but thanks to the presentation of events in the European Parliament organized by MP Petir, representatives of these events may request the ‘Tastes of Europe’ folder to make them an integral part of the European project ‘, which has now been achieved.The Kostajnica Chestnut Festival, the largest and most beautiful cultural, tourist and economic event in the Pounje region, is celebrating its 20th birthday this year. Kostajnica.  ”Said the director of the Tourist Office of Hrvatska Kostajnica Mirjana Lahovsky-Žličarić.During the Chestnut Festival from Zagreb, Kesten-cug rides, and with an organized trip to the chestnut forests, visitors can enjoy salty and sweet, homemade preparations of this valuable fruit, see numerous exhibitions and forgotten crafts to enjoy the performance of guest choirs, tamburitza players, folklore groups, rides a real tourist tram or just walk through the streets and alleys of Kostajnica full of various colorful stalls surrounded by the smell of roasted chestnuts. Those who are a little braver and more skilful can ride a boat on the Una, shoot a bow and arrow or visit Kostajnica on a bicycle and hiking trail.last_img read more

Letters to the Editor for Saturday, June 29

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionTrump compares to LBJ, Clintons bestI’ve found several books about Lyndon Johnson’s dark side, including his massive corruption. Without looking very far, I’ve found three books about the Clintons’ corruption. Authors include Joachim Joesten, Roger Stone and Peter Schweizer.Trump comparisons to Obama make some sense, but having read one of those books about Johnson and the Clintons, they’re clearly more similar to Trump than Nixon was. It makes sense to me that Trump should be compared more to LBJ and the Clintons, and less to Richard Nixon.Colin YunickCharltonIsrael is far better than its neighborsRegarding Mr. Van Dijk’s rants in his June 15 letter directed to a position of Bruce Trackenburg’s letter of May 23:Mr. Van Dijk spews forth his version of the situation in the Middle East area. However, his view does come across as being somewhat anti-Semitic. In fact, his writing could be used for a poster for these types of organizations.Is Israel lily white in its dealings with its neighbors? Not by a long shot. However, it’s far better than any of its tyrannical neighbors by having a democratically elected government, duly elected, by its people, since 1948. Also it’s probably more lily white than the United States is and has been in many of its dealings. However, I’d rather have Israel take out Iraq’s nuclear reactor, as it did in 1989, than us sitting by with North Korea and Iran in 2019.Constantly being attacked on all sides, having your neighbors only want to see your death and destruction — if that doesn’t give you some moral leeway in your dealings, then maybe 6-plus-million voices of the past do.Sorry, but the world isn’t perfect. And for these people to survive, anything goes. Never again should anyone attempt to wipe them off the face of the Earth.PS: The last time I read the Bible and attended classes in ancient history, this land was theirs long before any of its neighbors. Bob NicolellaScotiaChristians shouldn’t show self-interest Beware forces seeking U.S.-Europe mergerIt’s time United States citizens were informed of activity of a little-known non-government organization that has been working to advance plans for the merger of the United States and Europe. ‘ The Transatlantic Policy Network (TPN), the organization which anticipates such a merger, is made up of many powerful and well-known corporations, think tanks and legislators on both sides of the Atlantic.I’d think such a movement that would effect all citizens would warrant coverage by mainstream news media. But no. Complete silence.It’s urgent for Congress to reject the US.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). The Deep State globalists prefer small incremental advances to their goal, therefore they hide the adverse portions of an agreement under advantages, which nobody can oppose. But once approved, the adverse items hold sway and USMCA would be a step toward this proposed merger.The USMCA contains such adverse conditions causing us to surrender sovereignty to that organization. Chapter 30, entitled “Administrative and Institutional Provisions,” establishes a governing “Free Trade Commission,” a supernational governing body, which would have power to revise the USMCA without congressional approval. Loss of sovereignty is in the heart of the agreement. The Free Trade Commission would oversee a bureaucracy of at least 16 subordinate committees, each related to a particular chapter in the agreement. There’s much that’s covered in the proposed agreement which would effect the sovereignty of the greatest nation on Earth. USMCA is one step toward One World Government.Please contact your congressional representative and instruct them to vote against the USMCA.George Van SchaickRotterdamSupport getting rid of Trump, McConnellIn response to Jane Pauze’s June 22 letter (“Enough effort wasted investigating Trump”), as a resident of Niskayuna and Schenectady County, I do support Paul Tonko’s efforts including investigating Donald Trump further with respect to the Mueller report.If you read the Mueller report fully, you will see clear evidence that Mr. Trump did try hard to obstruct justice. Only because he is president has he avoided being indicted so far. Hopefully once his one term is over, he will be pursued for his efforts to obstruct justice. One other note is that the House has been trying to get legislation through which addresses the items Ms. Pauze’s letter recited. But the “grim reaper,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, has been blocking all efforts to get meaningful laws passed. Hopefully, this will be his last term, too.Douglas McFaddenNiskayunaBecome citizen before reaping U.S. benefitsI woke up this morning to find that immigrants here illegally can now obtain a driver’s license from the state of New York.This is supposed to keep their families from being torn apart and to allow them to go to and from their jobs that they hold illegally. Allowing them to have driver’s license is also going to prod them to get insurance on the vehicles that they drive on the roads that our tax dollars pay for. Next, their right to vote will be pushed through in the middle of the night. There will be people left in this state to vote for Andrew Cuomo next election.You can sit around, get stoned (It’s only a matter of time.), watch the immigrants drive by and dream up what you can do to make their lives easier. Maybe some health insurance. Why do we not want the immigrants to go through the proper channels to become legal citizens in this country? Does anyone remember Ellis Island? My family has their names in the books from when they arrived in this great country to pursue the opportunities that were being offered. No one gave them anything but a chance. I believe you should have to be a legal citizen in order to enjoy any benefits that may come from being in this country. Otherwise, what is the incentive for them to do so?Kathleen LamphereCanajoharieMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s press conference for Sunday, Oct. 18 To address Audrey Saltsman’s question in her June 12 letter about Schenectady High School changing the date of the prom to accommodate our many students of Muslim faith, I have three thoughts:1. Most school districts have never been and likely never will be in the position to do the same for Christians, as the academic school calendar (aside from and agrarian summers-off schedule) is planned entirely around Christian holidays.2. As Christians, we are taught humility and never to put ourselves before others; especially if they are suffering in any way. If there are others who cease suffering by having a special request met, it isn’t truly Christ-like to adopt a “What about me?” point of view. To do so when it’s always about us is something to step back from and reflect upon and potentially grow from as a Christian.3. The students are to be commended for following the protocol and doing everything they were supposed to do to effect change. The superintendent and district are to be commended for taking responsibility for the ignorance of privilege. For either to be questioned undermines the constitutional rights of the students and people of Muslim faith. Implicit bias often goes completely unseen to oneself, but can appear as racism and prejudice to others. Lisa RussoSchenectadyTaxpayers not hurt by horsemen cutbackCasinos should not be immune from criticism. But the criticism should at least be accurate.Today’s editorial gives the impression that Rivers is seeking a tax break and to pay less money to the state. That’s just not true.The horseman do not lose $1 under the bill I introduced. Instead of the casino making 100 percent of the contribution to the horseman and breeder’s funds, the racino would make 50 percent and the casino would make 50 percent. Prior to the advent of the casino, the racino paid 100 percent. It’s not the job of the casino to subsidize the racino, as is currently the case.The marketing credit sought by Rivers would not decrease the amount Rivers pays to the state. The credit only applies after Rivers makes the same contribution to the state as it makes now.Your readers can judge whether either proposal is unreasonable.Phil SteckLoudonvilleThe writer represents the 110th Assembly District in the state Legislature.eWIC program makes going shopping easierThere is an exciting new development in the New York State Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program called eWIC. With eWIC, benefits are now provided electronically, making shopping with WIC easier and more convenient.Anyone who has shopped with WIC paper checks will appreciate the convenience of eWIC. WIC benefits are loaded onto the eWIC card at the WIC clinic appointment. The eWIC card is used just like a debit card at the grocery store, letting participants buy food when it works best for them rather than all at once.Another benefit of eWIC is a new app called WIC2Go that lets participants check their WIC benefit balance right from their phone. This app also allows participants to scan foods to see if they are WIC-approved, look up WIC-approved stores and local WIC clinics and see their next WIC appointment.WIC may be able to help those who are pregnant, a new mom or have children under age 5, or are fathers, grandparents or caregivers of children under age 5. WIC provides nutritious food, breastfeeding support, nutrition education and referrals to other services.To learn more about WIC eligibility, contact the local WIC Help Specialist. WIC Help Specialists provide one-on-one services to help connect eligible pregnant women and families with young children to WIC. These services are free and confidential.Vanessa GeeAlbanyThe writer is a WIC help specialist, Catholic Charities Tri-County Services serving Albany and Schenectady Counties.Get politics out of Nisky school boardThe Niskayuna school board has failed the taxpayers. A disgraceful campaign was conducted slandering a board candidate. They extended the superintendent’s contract for 5 years despite staff outcry of low morale in the district. He does not need to even rent a place in the town but  travels to Herkimer daily.He’s not contributing one penny to the district’s tax base.In addition, they and the superintendent are proposing a $50 million to $80 million bond for building renovations etc. The taxpayers have to pay for this enormous bond, since previous boards and administrations didn’t make building upkeep their priority. In essence, we are paying for neglect.School boards are supposed to be non-political, but this isn’t the case. Why would a school board election take on the appearance of a political campaign when members don’t receive compensation? The simple answer is board members are using it as a stepping stone for political office. A school board member is running for the town board in November. School boards are supposed to be a selfless act of service. There should be a policy that school board members wait a year after they leave office before running for a paid political office. Political aspirations carry with them political decisions that are often self-serving. This is horrendous for the town, students, staff and taxpayers.Taxpayers and staff need to take back their district. One way to accomplish this is to speak out and vote.Linda RizzoNiskayunalast_img read more