Getting down to business

first_imgWhen new members of Congress head to the capital next month, a stagnant economy and stubborn unemployment numbers will be top priorities. But as two Harvard Business School (HBS) professors warned a group of incoming congressional freshmen on Thursday, it would be a big mistake to separate those concerns from the broader and increasingly urgent issue of America’s waning competitiveness in the global world of business.“Our problem is not so much what we’ve done but what we haven’t done,” Michael E. Porter, the Bishop William Lawrence University Professor, told the group of 47 gathered at Harvard Kennedy School for a crash course in major policy issues. “Other countries are very serious about driving improvements in competitiveness. … Part of our problem is that we’re just not moving fast enough.”The presentation by Porter and Jan W. Rivkin, co-directors of the HBS-led U.S. Competitiveness Project, was one of more than a dozen organized by the Institute of Politics (IOP) for the Bipartisan Program for Newly Elected Members of Congress, which for 40 years has shepherded 20 classes of freshmen through its boot camp for policymakers. This year, 37 Democrats and 10 Republicans descended on Harvard for the four-day program, their schedules packed with everything from foreign-policy discussions to workshops on building relationships in Washington to a Fenway Park outing.The talk, moderated by the IOP fellow and Fortune columnist Nina Easton, was also an opportunity for Porter and Rivkin to spread the word of the Competitiveness Project’s findings beyond its usual audience of business leaders. HBS launched the initiative last year to promote research on American competitiveness and to raise awareness of the issue in the business, academic, and policymaking communities.Many of the project’s findings were based on a global survey of 10,000 HBS alumni, published in Harvard Business Review in March. Porter and Rivkin found that although the United States still maintains some crucial strengths in the eyes of business leaders — top-notch universities, a culture that fosters entrepreneurship and innovation — the country is no longer seen as the go-to location for companies looking to build up business.And contrary to popular belief, companies aren’t always shipping jobs overseas to pursue cheap labor. The availability of skilled workers was often cited as a reason to relocate outside the United States.Porter was quick to stress that competitiveness means more than allowing business to prosper. To be competitive, companies must be able to compete in international markets while helping to maintain and raise Americans’ living standards — not by lowering them.“Republicans are traditionally worried about the company part; Democrats are traditionally worried about the worker part,” Porter said. “But those two things are inextricably tied.”If lawmakers focus purely on job creation rather than the broader issue of competitiveness, “you tend to create jobs where it’s easy to create jobs,” said Rivkin, the Bruce V. Rauner Professor of Business Administration. Infrastructure jobs and service-sector jobs in industries such as health care and retail aren’t enough to keep the U.S. economy robust in the long term, he said. Research and development or manufacturing jobs, on the other hand, can help increase America’s overall productivity and keep the country competitive in a global economy.“Jobs are the outcome of a competitive economy,” Rivkin said. “If we try to solve the jobs problem separately we tend to do things that are not very sensible, rather than deal with the underlying fundamentals.”So what should lawmakers do first? According to Porter and Rivkin, a sustainable federal budget would go a long way toward creating a perception of a stable environment for business. They also advised easing immigration restrictions on the highly skilled foreign workers — many trained at American universities — companies need. Simplifying America’s notoriously byzantine corporate tax code and regulatory processes would also make the United States a more attractive place to do business, they added.“Business leaders have pursued their own self-interest very narrowly and have been very effective” in making the tax code more complicated, Rivkin said, acknowledging the paradox created by the slow buildup of tax loopholes for which corporations themselves lobbied.Competitiveness is a complex problem with deep roots, Rivkin and Porter said. But even signaling bipartisan agreement to tackle the issue would help restore Americans’ faith in Congress. Business leaders in particular have little confidence in Washington: In the HBS survey, the American political system was ranked the worst factor in the U.S. business environment.“I believe a little bit of progress would signal to so many people that we can make headway on these problems,” Rivkin said.Echoing his partner, Porter urged the freshmen to help change the relationship between business and government leaders.“If we have those two sides at war, everybody loses,” Porter said.It was a tall order, but at least one congressman came away heartened.“We’ve heard a lot of doom and gloom over the last couple of days,” said Tom Rice, a Republican from South Carolina. “You came in here with solutions, which is a wonderful prospect.”In describing the orientation, Joseph Kennedy III, D-Mass., said, “It’s one of the great opportunities that you have … where you get to learn from national experts about the fiscal realities — long-term, short-term — what can be done to get our economy moving again and on a bipartisan basis.”Visit the Harvard Kennedy School website to listen to podcasts of what other incoming freshman members of the 113th Congress have to say.last_img read more

Erwin Hiebert, 93, dies

first_imgFrom his first days in grade school until the last year of his life, Erwin Hiebert was deeply dedicated to scholarship. He was passionate about science, not only in regards to his own research, but he was also keenly fascinated with how philosophers and scientists before him conducted their work. That love of science and wonder were at the center of Hiebert’s long teaching career, the last 40-plus years spent at Harvard. Hiebert, professor of the history of science emeritus, died on Nov. 28, at the age of 93.Hiebert came to Harvard in 1970 as a professor of the history of science, becoming a professor emeritus in 1989. Throughout the years he was known as an active and prolific scholar and teacher whose students became well-known academics in the field.Hiebert received an M.A. in chemistry and physics at the University of Kansas in 1943. He enjoyed a long, illustrious teaching and research career, beginning with his first teaching post in 1952 at San Francisco State College. He went on to teach as a Fulbright lecturer at the Max-Planck-Institut für Physik in Göttingen, Germany. The following year, Hiebert made a brief stop at Harvard as an instructor in the history of science, before moving to the Department of History of Science at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, serving as chairman from 1960 to 1965. Hiebert permanently returned to the Department of History of Science at Harvard in 1970. He was chairman of the department from 1977 to 1984 while also serving as a visiting lecturer and scholar at universities across the country and the globe.Though he reached emeritus status 1989, Hiebert continued to devote most of his time to his own research and writing. He would journey from Belmont, where he settled his family in 1970, to Harvard nearly every day for many years after his retirement to work in his much-loved study in Widener Library.Hiebertwas a member ofmany organizations, including the Académie Internationale d’Histoire des Sciences, and he was a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was the author of three books: “The Impact of Atomic Energy,” “Historical Roots of the Principle of Conservation of Energy,” and “The Conception of Thermodynamics in the Scientific Thought of Mach and Planck,” in addition to numerous articles. His research and teaching focused on the 19th- and 20th-century history and philosophy of science. At his death he was completing a publication on the implications of the science of acoustics for music composition and instrument construction.Professor Hiebert was preceded in death in September 2012 by his wife of 69 years, Elfrieda Franz Hiebert, and is survived by his three children: Catherine Hiebert Kerst of Silver Spring, Md.; Margaret Hiebert Beissinger and husband Mark Beissinger of Princeton, N.J.; and Thomas Nels Hiebert and wife Lenore Voth Hiebert of Fresno, Calif.A memorial service for Hiebert will be held at Memorial Church in Harvard Yard on Feb. 17 at 2 p.m.Contributions can be made in Hiebert’s memory to the Mennonite Central Committee Global Family Program Supporting Education, 21 S. 12th St., P.O. Box 500, Akron, PA, 17501, or at read more

A union scotched?

first_imgA “yes” from Scotland’s voters on Thursday would split the country from the United Kingdom, ending a sometimes-prickly partnership that began in 1707.Leading the pro-independence movement is the Scottish National Party (SNP), which holds the majority of seats in Scotland’s Parliament. The party has pushed for a national referendum since 2007, with SNP leader Alex Salmond calling it a “once-in-a-generation” opportunity for full self-determination. While the Scottish government controls many key arenas, including education, health, transportation, and agriculture, the British Parliament runs policymaking around other vital matters such as energy, national security, foreign policy, immigration, and taxation. The U.K.’s political and financial establishments, including England’s three largest political parties and Prime Minister David Cameron, strongly oppose secession. The Royal Bank of Scotland and the Lloyds Banking Group recently announced plans to relocate their operations to England should voters approve independence. The banks reportedly fear damage to their credit ratings and customer flight as a result of fiscal, legal, and regulatory instability. Even Queen Elizabeth, who rarely opines publicly on political matters, said she hopes voters “will think very carefully” before deciding to leave the U.K.The divisive issue has prompted the record registration of 4.3 million, or 97 percent of Scotland’s eligible voters. New polling suggests a statistical dead heat.Niall Ferguson, the Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History at the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and a native of Glasgow, spoke with the Gazette about the referendum and what’s at stake for Scotland and the U.K. if the secession campaign succeeds.GAZETTE: What’s driving this vote and why is it happening now?FERGUSON: Well, the idea of an independent Scotland has, of course, historical precedents, but you have to go back before 1707 or even before 1603 if you want to find a truly independent Scotland. It was a more or less dead idea right down until the 1960s. The Scottish National Party came into existence in the 1930s, but it had virtually no support until there were, I suppose, the first signs of Scotland’s economic decline as the engine room of the British Empire in the ’60s and ’70s. In 1979, there was a referendum on devolution that would have given more power to Scotland, self-governing power, within the United Kingdom. That was defeated. In the 1990s, under Tony Blair’s government, there was another referendum on devolution and that was successful and so a Scottish Parliament was restored for the first time since 1707. And then, the question of course came up again: “If we can have our own parliament, why can’t we go the whole way?” It was the decision of the current U.K. prime minister, David Cameron, to offer Scotland’s residents a referendum on independence, yes or no, after the Scottish National Party won political power in Scotland. That’s the background to all of this.In the end, what you’re seeing is a last-minute surge in support for a yes to independence which has only really looked like it could win in the last two or three weeks. For most of the campaign, polls had the noes ahead by roughly 10 points and then, suddenly, this gap evaporated and the big question is “Why did that happen?” Because clearly that seems like a very dramatic and sudden change in the public mood.GAZETTE: What’s your sense as to why?FERGUSON: I think it’s very simple. I think the no campaign has been very poorly run and the yes campaign has been very well run. The no campaign was entrusted to the Scottish Labour leadership because David Cameron felt — despite being the son of a Scotsman — that his English accent would be grist to the Nationalists’ mill, so the Labour leadership in Scotland took over the no campaign and essentially ran it like a very dull economics seminar, explaining ad nauseam that if Scotland voted yes, there would be confusion about what currency it should have and it would cause fiscal problems, etc. And it was just a very negative argument. Meanwhile, the SNP’s yes campaign was positive, upbeat. The Scottish National Party told and continues to tell a story of only upside to independence. They entirely conceal from the public the economic risks, which are huge. So we’ve really seen a kind of campaign-driven swing in which “don’t knows,” young voters, and habitual nonvoters have been successfully mobilized by the yes campaign vision of a Brave New Scotland separating itself from Tory-dominated England and becoming a kind of Scandinavian utopia.GAZETTE: What are some of the political, economic, and national security implications if Scotland breaks away?FERGUSON: There will be a rush of money out of Scotland because of the uncertainties about the currency, the distribution of the U.K. national debt, the negotiations about oil revenues. All of these things will make businesses very nervous about being based in Edinburgh, especially the big banks. Indeed, they’ve already made it clear that they will move their bases to London. So there will be an immediate economic impact on Scotland. I should think there will be a recession, and there will be a significant increase in unemployment. There probably will also be some negative economic effects for the U.K. as a whole because the political implications are so unclear. So that’s part one.Part two, the politics: If it’s yes, it’s hard to believe that David Cameron can survive as prime minister. He might just conceivably fight off a leadership challenge, but I think it’s going to be difficult because this is going to look like his mistake. The confusion that will ensue, even if he stays on, will be immense because you’ll be witnessing one of the biggest divorce negotiations in political history. Three hundred-plus years of political union can’t get unraveled with a quickie divorce in Reno. This is going to take years to figure out. And while that’s being done, Scotland and England, not to mention Wales and Northern Ireland, will be in limbo politically. There will be a general election next year, probably, in which Scottish voters will get to vote, but how on earth a government will be able to be formed based on Scottish M.P.s when Scotland’s just voted to become independent, God only knows. In fact, you can imagine a situation in which the Labour Party won, but only would have a majority with its Scottish M.P.s. I think that would prompt really quite significant protest in England. So you have the potential for political uncertainty stretching on into next year.And then of course, as people in the rest of the U.K. figure out what a Scottish yes means, we’ll have the Welsh arguing that they should be next, and more importantly, I think, the English saying, “What the hell?” There’s going to be a good deal of bitterness about what’s happened. The majority of English voters favor Scotland staying in the union. There’s no appetite for independence south of the border. But I think if Scotland votes yes, the English will be like the wronged spouse in a divorce case and they’ll be pretty unaccommodating in the negotiations that then ensue.GAZETTE: Is it clear that Scotland would be welcomed into the European Union and if it is, what stature is it likely to have?FERGUSON: Scotland’s nationalists claim they can stay in the European Union, but actually they will not be able to do that. They’ll have to apply to become members if they secede from the U.K., which is of course a member. If you’ve ever been to Iceland, you’ll know the answer to that question. They’ll essentially be a somewhat bigger version of Iceland. The same applies to membership of NATO; this will be a new state that will have to do a lot of things from scratch. There will not be a great deal of enthusiasm because for those countries that have separatist regional movements like Spain, Italy, and Belgium, the precedent will obviously be a very disturbing one, and I would imagine that in Spain in particular — where the Catalonian and Basque separatist movements have been a problem for many years for the government of Madrid — the likely attitude may even be “get lost.”GAZETTE: What do you think about the argument that Scotland hasn’t received its fair share from the U.K. politically or economically and that going it alone will preserve or improve the quality of life for more people?FERGUSON: Well, it’s just complete nonsense. It’s at variance with the truth. The Scots actually have higher per capita public spending than the English by a substantial amount. Resources have been flowing to Scotland far more open-handedly than to the north of England for years. And you’ve got to remember, something like 11 prime ministers, including the last two before David Cameron, have themselves been Scots. You could argue, if anything, that Scotland has been overrepresented in the U.K. system. For many years, it had many more M.P.s than its population would have entitled it to in a strictly proportional system. And the Scots have done very well indeed accessing England’s institutions. I was one of those Scots who benefited from studying at Oxford and I’ve spent more of my life in England than I have in Scotland. I’m pretty typical of the kind of beneficiary of the union that Scotland’s been producing since the days of James Boswell. So there’s just a total lack of any evidence in the Scottish National Party’s claim that somehow Scotland’s been disadvantaged. The very opposite is true. To try to turn Scotland’s history into some version of Ireland’s is, I think, completely a travesty. Scotland was not colonized by the English; Scotland entered a union of equals. Indeed, in 1603 it was a Scottish king who took over the English throne. This idea that somehow the Scots are the last victims of English colonialism is preposterous; it’s completely without a foundation in reality.GAZETTE: Who stands to benefit from independence and who is likely to be hurt by it?FERGUSON: The great Scottish economist Adam Smith warned that it’s the people with ideas for radical constitutional change that are usually the people who would benefit most from them. And the self-aggrandizement of the Scottish National Party’s leadership will be the first consequence of this referendum if the result is yes. The losers will be those they persuaded to vote for them because the kind of people who will be hit hardest economically are probably the working-class voters who are defecting from the Labour Party to vote yes. Because if there is — as I’m sure there will be — a big economic shock in the wake of a yes vote, jobs will be lost, house prices will fall, incomes will be reduced, and the brunt will be borne by ordinary people, many of whom have been lured into the yes camp with completely mendacious promises. And that’s one of the sad things about this — the failure of the no campaign successfully to nail the economic lies in the yes campaign.GAZETTE: What are the most pressing issues the Scottish government would need to address right away if the independence campaign succeeds?FERGUSON: Well first, what currency are you going to use, because the yes campaign’s claim that they can carry on using the pound is, in fact, not credible. You can’t vote for independence and then say, “Can we keep the monetary union, please?” In fact, political separation with monetary union is a recipe for trouble. And England can just say no, and I think that’s what will happen. So the Scottish government, if it wins this referendum, will pretty quickly have to come up with its own currency, which will be interesting. How do you finance this Scottish state without transfers from south of the border? You seem to assume you’re going to have all the revenues from the North Sea oil fields, but why? The oil may be located closer to Scotland than England, but it’s collectively owned by the U.K. So there are going to be questions about apportioning oil revenues, questions about apportioning shares of the national debt of the United Kingdom, questions about the defense assets located in Scotland, including the Trident nuclear missiles at the Faslane Naval Base. The list is a long one.GAZETTE: How would an independent Scotland affect Westminster and specifically Cameron, who very publicly has urged voters to stay united?FERGUSON: I think it’s going to be pretty difficult for him to survive as prime minister if it’s a yes. Because this was an initiative he didn’t need to take. He could have simply declined the idea of a referendum and the Scottish National Party wasn’t in a position to insist on one, so I think it’s hard for him to survive this.GAZETTE: Why did he agree to it if it was so risky?FERGUSON: The thought process was that the independence option would be defeated and that would be the end of that. There was complete confidence until about January that the referendum would go against independence. Very few people back at the beginning of this gamble considered very seriously the possibility of defeat. So it’s hard for him to explain this away. I think the other interesting consequence to consider is the even bigger blow for the Labour Party, which has depended for years on Scottish members of Parliament for its strength. And so people are going to be saying, “Whose fault was that?” — because, after all, it was Labour leaders who ran the campaign. So they’re in trouble, too. And then you have the spectacle of the U.K. Independence Party, which is mostly an English party, saying, “Well you see, this whole thing illustrates fundamental Conservative weakness” and that then means that potentially the anti-European elements in U.K. politics will gain. Ultimately, remember, there’s the possibility of another referendum down the road on U.K. membership of the European Union. Some people think a yes vote in Scotland might increase the chances of such a referendum happening and the result being in favor of leaving. Then you get into some pretty wild scenarios.GAZETTE: Which way do you think the voting will go, and why?FERGUSON: Any expert on British politics will tell you it should be a narrow no win in the end, because in referendums typically people pull back from change in the final days of a race, risk aversion kicks in, people don’t necessarily vote in the polling booths the way they say they’ll vote to pollsters. So, for a whole bunch of reasons, people will tell you it’s going to be no. I wish I had such faith in opinion polls and I wish I did not feel that the momentum of the yes campaign has become hard, if not impossible, to stop. Right now this thing is statistically too close to call. And so it will be decided by a relatively small number of people. And I think that’s why, if you’re looking at the final days of the campaign, the people on the fence or undecided or apathetic seem to me more likely to break for yes because the atmosphere in Scotland, where I just was, is palpably pro-independence. Although it’s 50-50 in the polls, you wouldn’t know it to do a public debate or to walk down the street. Yes is dominant; no is almost silent — partly because the campaign’s been badly run and also because there’s a certain amount of intimidation going on. It could still be narrowly yes, in which case we’re going to wake up on Friday to a very changed Europe, not just a changed Britain.GAZETTE: In an essay in The Sunday Times, you said that if yes prevails, your first act will be to apply for U.S. citizenship. Why is that?FERGUSON: I have lived in the U.S. for more than 10 years and I’ve hesitated to become a U.S. citizen because of a sense of loyalty to the country where I was born and raised, which was extremely good to me; because of a sense of loyalty to my parents and grandparents and great-grandparents. Great Britain was a term devised by a Scotsman, James VI of Scotland, when he became James I of England. It’s a term that connotes the union of Scotland and England and I have loyalty to that union. I don’t have any feelings of loyalty to a U.K. without Scotland and I don’t have any feelings of loyalty to whatever little country Alex Salmond, the SNP leader, thinks he’s creating. So my homeland will kind of die if it’s a yes vote; it won’t really exist anymore, at which point I think I can square applying for U.S. citizenship with my conscience.I think independence would be a disaster for the U.K., a disaster for Europe, a disaster for the West. The unraveling of the United Kingdom is a major problem given that the United Kingdom has been the staunchest ally of the United States since 1917. And, since ultimately the United Kingdom stands for a certain set of values that need to be upheld in Europe, anything that weakens the U.K., as this clearly would, has negative implications for the things that we all, I hope, hold dear: individual freedom, the whole idea of representative government, the concept of the free market. These are ideas that were born in many ways in Scotland in the Enlightenment in the 18th century and they’ve been hugely successful in their incarnation here in North America. They’ve been pretty successful in the U.K., as well. That’s why I really feel a no vote is to be preferred. This is not really about what passport I will carry in future. It’s about something much, much bigger than the question of whether or not Scotland should be an independent state. It’s about the ultimate stability of the Enlightenment’s achievements.This interview has been edited for length.last_img read more

4-H Watermelons

first_imgTwo Turner County brothers made Georgia 4-H history this summer by growing the largest watermelons in the Georgia 4-H Watermelon Growing Contest. Dylan Gravitt won first place with a 140-pound watermelon, and his brother, Jacob Gravitt, won second place with his 136-pound watermelon. Kellee Alday of Seminole County won third place with a 109-pound watermelon.Growing gigantic, award-winning watermelons takes skill, patience and time. Young gardeners across the state are encouraged to plan ahead to enter the annual Georgia 4-H pumpkin or watermelon growing contests.The Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association sponsors both contests. First-place winners get $100 each. Second- and third-place winners receive $50 and $25 each, respectively. The first 50 entrants receive a contest T-shirt.The goal of the contests is to get Georgia students interested in agriculture and in growing their own crops, said Olivia Browning, a Georgia 4-H program specialist and the contests’ coordinator.Any watermelon variety may be grown, but University of Georgia Cooperative Extension experts highly recommend the Carolina Cross variety. When it comes to growing pumpkins, UGA Extension experts suggest growing varieties like Atlantic Giant, Big Max, Big Moon, Prizewinner and Connecticut Field. All of the 2008 pumpkin contest winners grew Atlantic Giant pumpkins.To enter either contest, a 4-H’er must grow the watermelon or pumpkin and have it weighed by their local UGA Extension agent. The deadline for watermelon contest submissions is typically in early August. The pumpkin contest deadline this year is Thursday, Oct. 1.The top three state winners for each contest are required to submit a photo of themselves with their harvest. Information about the contests, including photos of the past winners, can be found online at read more

Prosperity In Colombia

first_imgBy Dialogo July 17, 2009 Colombia has prevailed despite being victimized by violent guerrillas and drug trafficking. While the country continues its fight to eradicate those conflicts, it also offers help to others dealing with similar threats. During a visit to U.S. Southern Command headquarters in Miami, Carolina Barco, Colombian ambassador to the U.S., spoke with DIÁLOGO about Colombia’s diplomatic role on an international level and its partners who have helped the country prosper. *_*DIÁLOGO: Colombia and the U.S. have traditionally been strong allies in the region. In your role as ambassador, how do you see that relationship in the future?*_* _Ambassador Barco:_ Like you say, Colombia and the U.S. have traditionally been very good allies and very good friends. Friends as states, as countries, as people; I feel this relationship is going to continue, like when we joined them in the Korean War. We have always shared democratic values, searching for peace and prosperity. So I see this as a relationship that will remain very strong. And with President Obama’s new government, we are certainly going to continue working on new opportunities. *_*DIÁLOGO: U.S. support for Colombia, particularly the Colombia Plan, has provoked some criticism. How important is this support for Colombia in continuing with its achievements?*_* _Ambassador Barco:_ To begin with, I would say the Colombia Plan has been a great accomplishment and a great success. And to prove it, just go to Colombia and speak with any Colombian who will tell you and will also radiate the optimism of our country, of our future and the possibility of having a more prosperous and peaceful country. And we owe that, to a great extent, to the Colombia Plan. I can provide data to show how that situation has progressed. In 1998, Colombia was in a very deep recession because the levels of violence associated with drugs made Colombians and foreigners lose faith in the country and not want to invest, so we entered a pronounced recession. After six years of the Colombia Plan and President Álvaro Uribe’s leadership, we have a country — until last year, before this global recession began — growing by 6 percent in annual foreign investment during the last four years. And despite last year’s economic difficulties, it was up to $8.5 billion. We are a country that has been able to shrink its poverty rate by 10 percent, has lowered insecurity levels by 40 percent, and its terrible affliction of kidnappings by 80 percent. *_*DIÁLOGO: You are here for a diplomatic meeting with Adm. James G. Stavridis, commander of U.S. Southern Command. How important is the relationship between diplomats and the military regarding security matters?*_* _Ambassador Barco:_ I believe security issues have to be viewed from a military as well as a diplomatic perspective, because they require military actions, as well as cooperation and calculation. Therefore, it is necessary to work in diplomatic environments, seeking cooperation and military environments to increase the capacity of each side and to work jointly to face the issues that allow for greater security. *_*DIÁLOGO: Colombia has undoubtedly had a very positive history tied to security and prosperity. Why has Colombia achieved better results than other nations with similar problems?*_* _Ambassador Barco:_ I believe it’s essential to understand the direct relationship between security and prosperity. The drug culture relies upon the advancement of corruption and violence. So when Colombia adopts very clear policies on improving the country’s security — strengthening the armed forces within the criterion of respect for human rights and to develop armed forces like we have today, which are respected by the people — it reduces insecurity and leads to renewed investment growth. Colombians have renewed faith in their country; they are investing again, and foreigners are visiting Colombia. As a result, the economy is growing. Unemployment has declined from 20 percent to 11 percent. *_*DIÁLOGO: Colombia has made significant progress in an era of combating mob leaders, violence and drug traffickers. What suggestions can you offer a country like Mexico, which is currently struggling with those same challenges?*_* _Ambassador Barco:_ We have the utmost respect for Mexico and President Felipe Calderón, and we offer our solidarity to confront the terrible problem that is the presence of narcotrafficking in his country. He’s known from the start that President Uribe has been ready to offer the support he values and to share with them the lessons we learned from a very complicated history of fighting narcotrafficking. I believe President Calderón’s leadership, the same leadership our presidents gave during their time, encourages citizens to take a strong stance against narcotrafficking. In Colombia’s case — regarding our police as well as our army — it is also very important to strengthen those institutions to battle drug trafficking. It is also crucial to strengthen the institutions of justice and those that allow us to fight narcotrafficking more effectively through intelligence and better-coordinated actions between the country’s different institutions. *_*DIÁLOGO: What lessons can Afghanistan learn from Colombia’s experience with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC)?*_* _Ambassador Barco:_ We have invited members of their military to come to Colombia and observe our training. We plan on bringing our de-mining programs to them. Colombia has endured the tragedy of mines planted by the FARC, and we hope to share our experience with Afghanistan in identifying where their mines are and in addressing that challenge to the civilian population. I believe Colombia is aware that in the fight against drugs, it is essential to reinforce the presence of the state and to strengthen institutions. I believe it is also a very relevant lesson for Afghanistan, and we hope to be able to share it with them. It is part of the work we are doing, showing a greater state presence in different regions where there are drug problems. *_*DIÁLOGO: How do you see collaboration efforts of countries in the region against common threats, such as security?*_* _Ambassador Barco:_ Drug trafficking and security are global issues that do not affect just one nation. They always have regional ramifications and it becomes essential to work with the neighbors and with the region. In regards to narcotrafficking, we must consider the entire chain, from the countries that produce drugs to those in which they are trafficked and those that consume them. To be successful, we must look at production, processing, trafficking, precursors, weapons, laundering, all of these components, and each person and each country must assume the necessary responsibilities and policies. *_*DIÁLOGO: Your country doesn’t like the vision Hollywood has of Colombia because they always depict it negatively. Therefore, one of your goals is to improve Colombia’s international image. How are you going to achieve this?*_* _Ambassador Barco:_ I believe people’s perception of Colombia has changed a lot. However, that drug trafficking image persists. Unfortunately, I think two films about Pablo Escobar will be released this year, and this is likely to revive that image. People forget this happened more than 15 years ago. But on the other hand, I believe several successes like Operation Check have shone through, where we see our armed forces rescuing the hostages held in Colombia; where we see levels of security. Our tourism has increased. So I believe these are tangible ways to see that image has changed. *_*DIÁLOGO: What could other countries learn from Colombia?*_* _Ambassador Barco:_ Colombia is much more than just the fight against drug trafficking, and I always say that I long for the day when I can speak of that creative Colombia which boasts Nobel Prize winner Gabriel García Márquez, one of its iconic writers, as well as other celebrated writers. Or to be able to speak of sculptors like Fernando Botero, to name just one, and singers like Shakira and Juanes, also just to name a couple. Colombia is very rich in biodiversity, very rich in culture, in its different regions. It is a country of hard working people, of happy people, who above all are friendly and welcoming to foreigners. I hope people from other countries who are starting to visit us learn from Colombia the marvel of a country that has had to face this tragedy of drugs, but is doing it in a very brave, very committed way and is prevailing. _Carolina Barco was appointed ambassador of Colombia to the U.S. in August 2006 by President Álvaro Uribe. Between August 2002 and August 2006, Barco was minister of Foreign Affairs. She has worked in the public sector as adviser to the ministries of development, culture and environment, as well as the National Planning Department and the Office of the Mayor of Bogotá. She has also worked as international cooperation adviser to the U.N. Development Program. Barco holds a bachelor’s degree in social and economic sciences and a masters in business administration and urban and regional planning._last_img read more

November 15, 2003 Disciplinary Actions

first_img November 15, 2003 Disciplinary Actions The Florida Supreme Court in recent court orders suspended seven attorneys, disbarred one, reprimanded nine, placed one on probation, and accepted the resignation of another.The following lawyers are disciplined: Terence Millard Brown, P.O. Box 40, Starke, reprimanded for professional misconduct, following an August 21 court order. ( Admitted to practice: 1979) Brown failed to act with reasonable diligence and promptness in representing a client; failed to keep a client reasonably informed about the status of a matter; and failed to cooperate with the responsibilities of partner or supervisory lawyer. (Case no. SC03-40) Steven Edward Cohen, 800 N.W. 62nd St., Ste. 200, Ft. Lauderdale, suspended from practicing law in Florida until further court order, effective retroactive to June 1, following a September 11 court order. ( Admitted to practice: 1983) Cohen was charged on April 15 with a conspiracy to structure financial transaction to avoid the reporting requirements of Title 31, United States Code and Code of Federal Regulations, a felony. (Case no. SC03-1174) Hugo Enrique Dorta, 1221 Brickell Ave., Miami, suspended by emergency from practicing law in Florida until further court order, effective 30 days following a September 3 court order. ( Admitted to practice: 1990) A review of Dorta’s trust accounts revealed a misappropriation of client funds. (Case no. SC03-1456) Andrean Rose Eaton, 6122 Washington St., Hollywood, suspended from practicing law in Florida for 30 days, effective 30 days following an August 21 court order. Eaton is further placed on probation for one year. ( Admitted to practice: 1995) Among several Bar violations, Eaton failed to act with reasonable diligence and promptness in representing a client; neglected to keep a client reasonably informed about the status of a matter and promptly comply with reasonable requests for information; failed to explain a matter to the extent reasonably necessary to permit the client to make informed decisions regarding the representation; and violated or attempt to violate the Rules of Professional Conduct. (Case no. SC02-2707) Randall Joel Etheridge, 423 N. Baylen St., Pensacola, suspended from practicing law in Florida, effective 30 days following a September 16 court order. ( Admitted to practice: 1986) Etheridge was charged with fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer in vehicle pursuit, a felony, and was placed on probation for 30 months. (Case no. SC03-1563) Ralph Stanley Francois, 1820 N.E. 163rd St., Ste. 106, N. Miami Beach, reprimanded for professional misconduct. ( Admitted to practice: 1997) Francois failed to act with reasonable diligence and promptness in representing a client; neglected to provide competent representation to a client; failed to make reasonable efforts to expedite litigation; and violated or attempted to violate the Rules of Professional Conduct. (Case no. SC03-1544) Arlene Lloyd Han, 1628 S.E. 13th Terrace, Cape Coral, suspended from practicing law in Florida for one year, effective immediately following a September 11 court order. Han is further placed on probation for three years and must enter into a contract with Florida Lawyers Assistance, Inc. ( Admitted to practice: 1988) Han violated or attempt to violate the Rules of Professional Conduct, knowingly assisted or induced another to do so; and committed a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer. (Case no. SC03-493) Leslie Phyllis Holland, 370 Minorca Ave., Ste. 11, Coral Gables, reprimanded for professional misconduct, following an August 21 court order. ( Admitted to practice: 1985) Holland allegedly violated trust accounting records and procedures. (Case no. SC03-1011) Philip Timothy Howard, 1471 Timberlane Rd., Ste. 115, Tallahassee, reprimanded for professional misconduct, following an August 21 court order. ( Admitted to practice: 1987) Howard failed to document his authority in every instance to execute a document on behalf of co-counsel. (Case no. SC02-1148) Louis Michael Jepeway, Jr., 19 W. Flagler St., Ste. 407, Miami, reprimanded for professional misconduct, following a September 25 court order. ( Admitted to practice: 1968) Jepeway failed to properly represent his client in that he did not adequately keep his client reasonably informed as to the status of a case; failed to conduct any discovery or comply with client’s request for information; and failed to properly communicate and represent his client. (Case no. SC03-1604) Arthur H. Lipson, 801 N.E. 167th St., Ste. 312, N. Miami Beach, reprimanded for professional misconduct, following a September 18 court order. ( Admitted to practice: 1970) Lipson filed non-meritorious claims and contentions, expedited litigation, and communicated with person(s) represented by counsel. (Case no. SC03-1457) Dennis Anthony Lopez, 210 N. Pierce St., Tampa, reprimanded for professional misconduct, following an August 28 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1981) Lopez charged or collected excessive fees and violated contingency fee rules. (Case no. SC02-1690) Randy Edward Merrill, P.O. Box 413005, Naples, reprimanded for professional misconduct, following a September 25 court order. ( Admitted to practice: 1983) Among several Bar violations, Merrill failed to keep a client reasonably informed about the status of a matter and violated rules regulating trust accounts. (Case no. SC03-926) Donald Eugene Pervis, P.O. Box 22107, Sarasota, permanently disbarred from practicing law in Florida, effective immediately following a September 18 court order. ( Admitted to practice: 1980) Pervis continued to practice law in Florida after entering into a disciplinary resignation in May. (Case no. SC03-1169) Robert Eugene Tamm, 408 N. Wild Olive Ave., Daytona Beach, suspended by emergency from practicing law in Florida until further court order, effective 30 days following a September 3 court order. ( Admitted to practice: 1976) A review of Mathis’ trust accounts revealed a misappropriation of client funds. (Case no. SC03-1159) Steven Edward Waggoner, 302 Manatee Drive, Ruskin, resigned with leave to seek readmission after three years, following a September 11 court order. ( Admitted to practice: 1983) Among several Bar violations, Waggoner failed to comply with continuing legal education or basic skills requirements; neglected to provide competent representation to a client; failed to act with reasonable diligence and promptness in representing a client; and did not respond, in writing, to official inquiry by Bar counsel. (Case no. SC03-449) Richard P. Warfield, 201 E. Government St., Pensacola, placed on probation for one year, effective immediately following an August 21 court order. ( Admitted to practice: 1949) Warfield placed an advertisement in the phone book, which was not in compliance with the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar. (Case no. SC02-2232) Theodore Willard Weeks III, 2000 S. Florida Ave., Lakeland, suspended from practicing law in Florida for 10 days, effective 30 days following a September 11 court order. Upon his reinstatement, Weeks shall commence serving a three-year probation, which includes signing a rehabilitation contract with Florida Lawyers Assistance, Inc. ( Admitted to practice: 1973) Weeks allegedly knew of a conflict of interest and did not fully disclose to a client the possible effect of that conflict; caused injury or potential injury to a client; and knowingly engaged in conduct that was a violation of a duty owed as a professional and caused injury or potential injury to a client, the public, or the legal system. (Case no. SC03-565 and SC03-1220) W. Alan Winter, 310 Third Street, Neptune Beach, reprimanded for professional misconduct, following a Sept. 18 court order. ( Admitted to practice: 1984) Winter made false and reckless accusations that a judge was biased and politically influenced by his decisions and engaged in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice for knowingly disparaging the judge, opposing counsel, and the integrity of the jury. (Case no. SC01-2603) Court orders are not final until time expires to file a rehearing motion and, if filed, determined. The filing of such a motion does not alter the effective date of the discipline. Disciplinary Actionscenter_img November 15, 2003 Disciplinary Actionslast_img read more

World is safer with shared economy

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion As ever freer trade has caused the global economy to become more and more interdependent, the risk of actual full-out armed conflict has been held at bay. One does not engage in mass murder of one’s customers or one’s suppliers.Some may think it’s the huge military maintained by the United States that has caused the current hiatus of major war. Far more likely, it’s the huge increase in wealth that ever freer trade has created in poorer countries all over the world, which, by the way, has made the rich countries even richer. Wealth isn’t a zero-sum thing. I can get wealthier without you getting poorer.The quixotic longing of the so-called “nationalists” for the supposedly simpler, safer times of the past is just basic denial of uncomfortable truths. Like it or not, we live on and in a global world of 6 billion to 7 billion people, where archaic notions of complete national sovereignty are impossible and likely headed for the dustbin of history.History is a long-term project. Quick, feel-good fixes are rarely, if ever, successful.Richard AntokolSchenectadyMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesSchenectady High School senior class leaders look to salvage sense of normalcySchenectady department heads: Budget cutbacks would further stress already-stretched departmentsMotorcyclist injured in Thursday afternoon Schenectady crashEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidation Tariffs. Good for the economy or bad for the economy? Economists’ consensus is probably bad. But that misses the most important point.It has been 73 years since any major power in the world has nationally mobilized for and actually engaged in a total war effort directly against another major power. Yes, there have been many regional and proxy wars — Vietnam, Korea, Bosnia/Kosovo, etc. But there’s been no World War III or nuclear holocaust, not even close. That has not been just blind luck. last_img read more

Islamorada Dredging Plan on the Table

first_imgThe U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Jacksonville District has received an application for a Department of the Army permit for a maintenance dredging work to restore water depths in navigable waters in the Village of Islamorada, Florida.The applicant – Village of Islamorada – seeks authorization to maintenance dredge a total of 11,380.60 cubic yards of sediment accumulated post Hurricane Irma within a 9.8 acre area within five canal systems to restore water depths to pre-Hurricane Irma conditions and to install temporary floating turbidity barriers around all work areas that are in/over navigable waters of the United States.Material will be dredged utilizing a hydraulic vacuum dredge or mechanical clam shell to remove the sediment accumulation depending on the composition of the material.The utilization of either system will result in the collection of a slurry from the canal bottom comprised of sediment and saltwater.The contractor will either use a mechanical or passive dewatering system to handle the dredged material. The dewatering system will be located in an upland staging area adjacent to the canals.Once dewatered, the material will be transported to an approved upland disposal location dependent on the chemical characteristics of the material.The deadline for sending comments on the proposed work is February 18, 2019.last_img read more

Marijuana devastated Colorado, don’t legalize it nationally

first_imgUSA Today 7 August 2017Family First Comment: Great article – one that should be read by ALL kiwis! “Our country is facing a drug epidemic. Legalizing recreational marijuana will do nothing that Senator Booker expects. We heard many of these same promises in 2012 when Colorado legalized recreational marijuana. In the years since, Colorado has seen an increase in marijuana related traffic deaths, poison control calls, and emergency room visits. The marijuana black market has increased in Colorado, not decreased. And, numerous Colorado marijuana regulators have been indicted for corruption. In 2012, we were promised funds from marijuana taxes would benefit our communities, particularly schools. Dr. Harry Bull, the Superintendent of Cherry Creek Schools, one of the largest school districts in the state, said, “So far, the only thing that the legalization of marijuana has brought to our schools has been marijuana.” In fiscal year 2016, marijuana tax revenue resulted in $156,701,018. The total tax revenue for Colorado was $13,327,123,798, making marijuana only 1.18% of the state’s total tax revenue. The cost of marijuana legalization in public awareness campaigns, law enforcement, healthcare treatment, addiction recovery, and preventative work is an unknown cost to date.” www.saynopetodope.nzLast week, Senator Cory Booker introduced the Marijuana Justice Act in an effort to legalize marijuana across the nation and penalize local communities that want nothing to do with this dangerous drug. This is the furthest reaching marijuana legalization effort to date and marks another sad moment in our nation’s embrace of a drug that will have generational consequences.Our country is facing a drug epidemic. Legalizing recreational marijuana will do nothing that Senator Booker expects. We heard many of these same promises in 2012 when Colorado legalized recreational marijuana.In the years since, Colorado has seen an increase in marijuana related traffic deaths, poison control calls, and emergency room visits. The marijuana black market has increased in Colorado, not decreased. And, numerous Colorado marijuana regulators have been indicted for corruption.In 2012, we were promised funds from marijuana taxes would benefit our communities, particularly schools. Dr. Harry Bull, the Superintendent of Cherry Creek Schools, one of the largest school districts in the state, said, “So far, the only thing that the legalization of marijuana has brought to our schools has been marijuana.”In fiscal year 2016, marijuana tax revenue resulted in $156,701,018. The total tax revenue for Colorado was $13,327,123,798, making marijuana only 1.18% of the state’s total tax revenue. The cost of marijuana legalization in public awareness campaigns, law enforcement, healthcare treatment, addiction recovery, and preventative work is an unknown cost to date.Senator Booker stated his reasons for legalizing marijuana is to reduce “marijuana arrests happening so much in our country, targeting certain communities – poor communities, minority communities.” It’s a noble cause to seek to reduce incarceration rates among these communities but legalizing marijuana has had the opposite effect.According to the Colorado Department of Public Safety, arrests in Colorado of black and Latino youth for marijuana possession have increased 58% and 29% respectively after legalization. This means that Black and Latino youth are being arrested more for marijuana possession after it became legal.Furthermore, a vast majority of Colorado’s marijuana businesses are concentrated in neighborhoods of color. Leaders from these communities, many of whom initially voted to legalize recreational marijuana, often speak out about the negative impacts of these businesses.Senator Booker released his bill just a few days after the Washington Post reported on a study by the Review of Economic Studies that found “college students with access to recreational cannabis on average earn worse grades and fail classes at a higher rate.” Getting off marijuana especially helped lower performing students who were at risk of dropping out. Since legalizing marijuana, Colorado’s youth marijuana use rate is the highest in the nation, 74% higher than the national average, according to the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Report. This is having terribly negative effects on the education of our youth.If Senator Booker is interested in serving poor and minority communities, legalizing marijuana is one of the worst decisions. There is much work to be done to reduce incarceration and recidivism, but flooding communities with drugs will do nothing but exacerbate the problems.The true impact of marijuana on our communities is just starting to be learned. The negative consequences of legalizing recreational marijuana will be felt for generations. I encourage Senator Booker to spend time with parents, educators, law enforcement, counselors, community leaders, pastors, and legislators before rushing to legalize marijuana nationally. We’ve seen the effects in our neighborhoods in Colorado, and this is nothing we wish upon the nation. read more

Global tourist numbers continue to increase, UN agency reports

first_img 65 Views   no discussions Sharing is caring! Share Share Sharecenter_img LifestyleTravel Global tourist numbers continue to increase, UN agency reports by: – September 17, 2011 Tweet Photo credit: tmbulgaria.comMADRID, Spain — International tourist numbers surged by nearly 5 percent in the first half of this year as the industry continues its recovery following the global dip in the wake of the recent financial crisis, new United Nations figures reveal.The latest update of the World Tourism Barometer, released on Thursday by the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), shows there were a record 440 million international tourist arrivals between January and June this year – a jump of 19 million on the same period on 2010.All regions – aside from North Africa and the Middle East, which have been hit by widespread public unrest since the start of the year – have reported growth in 2011, with South America (up 15 percent), sub-Saharan Africa (9 percent) and Central and Eastern Europe (9 percent) particularly strong.This year’s increase of 4.5 percent follows an overall rise of 6.6 percent last year, and UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai said it was an indication of the importance of the tourism sector worldwide.“Tourism can play a key role in terms of economic growth and development, particularly at a moment when many economies, for the most part in Europe and North America, struggle for recovery and job creation,” he said.But Rifai cautioned that growth for the rest of this year may soften given the increased economic uncertainty in recent months.“Many advanced economies still face risks posed by weak growth, fiscal problems and persistently high unemployment. Simultaneously, signs of overheating have become apparent in some emerging economies. Restoring sustained and balanced economic growth remains a major task.”Caribbean News Nowlast_img read more