By Myriam Ortega Torres/Diálogo September 06, 2017 Three Colombian ships, one aircraft, and several rapid response units met in Málaga Bay to carry out Operation Pacífico III. The Colombian Navy’s Pacific Fleet led the training with the participation of the Mexican Navy ship ARM Zapoteco. “You have to make tactical formations,” Rear Admiral Luis Hernán Espejo Segura, the commander of the Colombian Navy’s Pacific Fleet, told Diálogo. “You have to remain within the stations on the maneuvering board assigned to you for exercises in which the ships have to navigate skillfully under various orders that are announced by the person commanding the task group.” During the early July exercise, participants practiced maneuvers for weighing anchor, interdiction tactics, navigation in restricted waters, and naval weaponry firing. These complex duties require high levels of coordination and maneuvering, especially considering that the ships exceed 1,000 tons. Common threats and shared opportunities Operation Pacífico III is an international exercise led by the Colombian Navy’s Pacific Fleet for the purposes of improving monitoring and security at sea, standardizing procedures, and facilitating combined operations with the navies of other nations with interests in the Pacific. The exercise was held for the first time with Panama April 24th to 28th, the second time with Ecuador May 16th to 17th, and this third time with Mexico. Operation Pacífico has prioritized holding these exercises to develop skills directed at tackling real-world challenges. “The struggle against transnational crime, security aspects of human life at sea, and aspects of conserving the environment [are] shared objectives that our nations have in the face of common threats but also shared opportunities,” Rear Adm. Espejo said. In this respect, Mexico is a very important country in the fight against drug trafficking. Large amounts of drugs leave countries such as Ecuador, Peru, and Colombia, and pass through Mexico before arriving at their final destination in the United States. That is why it was timely to have a Mexican ship in the operation. Mexican participation “At this time every year, cadets from the Mexican Naval Academy set out on various Navy ships,” Mexican Navy Rear Admiral Cecilio Olvera Malagón, the naval attaché in Colombia, told Diálogo. “They conduct instructional cruises that allow the cadets to train and practice what they learned in the classroom.” That is how the presence of the ARM Zapoteco in Colombian waters was leveraged to carry out one phase of the operation. “The ships have different flags, but they have to be sure of their ability to operate via mutual agreement under the coordination of a defined command,” Rear Adm. Espejo told Diálogo. “To be safe operating at sea, we need a common language.” “Initially, the training trip aboard the ARM Zapoteco included just a formal visit to Málaga Naval Base,” Rear Adm. Olvera added. “However, through Rear Adm. Espejo’s initiative, it was proposed that we conduct exercises at the end of the visit.” The crew of the ARM Zapoteco comprises 217 members, among them, 190 cadets. “It was very enriching for the cadets to have this opportunity to take part in exercises held on ships belonging to the Colombian Navy’s Pacific Fleet,” Rear Adm. Olvera noted. Common interests Operation Pacífico will continue to be held annually. That is why there are plans to boost the results of the exercises already held with Ecuador and Panama, nations with which Colombia shares land and sea borders that are patrolled by the Colombian Navy’s Pacific Fleet, whose jurisdiction covers 1,320 kilometers of coastline and 339,500 square kilometers of the Pacific Ocean. Together with other nations that make up the Pacific Rim, Colombia is doing its part for the common interests of the region. “As a nation, we make up part of the Pacific Rim. Everything aimed at strengthening our relations and our capacities to work together at sea guarantees and preserves a key activity for our nations, such as international commerce with secure lines of communication, which is one of the responsibilities of navies throughout the world,” Rear Adm. Espejo concluded.
Unspoken risks of cannabis useThe Irish Times 20 May 2019Sir, – There is currently a great deal of one-sided discussion about cannabis. This discussion has been driven by two separate debates. First, there is the argument in favour of legalising cannabis for medicinal use. Second, there is the argument criticising the use of criminal sanctions to deter people from using cannabis.Most of the people taking part in these discussions are sincere and well-intentioned. However, as doctors, we are concerned that Ireland is being led down the path of cannabis legalisation. We are opposed to such a move as we strongly feel that it would be bad for Ireland, especially for the mental and physical health of our young people.We are extremely concerned about the increasing health-related problems caused by cannabis across Ireland. There are several reasons for our concern.Cannabis use, especially in adolescent years, is associated with increased risk of development of severe mental disorders particularly psychosis.There is growing scientific data that indicates that cannabis use in young people is related to impairments to memory and thinking, which can endure long after cannabis use has ceased.Cannabis is now the most common drug involved in new treatment episodes at addiction services nationally.Cannabis is also the most common substance involved in drug-related admissions to our psychiatric hospitals.Cannabis smoke contains the same cocktails of carcinogens and toxins as tobacco smoke and therefore it must be assumed that it brings with it all the medical risks associated with smoking cigarettes.In our view there has been a gross failure to communicate to the people of Ireland these harms which are being caused by cannabis. Responsibility for this failure lies partly with the medical profession but also with the Department of Health and the HSE.We are also concerned that these debates have been influenced by those with a legalisation agenda. We recognise that there is a difference between decriminalisation and legalisation, but it worries us that many TDs seem unaware of these distinctions.While there is limited evidence that some products containing cannabinoids have medical benefit in a very small number of conditions, this has, in our view, been grossly distorted to imply that the cannabis plant in its entirety can be considered a “medicine”. Decriminalisation and “medical cannabis” campaigns have proven to be effective “Trojan horse” strategies on the road to full legalisation and commercialisation elsewhere such as the United States and Canada.Both debates have provided an effective platform for the spreading of misinformation to the public, who are being kept in the dark regarding the harmful side to “weed”. Those harmful effects are magnified now with the prevalence of a much more potent form of cannabis than the form which was common in the 1980s and 1990s. There is evidence that cannabis use has increased in the context of this propaganda campaign and the proportion of people in Ireland who see it as harmless has doubled from 10.1 per cent (2011) to 19.5 per cent (2015).The medical bodies in Canada finally spoke up regarding their concerns about cannabis policy on the eve of its recent legalisation in that country, but that was too late for the youth of Canada. We are determined not to make the same mistake in Ireland.We are calling for an urgent and unbiased examination of the evidence about cannabis use and cannabis-related health harms in Ireland and a comprehensive public education campaign. We hope that we can work with the Department of Health and the HSE to address this “ignored” crisis and minimise further harm to the youth of Ireland. – Yours, etc,https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/letters/unspoken-risks-of-cannabis-use-1.3896017Keep up with family issues in NZ. Receive our weekly emails direct to your Inbox.
Ex-Hearts of Oak Coach Mohammed Polo has expressed his desire to handle the national under 20 team of Ghana following their abysmal showing at the World Cup in New Zealand.Ghana failed to reach the quarter final stage of the tournament in what many perceive to be a failure.Majority of the blame has been laid at the doorstep of head coach Sellas Tetteh as he failed for the first time to take Ghana to the medal zone of a FIFA organized competition in his fifth attempt.“I am ready for the Satellites job. I would not disgrace myself if given the opportunity. As for Sellas Tetteh, he failed and should be sacked.”“Since I am a talent development coach, the job should be given to me so I can build a team of new youngsters in the Ghana Under-20 team,” Polo told Happy FMPolo who was in charge of Accra Hearts of Oak last season enjoyed a torrid time at his boyhood club despite finishing third after missing second place by a whisker. –