Home » News » Housing Market » Spring property market bounce ‘peters out’ as Brexit drags on previous nextHousing MarketSpring property market bounce ‘peters out’ as Brexit drags onLatest figures from the Halifax show a second month of weakening house prices as the UK’s exit from the EU continues to bite hard into buyer and seller confidence.Nigel Lewis8th August 20190507 Views House prices will remain flat until Brexit is sorted out and buyer and seller confidence returns to the market, the latest house price index from the Halifax reveals.Its report shows prices softening for the second month in a row and that the average house price is £236,120, which is 0.2% lower than a month ago.Jonathan Hopper, managing director of Garrington Property Finders (left), says: “The Spring bounce is morphing into a Summer slump.Two consecutive months of falling average prices – modest though the drops were – show how the brief flurry of momentum seen in late Spring has petered out.”The Managing Director of Halifax, Russell Galley, says the market will continue ‘treading water’ until buyer and seller worries holding the market back are lifted.“That said, it’s worth remembering that while economic uncertainty continues to weigh on the market, the overall trend actually remains one of comparative stability,” he says.“In the longer term, there is unlikely to be step change in market activity until buyers and sellers see some form of resolution to the current economic uncertainty.”Crunch timeBroker Andrew Montlake of Coreco, says: “Equally, with the odds of no-deal shortening by the day, it’s crunch time for UK bricks and mortar. The impact of no-deal brexit on the UK property market is thick in the air.“The consensus appears to be that the property prices will suffer if we exit the EU without a deal. But if ‘no-deal’ is more a damp squib than end of the world then the property market could rediscover its mojo.”Halifax Garrington Property Finders Brexit coreco mortgage brokers August 8, 2019Nigel LewisWhat’s your opinion? Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.Please note: This is a site for professional discussion. Comments will carry your full name and company.This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.Related articles BREAKING: Evictions paperwork must now include ‘breathing space’ scheme details30th April 2021 City dwellers most satisfied with where they live30th April 2021 Hong Kong remains most expensive city to rent with London in 4th place30th April 2021
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Delice de France has produced gluten-free muffins and bread that carry the Coeliac Society Crossed Grain Symbol.The products are made in a bakery that only produces gluten-free food and are individually wrapped to ensure freshness and prevent cross-contamination with gluten products.The large frozen muffins are packed in boxes of 24, containing 12 blueberry and 12 chocolate chip varieties. They can be served as soon as they are defrosted and last for four days.Delice de France’s new 80g gluten-free sandwich loaf can be used for any style of traditional sandwich, filled and grilled for a ciabatta-style hot option, or topped and finished off in the oven for a gluten-free pizza-style snack. The bread comes frozen, 48 to a case, does not require any pre-heating or part-baking, and has a four-day shelf-life after defrosting.
Twitter Twitter Facebook South Bend man sentenced after guilty plea to animal abuse Facebook IndianaLocalNews (Photo supplied/St. Joseph County Jail) A South Bend man is going to prison after pleading guilty to animal abuse.Damian Newhouse, 43, was arrested at his home, back in April, for reports of animal fighting contests. At the time, Newhouse’s wife told police he would put 5 dogs in a kennel and watch them fight.In September, Newhouse pleaded guilty to domestic violence animal cruelty and using an an animal in a fighting contest.Newhouse was also sentenced in a separate case, for domestic battery.In all, he’ll spend of 4 years in prison, 2 years in community corrections and 1 year on probation.As a condition of probation, he is not able to have contact with, own, or possess any animals of any kind. Pinterest Google+ WhatsApp WhatsApp Google+ Pinterest By Jon Zimney – October 6, 2020 0 273 Previous articleIndiana posts highest daily COVID death total in monthsNext articleNIPSCO natural gas forecast suggests rise in home heating bills Jon ZimneyJon Zimney is the News and Programming Director for News/Talk 95.3 Michiana’s News Channel and host of the Fries With That podcast. Follow him on Twitter @jzimney.
Intel Corporation announced plans to invest $100 million directly into U.S. university research over the next five years to drive innovations in computing and communications.The first collaborative center will be at Stanford University in California. Working with the Stanford center will be the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS); the Universities of California at Berkeley, Davis, and Irvine; the University of Washington; Cornell; and Princeton.The effort will focus on research into visual computing, and will involve 30 faculty members, 50 graduate students, and four researchers from Intel Labs.Hanspeter Pfister, Gordon McKay Professor of the Practice of Computer Science at SEAS, will help to lead the effort at Harvard.Intel will open additional Intel Science and Technology Centers across multiple universities throughout the year.
Alarming obesity projections for children in U.S. Harvard researchers urge early interventions to head off disease A before-school physical activity initiative started by a group of moms is an effective path to helping kids lose weight, according to a study by researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital for Children and Harvard Medical School.The K-8 BOKS program, which has spread to 2,700 schools in four countries and attracted sponsorship from sneaker giant Reebok, requires little from school districts by way of staff and equipment, relying on volunteer leaders and emphasizing simple, accessible activities. Tackling childhood obesity with a text message Experiences of successful families help develop juvenile weight management coaching program Obesity? Diabetes? We’ve been set up Related Harvard researchers are targeting obesity and its cousin, diabetes Rachel Whooten, a postdoctoral fellow in pediatric endocrinology, worked on the study with Professor of Pediatrics Elsie Taveras, project manager Meghan Perkins, and analyst Monica Gerber. We asked Whooten about the findings.Q&ARachel WhootenGAZETTE: What’s the state of exercise in schools today? Are kids getting the recommended amount through gym class?WHOOTEN: When kids are being active, most of it is happening in the schools. But the unfortunate thing is the time that kids are actually being active in schools is not enough.The official recommendation is for 60 minutes a day of physical activity, and only about 50 percent of kids have physical education offered even weekly. There are opportunities for recess in some schools, but the majority of kids aren’t getting enough physical activity. A lot of that is due to an increasing emphasis on academics, and also the reality that it’s difficult to find the resources to support physical activity in schools.GAZETTE: Your study examined an exercise program called Build Our Kids’ Success. Could you describe it?WHOOTEN: It’s a program based on the idea of fitting physical activity in before school. It was started by a group of moms outside of Boston who realized, as they were waiting for the bus with their kids, the kids just naturally wanted to run around.So the moms started a physical activity program for their kids and were able to turn that into a much broader movement, which is now BOKS. It has been catching on in schools throughout Massachusetts as well as throughout the country and internationally. Basically, kids come before school and are led by a group of volunteers — who can be parents, or teachers, or nurses, and who attend a short training and then have resources for a curriculum available online. Kids are active for about an hour.GAZETTE: What did you do and what did you find?WHOOTEN: Three communities outside Boston had independently decided to start the BOKS program and chose whether to do it two days a week or three days a week, based on the resources in their schools. We compared kids who were in the two-days-a-week program, the three-days-a-week program, and those who did not participate.One key thing to know is that it was not a randomized controlled trial. In partnership with the schools, any kid who wanted to participate in the BOKS program was able to participate in the BOKS program. So there is potential that there are differences between the kids who chose to participate and those who chose to not participate. That’s a limitation of the research.There was a pretty large sample size — we had about 700 kids from kindergarten to eighth grade who were participating in the study. The BOKS program occurs over 12 weeks, so we had baseline and 12-week follow-up measures of height and weight. All kids over 8 years of age completed surveys on social and emotional functioning. The surveys [measured] how engaged they are in the school, positive feelings, how much energy they have, how relationships with friends are going, and their life satisfaction.We found a favorable change in the body mass index in kids participating in the program three days a week compared to those who weren’t participating at all. We also found different results between the two-days and three-days-a-week groups for social-emotional wellness outcomes. The two-days-a-week group had improvements in positive feelings and vitality/energy, while the three-days-a-week group had improvements in student engagement.,GAZETTE: As far as BMI, does it mean that if you do this program, it should be three days a week?WHOOTEN: The results do bring up the question of what the intensity of the program should be.The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force — looking at a much broader range of physical-activity interventions in kids — found that in order for a program to be effective you had to have over 27 contact hours over a two- to three-month period. The two-day-a-week program falls below that amount of contact time while the three-day-a-week program falls above that contact time. So the findings in the three-days-a-week group of our study do fall within those guidelines, as far as the doses of physical activity needed in order to achieve BMI differences.GAZETTE: Is it safe to say then, that if you do the three-day-a-week program, that the kids are more likely to lose weight and be better engaged in school? Is that the takeaway?WHOOTEN: I would say that. I think one thing too, though, is that for obesity prevention, we’re looking at weight maintenance as opposed to weight loss. So finding a decrease in BMI, that’s great. But we also found that compared to baseline measures, more kids were in the healthy-weight category in the follow-up in the three-days-a-week group versus the two-days-a-week group and control.GAZETTE: How important is it that the program occurs before school?WHOOTEN: A lot of time, when we try to make kids more physically active in school, it takes time away from academics or takes resources from other things at the school. After school is a time when some kids are already involved in programs and this wasn’t a study of whether it’s better to participate in soccer or dance or walking or playing outside, for example. The before-school time avoids this issue of potential unintended consequences of physical activity during or after school.In the before-school time period, there is less competition — if kids are doing anything, it may be something sedentary, like watching TV, playing on an iPad. The program takes this time when kids normally might not be doing anything and adds some positive behavior in. And elementary school starts a little bit later, so for a lot of parents it’s a situation where the program gives them a place to take kids in the morning and have them do healthy behaviors.GAZETTE: How does this fit in with childhood obesity? Have there been any signs of the obesity epidemic in children declining or plateauing?WHOOTEN: A couple of years ago, there did seem to be research supporting a decrease in obesity in the younger age groups. Unfortunately, in recent weeks more updated data came out that obesity rates are still increasing, so maybe the bright spots we thought we saw weren’t actually there. So we’re going back to the drawing board and seeing what interventions are out there and what we can do to be successful.
Scholars approached the hot-button issue of women’s rights in the Muslim world at a panel held Tuesday at Saint Mary’s College in the Vander Vennet Theatre. Three members of the panel,”Women and Empowerment in the Muslim World: Varied Perspectives,” shared perspectives on why women in the Muslim world often are treated as inferior to men. Nabila Feroz Bhatti, women’s rights activist and native Pakistani, discussed the social and political forces opposing gender equality in Pakistan. “Pakistan is the third most dangerous country for women’s rights,” Bhatti said. “Today, Pakistani women are facing socio-economic and political challenges in their struggle for equality.” Arabic professor Soraya Wirth said Islam is not inherently opposed to gender equality, especially with regard to education. “Islam recognizes men and women as … equal but different,” Wirth said. “According to the Quran, all people, men and women, are expected to obtain knowledge.” Wirth said the Quran does not require that a woman take her husband’s last name, that a man punish his wife physically or that a woman wear a hijab, the traditional Muslim head covering. The Quran also depicts women as being equally worthy of entering heaven, she said. “The Quran says that all should enter into paradise. It doesn’t say ‘men’ should enter, but ‘all,’” Wirth said. Dr. Roy Seitz, a marine physician previously stationed in Afghanistan, analyzed the issue from a militaristic standpoint. He attributed much of the injustice against women to the Taliban. “Although my perspective is limited to the rural areas of Afghanistan, the Taliban seemed to be directly related to the violence that occurred with both men and women,” Seitz said. Seitz said he had little interaction with the Afghan women, who were more inclined to speak with the female Marines. “The women steered clear of us and I really felt like they didn’t want our help. It seemed like they were, in a way, scared that we would westernize them,” Dr. Seitz said. Seitz relayed an anecdote of an encounter with a woman and child in Afghanistan as evidence of Afghani women’s attitude toward the West. “I remember one day when we were traveling through a town and a woman was on the side of the road with her child,” Seitz said. “Immediately when we passed her she hid her child behind her back. It was like she didn’t want the child to even see us.” Senior Jessica Cross said the panel offered an interesting complement to her coursework on the topic. “This panel was a great addition to the Gender and Politics course I am currently taking,” she said. “The panel did a great job at showing different perspectives on women in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and [under] Islam in general.”
The Basilica of the Sacred Heart was filled with firefighters, police officers, emergency medical personnel and many other servicemen and women and their families on Thursday for the 15th Annual Blue Mass, an event to honor the women and men who dedicate their lives to service. Basilica rector Fr. Peter Rocca presided over the mass, and Fr. James Bracke gave the homily. Steve Chikerotis, a recently retired deputy district chief of the Chicago Fire Department, offered the final remarks. According to the Notre Dame Fire Department website, the Blue Mass began one month after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks as an annual event to honor all servicemen and women.“It’s a wonderful way to remember those who have gone before us … and also [to say] thank you to all of you who protect and serve us,” Rocca said. “We can never say thank you enough.”In his homily to the congregation, Bracke said servicemen and women give unfailing aid and effort to their community.“Who is my neighbor?” Bracke asked in his homily. “[The servicemen and women] teach us how to be a neighbor. They go without question, … they serve, they mend, they bring healing.”Following the homily, Jim Hassig, a captain of the Notre Dame Security Police, asked the congregation to remember the firefighters, police officers and rescue workers who have lost their lives over the past year, as well as the servicemen and women that gave their lives on 9/11. Rocca said the Mass also honored St. Florian, the patron saint of fire brigades, and St. Michael the Archangel, the patron saint of the military and police. He said the Church prays to these saints to grant protection to the gathered servicemen and women.Giving the closing remarks, Chikerotis said the event itself means a great deal to him, and that he was honored to be there. He said it is important to “never forget” the men and women who have died in service to their community. Chikerotis also said he remembers many heroes from the days following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, including Todd Beamer from United Airlines Flight 93 and the hundreds of firefighters and emergency medical personnel that rushed to the site where it crashed to assist in rescue efforts. Looking back on the tragedy, Chikerotis said it prompted a return of patriotism to the U.S.“People were good neighbors. People looked out for each other,” he said. The way that people view servicemen and women has changed for the better, Chikerotis said, and he believes the American people appreciate the work that firefighters, police officers and emergency responders do every day. “They give it their all, they may risk their life for total strangers.” Chikerotis said. “It’s a very noble thing to do. That’s why I’m proud to be standing in front of this group in this church.“Thanks for what you do, thanks for who you are.”Tags: Blue Mass, firefighters, NDFD, NDSP, servicemen
By Dialogo May 22, 2014 Lasso Monsalve’s time in captivity a kind of “purgatory” A dramatic escape FARC attacks Mitu Sergeant Pinchao’s ordeal After about eight years in captivity, Pinchao was determined to regain his freedom. He planned his escape for more than a year. In April 2007, Pinchao put some corn tamale dough and a water bottle inside his pocket. He waited for a moment when a guard was distracted, then ran – and never stopped. The water spilled onto his tamale dough. For days, all he ate was wet tamale dough. Pinchao walked, swam and crawled through the Amazon jungle, enduring mosquito bites and avoiding poisonous plants and dangerous animals. Once, he climbed a tree to avoid a tiger. Finally, after 17 days, he ran into an anti-narcotics police patrol, which rescued him. Once he was free, Pinchao slowly regained his physical health. He also wrote a book, “My Escape to Freedom,” which was published in January 2008. Pinchao retired from the PNC in 2012. Thinking about the love of his family helped him survive his captivity, Pinchao said. To move forward in his life, he said, he holds no ill will against his captors. “Forgiveness is important to move forward, it is a form of freedom from pain and letting go of the chains to the pastt,” he said. This is an amazing inner look at the horrible situation within these emcampments and kidnappings…Wow..truly an eye opener and very informative…I hope they are able to find peace and tranquility…Forgiveness is a great key to seal your present and future stability…Thank YOU! The suffering they went through is unbelievable. May God grant peace in Colombia. TheY celebrate it. What a shame, having had the chance to put an end to that group of bastards. It’s hard to comprehend that things like this still happen in the world. I feel bad for people living in fear of terrorism as such a real and personal threat. I think it is good for such events to be brought to the attention of people everywhere in hope that one day things will change. Well done for the Sergeant and for the Peace signing. And how will the barbarities committed by the FARCs be punished? To the Inhuman Rights organisms THEY TAKE UP ARMS AND ARE CONSIDERED TERRORISTS, THEN HOW CAN WE NAME ALL OF THOSE WHO MAKE DECISIONS FOR THE WELLBEING OF A FEW, WHILE HARMING THE REMAINING 40 MILLION COLOMBIANS WHO SUFFER THE VIOLENCE CAUSED BY THEIR OWN FORCES. Great!! it’s definitely very sad I like it I don’t like the comments, hahaha It’s unbelievable that to this day, kidnapping, which happens to be one of the most inglorious actions, is a form to impose ideas or generate fear. There shouldn’t be so many corrupt people, stop corruption. Where’s the rest of those who were kidnapped? Why aren’t they released? Why doesn’t the government demand or order their release at the famous peace conversations in Cuba? People, can you believe that a peace dialogue can take place in Cuba? This suffering is sad, but being alive is worth putting up with the worst. It’s unfortunate that these things happen, very unfortunate. welcome to freedom!!!!! As a Colombian, this unfair war hurts. I hope we can achieve the sought-out peace. We leave it all in the hands of our lord Jesus Christ, he will handle it. We want peace.July 20, 1914 It gives me strength and I like that the police forces, despite the many hardships they go through, set an example for many people without morals, that deprive the good people of freedom. Congratulations to the security forces that provide a service with honor. The FARCs have separated many people from their loved ones. They are individuals without morals, without a heart and with social complexes. They’re resented towards the world. The infamous guerrilla attacks the civilians that supposedly is fighting for, what a contradiction. How easy, trying to justify the unjustifiable. Ah, I wish there were more cops like him. May God bless him and his family. The only way to eliminate the bad weeds is to pull them out from the root, peer to peer, guerrilla to guerrilla. That’s how it happened in ARG, man. Even with all Lasso Monsalve went through, he’s still with the police force. Not even Mother Teresa of Calcutta would do it. It’s terrible being out of the “bienvenido” family for so long. I won’t be able to go to Colombia because of you, I hate you. Nations have conflicts that they export and that they have built through their own oligarchies, with their excessive ambitions. It’s unfortunate to see how we are treated like animals by people who are similar to us, just because we don’t think the same way. God made us all the same and we all live for the same goal: to have a good life. My brother, politicians are afraid to pass drastic laws, the right thing would be death row for those murderers. I feel sorry for that silly human rights institution, everyone knows it only benefits certain politicians. This is a story that takes place in the middle of the 20th century, where technology and global communication are taking over, but it seems that hate, ambition and political ideas have become more powerful in Colombia, the spoiled little girl of our Liberator. It makes me proud to see how those Colombian boys defend their country. They set the example for today’s youth. Well, it was something very special. One should never give up when facing adversity, because there will always be a better tomorrow. “Congratulations to Laso Monsalve”!!! From Venezuela to Colombia, greetings to all. Greetings to all from Venezuela to Colombia, I’m glad you are free. According to the statistics, this generation is the most violent in the world!!! God makes everything possible, and the most important thing in obtaining peace is forgiveness. It’s not fair that they keep killing our cops… and send them to jail while those who walk around armed and commit murders get shorter sentences and house arrest. The Colombian justice is failing by 90 percent. They punish the righteous and the rest appear to be relatives of the corrupt ones. The FARCs are a bunch of miserable cowards. They talk and brag to the world about being like Robin Hood, but they fight by planting landmines and ending the dreams and hopes of many Colombians, civilians or military men…Sons of the people. Narco-terrorists…neither fish nor fowl. May God bless our people from injustice and corruption, these delinquents exist because of the corruption. The State Forces would have already weaken and eradicated them long time ago. This article is excellent; I’m proud to read about events like these, and to know that there are brave and indispensable people like the hero or heroes of this article! As a cop from Venezuela, I don’t understand how come these FARC terrorists still exist. They need to be eliminated. There should be peace in Colombia, why so much cruelty? Hooray for peace. Congratulations on your freedom, there’s nothing more precious than that! VERY GOOD You are brave and you overcame everything, thanks God. It’s impressive how they take a person’s freedom and treat him like an animal. Good, the news. Their stories are very sad. But their faith to survive was bigger and they deserved to go back to their families. May God bless them and give them many years of life. Regarding the FARCs, they are people but without feelings, morals, they are inhuman and murderous. That is why I’m writing the word “PEACE” in quotes. I’m only asking the FARC and ELN narco-terrorists to have the courage to acknowledge their mistake and ask for forgiveness, and those who have to go to jail should do so. But pay for your crimes. It’s not just about apologizing and washing their hands clean. No, there’s something deeper here. FARC and ELN, remember that your sincere acts of regret and gestures of peace are worth more than any other signed document. There’s still time. Maybe it’s because being a cop in Venezuela means being a criminal with a badge and an assassin with a title. I THINK IT’S EXCELLENT. Without doubt, it’s very unfortunate, but as long as men continue to put their egos before their values, they will always live in fear and hatred. I don’t know what peace people are talking about if they keep killing, kidnapping and trafficking drugs, even sticking their noses in other countries where nobody has called them and they’re still gathered in Cuba with the Castro mommies talking about peace and stating their conditions to the government…the only thing missing is ASKING SANTOS TO HAND OVER THE PRESIDENCY………. It’s very harsh, unfortunate and sad when a person’s freedom is taken away, especially when they are in the military due to the insurgency. I did my military service and received merits at the cimitarra Santander red zone of the contingent /83/. We had several confrontations with the FARCs and were unscathed, thank God. It’s unfortunate that in the 21st century there’s still the possibility of someone experiencing having their freedom taken away and living conditions. It’s unfortunate all that it’s happening in this world. Hooray for peace. Amen. I used to be a cop but now I’m a motorized patrol agent. Honestly, If I were to be born again I would be a cop again. It’s a beautiful and gratifying profession although poorly paid and lacks respect here in my beautiful country Venezuela. That experience of those two Colombian policemen had to be extremely difficult. I send my most sincere support really, from another professional escort policeman. Congratulations for recovering your lives and your precious and beautiful freedom. The saddest thing is to be thankful for his liberation and have a brotherly conversation in La Habana with the delinquents that stole years of his life with his family. Given that I’m Venezuelan, I feel a great admiration for the police, the army and the Colombian people. I miss the other Venezuelan army. Greetings to all those men of freedom. I have been closely following your odyssey. There’s no shame for these FARC terrorists and what an army of the people, oh please. Will they be labeled by the government as victims…? Never forget what these people are capable of doing with good, hard-working people that have aspirations to always improve the race of the country. WE MUST BANISH TERRORISM!!! What I don’t understand is how a country with international aid has not been able to defeat a group of armed men in all these years? Here in Venezuela, they should catch the officialism and opposing politicians and hand them over to the FARCs so that they can’t enjoy all that they have stolen. I think that the seriousness of the internal issues within the Colombia is due to the lack of governance and of not knowing how to lead a country. And if those are on top can’t solve this problem, then who will? The ELN and the FARCs aren’t the problem, it’s the lack of communication…! An example of self-improvement and will power. Congratulations and may God keep you safe. Pinchao grew up in a poor section of Bogotá which was plagued by crime and violence. Seeing all the criminal behavior in his neighborhood inspired him to keep people safe, he recalled. “As a child living in the poverty belts of Bogotá rife with crime and violence awakened in me a repudiation of criminals,” Pinchao said. “As soon as I was able I enlisted.” Pinchao joined the PNC in 1992, after his 18th birthday. Pinchao knew that being a police officer could be dangerous. But he never dreamed he would face such a terrible ordeal. After the fighting had died down in Mitu, FARC terrorists took the two captured sergeants to a jungle encampment. The conditions were horrible. Over time, the FARC took Pinchao and Lasso Monsalve to different camps, sometimes forcing them to march 20 days in a row. For a while, the terrorists kept a chain tied tightly around Pinchao’s neck. The chain caused severe pain. “We remained imprisoned in barbed-wire fences herded like in a Nazi prison camp,” Pinchao told Diálogo during a series of phone and e-mail interviews conducted in April. “The days were monotonous; however we sought distraction mechanisms, such as board games or physical exercise.” The FARC fed Pinchao and the other captives meager meals of rice and peas. Several times, Pinchao became seriously ill with malaria. I n October 2004, at which point the two sergeants had been in captivity for nearly six years, the FARC separated them, placing Pinchao and Lasso Monsalve in different camps. In exclusive interviews with Diálogo, two former Colombian police sergeants described years of captivity in jungle encampments after being kidnapped by terrorists with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Cesar Augusto Lasso Monsalve and John Frank Pinchao recounted their ordeals in a series of interviews. FARC terrorists held Lasso Monsalve captive for more than 13 years, and Pinchao for nearly nine years. The FARC is engaged in ongoing peace talks with the government in Havana. As a condition of engaging in peace talks, the government required the FARC to refrain from committing kidnappings. Nonetheless, FARC terrorists were responsible for 32 of the 299 kidnappings that were committed in Colombia in 2013, according to the military. Lasso Monsalve and Pinchao described the terrible conditions they and other kidnapping victims suffer. The two men survived heat, humidity, tropical diseases, loneliness, and other hardships. Lasso Monsalve grew up in Manzinales, where he dreamed of becoming a police officer. He joined the PNC in 1988, when he was 18 Lasso Monsalve’s memories of the FARC attack on Mitu are dream-like, “like an action movie where I was one of the actors,” he said. Just before the attack, Lasso Monsalve and other PNC agents had provided security for Children’s Day celebrations. When the FARC attacked, the town became a battlefield. “After hours of intense fighting I ran out of ammunition,” Lasso Monsalve told Diálogo during a series of phone interviews conducted in April and May. “The (FARC) murdered 8 civilians in front of me with the excuse that they were police informers.” Like Pinchao, Lasso Monsalve suffered health problems during his captivity. He contracted malaria four times, and suffered from severe abdominal pain and high fevers. Some fellow PNC agents who had also been kidnapped died from disease and starvation. Storms were dangerous. “During a night of heavy rain and thunderstorm my peers and I were out in the open with chains to our necks,” Lasso Monsalve recalled. “Lightning hit right next to us killing a (FARC operative).” At times, FARC terrorists allowed Lasso Monsalve and other captives to listen to the radio program “Voices of Kidnapping.” On the program, family members and friends of kidnapping victims send out messages to their loved ones over the radio airwaves. “To listen to the radio was a moment awaited by all of us,” Lasso Monsalve said. “Messages gave us hope. A message on our birthday was very special to us.” Lasso Monsalve missed some major events in his family’s life during his captivity. When the FARC captured him, his wife was pregnant. She gave birth to a girl. In 2000, his father, Daniel Lasso, died of a heart attack. In April, 2012, the FARC released Lasso Monsalve, along with 10 other police officers and soldiers. The release of the captives was a gesture to show a willingness to pursue peace, FARC leaders said. Lasso Monsalve’s faith and pride in being a PNC agent helped him survive his ordeal. “I learned to value life, friendship and family and to understand death. To never give up hope,” he said. “I learned the true meaning of being a policeman to be proud of it and that our job is to serve society. “I spent thirteen years and five months in purgatory between life and death “ Since the FARC released him, Lasso Monsalve has continued his police career and has been promoted to the rank of sergeant major. He is grateful for his freedom and proud of his service in the PNC. “Upon returning to freedom I found a National Police that has international prestige and is a model for many police institutions throughout the world,” he said. FARC terrorists kidnapped Lasso Monsalve and Pinchao following the three-day attack on the town of Mitu that began just before 5 a.m. on Nov. 1, 1998. About 1,500 FARC terrorists attacked the town, which had about 5,400 inhabitants. The attackers ignited 200 gas-cylinder bombs which destroyed dozens of buildings. FARC terrorists engaged in shootouts with security forces throughout the day, and attacked a police station which housed most of the town’s security forces. The fighting raged for three days and nights. Though they were greatly outnumbered, the 120 soldiers and police officers at the police station fought ferociously. By the end of the battle, 60 soldiers, police officers, and civilians were dead. Another 84 police officers were missing. Among the missing were Lasso Monsalve and Pinchao, who at the time were both sergeants in the National Police of Colombia (PNC). FARC terrorists had captured Lasso Monsalve and Pinchao, placed them in shackles, and kidnapped them. For years, the FARC kept the two sergeants in captivity. The two sergeants survived heat, humidity, tropical diseases, loneliness, and other hardships. But both men survived and regained their freedom. In separate interviews with Diálogo, Lasso Monsalve and Pinchao shared their dramatic stories of survival and resilience.
Honduras is a key transshipment point for South American narcotics. Nearly 90 percent of the cocaine that reaches the United States comes through Mexico and Central America, according to the United Nations International Narcotics Control Board. Troops with Honduras’s National Interagency Security Force (FUSINA), an elite unit comprised of Army Soldiers and National Police agents, has seized 28,285 kilograms of marijuana and 11,727 kilograms of cocaine, in addition to arresting 13,649 suspects since its creation on January 27, 2014. In the year since it began operations, FUSINA also seized $13.3 million; 3,392 guns; 17,770 rounds of ammunition; and 13 grenades, according to Lieutenant Colonel Santos Nolasco, FUSINA spokesman. Law enforcement officials suspect the detainees of several offenses, including extortion, conspiracy, committing acts of rebellion, and possession of illegal weapons. Soldiers made the arrests based on information obtained from nine suspected FARC members who were arrested in January. FUSINA in Honduras seized large amounts of drugs in 2014 The administration of President Juan Orlando Hernández launched the elite unit to combat narco-trafficking, extortion, organized crime groups, and violence nationwide. It also destroyed numerous clandestine airstrips used by narco-traffickers in addition to seizing an undisclosed number of automobiles, motorcycles, and property. By Dialogo February 03, 2015 Troops with Honduras’s National Interagency Security Force (FUSINA), an elite unit comprised of Army Soldiers and National Police agents, has seized 28,285 kilograms of marijuana and 11,727 kilograms of cocaine, in addition to arresting 13,649 suspects since its creation on January 27, 2014. Law enforcement officials suspect the detainees of several offenses, including extortion, conspiracy, committing acts of rebellion, and possession of illegal weapons. Soldiers made the arrests based on information obtained from nine suspected FARC members who were arrested in January. The FARC, which is the nation’s largest terrorist group, uses proceeds from narco-trafficking to finance its criminal activities. FUSINA in Honduras seized large amounts of drugs in 2014 The dismantling of the airstrips is having a positive impact. The Guatemalan Military reported that it detected a small number of narco-flights in the country’s air space in 2014, compared to an average of 12 a month in 2013. Colombian National Army Soldiers captured 11 suspected Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas in several cities and municipalities, the Military said on January 28. The dismantling of the airstrips is having a positive impact. The Guatemalan Military reported that it detected a small number of narco-flights in the country’s air space in 2014, compared to an average of 12 a month in 2013. It also destroyed numerous clandestine airstrips used by narco-traffickers in addition to seizing an undisclosed number of automobiles, motorcycles, and property. In the year since it began operations, FUSINA also seized $13.3 million; 3,392 guns; 17,770 rounds of ammunition; and 13 grenades, according to Lieutenant Colonel Santos Nolasco, FUSINA spokesman. Honduras is a key transshipment point for South American narcotics. Nearly 90 percent of the cocaine that reaches the United States comes through Mexico and Central America, according to the United Nations International Narcotics Control Board. The FARC, which is the nation’s largest terrorist group, uses proceeds from narco-trafficking to finance its criminal activities. Colombian National Army Soldiers captured 11 suspected Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas in several cities and municipalities, the Military said on January 28. The administration of President Juan Orlando Hernández launched the elite unit to combat narco-trafficking, extortion, organized crime groups, and violence nationwide.