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U.S. Marines and Sailors Make an Impact in Central America

first_imgBy U.S. Marine Corps Forces South Sergeant Melissa Martens November 14, 2017 Throughout their six-month deployment, U.S. marines and sailors with Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force – Southern Command (SPMAGTF-SC) have participated in the command volunteer program to offer their time and services to several countries in Central America. The command volunteer program was designed to create, track, and maximize volunteerism with the service members, and provide opportunities for them to make a difference in the local communities. “Working with the local population gave marines and sailors an opportunity to take advantage of every moment they had on this deployment,” said U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Keshia Powell, the religious program specialist with SPMAGTF-SC. “One of our missions was to build relationships with the host nation countries, so what better way to do that than investing time in their people.” Some of the opportunities the task force has participated in included volunteering at local orphanages, cleaning up parks, organizing soccer games in the community, and building homes with Habitat for Humanity. “Over 175 SPMAGTF-SC personnel have volunteered over 7,000 hours at 74 different projects throughout Central America,” said U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander Christopher Stanfield, the SPMAGTF-SC chaplain. “These community relations events have greatly enhanced the host nation communities and partnerships, and were of significant personal value to individual service members.” For the marines and sailors, many of whom are experiencing their first time outside of the United States, interacting with the community firsthand provided ample opportunity for the task force to see the positive impact they can have on those around them. “Participating in these events gave us more insight and opened our eyes to seeing more than our everyday life,” said Lance Corporal Kaitlyn M. Erkson, intelligence specialist with the Aviation Combat Element, SPMAGTF-SC. “It was a humbling experience and it is something that I hope we will all take back with us and continue to do in our communities back home.” Building partner relations was a primary mission of SPMAGTF-SC. This included partnership not only with the host nations, but with their fellow service members in Joint Task Force – Bravo (JTF-Bravo), at Soto Cano Air Base in Honduras. Since 1997, service members from JTF-Bravo have supported more than 500 children at five different orphanages in Comayagua, Honduras. The opportunity for the marines and sailors of SPMAGTF-SC to integrate with them has greatly benefited the children and opened doors to more opportunities. “We are all here together working towards the same goal,” said U.S. Army Specialist Brittany R. Troha, religious affairs specialist with JTF-Bravo. “The people that we go visit and help will be the future. The partnership between the branches is a great way to shed light on teamwork, which is something we try to teach those we interact with.” Aside from interacting and developing strong bonds with local people, the service members have a unique opportunity to use their individual skills and talents to make a lasting imprint on those they serve. “Many of the marines and sailors on this deployment are reservists,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Powell. “Because of this, many of the service members have different skill sets they use on the civilian side. For example, we have former English as a Second Language teachers, sports coaches and artists. These areas of expertise will benefit the people for years to come.” In addition to the community relations events, marines and sailors with SPMAGTF-SC completed engineering projects in Guatemala, Belize, and Honduras, as well as conducted security cooperation training with their counterparts in several other Central American and Caribbean nations. The unit also participated in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts in the Caribbean Sea as part of Joint Task Force – Leeward Islands in response to hurricanes Irma and Maria.last_img read more


H1N1 FLU BREAKING NEWS: Case counts, first Aussie death, New Zealand raises response level

first_imgJun 19, 2009World novel H1N1 cases top 44,000The number of global novel influenza cases grew to 44,287 cases, including 180 deaths, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported today. The total is a 4,667 increase from the number it reported in its Jun 17 update. The list includes the first confirmed cases from Laos, Oman, St Maarten, Papua New Guinea, South Africa, and Suriname. Countries reporting large increases include Mexico, Canada, Argentina, Chile, and the United Kingdom.[WHO update 51]US novel flu cases push past 21,000The nation’s number of novel H1N1 cases grew to 21,449, including 87 deaths, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported today. The number reflects an increase of 3,594 cases and 87 fatalities from a week ago. States reporting the most cases include Wisconsin, Illinois, Texas, New York, Massachusetts, and California. New York confirmed the highest number of deaths, 24, followed by Texas with 10, and California, Utah, and Illinois with 8 each.[Current CDC numbers]Aboriginal member is Australia’s first novel flu deathAustralian health officials today reported the country’s first novel flu death, a 26-year-old man from a remote Western Australia community, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported. The man, who reportedly had a number of other health conditions, died in an Adelaide hospital where he was flown earlier this week for pneumonia treatment. Tests yesterday revealed he also had novel H1N1 flu. Some experts warn that the pandemic’s effects could be more severe in remote populations.[Jun 19 ABC story]Papua New Guinea, Bangladesh confirm first casesOfficials in Papua New Guinea and Bangladesh reported the nations’ first novel H1N1 cases, according to media reports today. Few details were available about the patient in Papua New Guinea, other than he or she had recently developed flulike symptoms after overseas travel. Meanwhile, a health official in Bangladesh said the country’s first case was in a 17-year-oldNew Zealand raises pandemic response levelNew Zealand’s health ministry announced today that the country was shifting from a “contain” to a “manage” pandemic response level. In a statement, the ministry said the change reflects increased transmission of the virus, particularly in Wellington, Christchurch, and Auckland, not the severity of the disease. The ministry said the change will enable community health services to manage large numbers of influenza patients and maintain service levels for other sick people.[Jun 19 New Zealand health ministry statement]last_img read more


BKPM suspends face-to-face licensing services to contain COVID-19 spread

first_imgRead also: Indonesia pledges to safeguard investments as Covid-19 fears growBank Indonesia and the Financial Services Authority (OJK) have asked most of their employees to work from home and have suspended direct services while encouraging the public and stakeholders to use their online and call center services.The Finance Ministry’s Taxation Directorate General has also suspended direct face-to-face services and is advising all taxpayers to use its online services to file their annual tax returns (SPTs). It also extended the deadline for tax returns from March 31 to April 30 “to provide certainty to individual taxpayers”, it said in a statement on Sunday. The pneumonia-like illness had infected 134 people in Indonesia with five fatalities recorded as of Monday.Topics : Read also: Bank Indonesia, OJK limit direct services as social distancing measure to contain virusInvestors can still use BKPM’s online services, contact its call center and send license proposals through postal services, the statement read.President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo called on Sunday for all citizens to practice what epidemiologists call social distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the country. “Under the current circumstances, it’s time for us to work from home, study from home and worship at home,” Jokowi said at a press conference at Bogor Palace in West Java on Sunday. “It’s time for us to work together, to help each other, to unite and cooperate. We want this to be a community movement, so that the COVID-19 problem can be addressed to the fullest.” The Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) will temporarily close its One-Stop Integrated Service (PTSP) licensing outlets to minimize the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus.BKPM head Bahlil Lahadalia explained that the agency would suspend its face-to-face services from March 17 until March 31. “We are doing this […] to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. It’s only for two weeks,” Bahlil said in a press statement on Monday.last_img read more