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  • USAID Provides Relief to Caribbean Partner Nations

    first_imgBy Diálogo September 29, 2017 The government of the United States, through the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) and the U.S. Department of Defense, has provided nearly $7.3 million in humanitarian assistance for the Hurricane Irma and Maria responses to date for Fiscal Year 2017. The assistance comprised airlifting more than 45 metric tons of critical supplies—including emergency shelter materials, hygiene kits, water containers, and blankets—to Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Saint Martin. Two flights delivered aid to Dominica and St. Maarten on September 26th; a third flight landed in Dominica on September 27th; and a fourth flight was scheduled to arrive in St. Kitts and Nevis later that same day, according to USAID. The agency had already airlifted relief supplies to Antigua and Barbuda, and the Bahamas, after Hurricane Irma’s wrath devastated the area on September 7th as a Category 5 storm. As of September 28th, USAID had airlifted more than 151 metric tons of relief supplies for Caribbean hurricane relief efforts. In Dominica, relief items are reaching people in need. On September 26th, the USAID Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) in the Caribbean worked closely with the government of Dominica to deliver aid—including water containers, hygiene kits, and kitchen sets—to 13 shelters around Roseau for distribution to communities hard hit by the storm. USAID DART is working with the U.S. military, in coordination with local disaster officials, to ensure that items airlifted by USAID are strategically distributed to those most in need around the island. USAID leads and coordinates all U.S. government international disaster assistance through OFDA. The agency airlifted 100 rolls of heavy-duty plastic sheeting to Saint Martin on September 27th to assist 5,000 people with emergency shelter needs. These, and other items provided by USAID, were distributed by governments and aid groups across the island. As the response activities led by the French and Dutch governments picked up speed, the United States scaled back its activities in the island of Saint Martin to provide resources to other areas in the Caribbean. The U.S. military concluded its mission on Saint Martin on September 28th, and transitioned operations to each nation’s government. After Hurricane Irma destroyed nearly all the island’s infrastructure, USAID requested the unique capabilities of the U.S. Department of Defense, specifically U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), to provide logistics support as well as water desalination services. Eight water units produced nearly 76,500 gallons of potable water for Saint Martin to date. USAID DART deployed to the region on September 7th to lead the U.S. government’s response to hurricanes Irma and Maria. Members of the DART are in Dominica, Saint Martin, Barbados, Martinique, and Guadeloupe. The DART remains flexible and nimble in order to mobilize to other areas based on needs assessed on the ground. SOUTHCOM Capabilities In some large-scale crises, USAID may require the unique capabilities of the U.S. Department of Defense to support its response activities through the use of military equipment, personnel, and/or technical expertise. For the humanitarian response to hurricanes Irma and Maria, USAID requested the unique capabilities of SOUTHCOM to provide airlift support, as well as water treatment services for the island of Saint Martin. “Our country is a compassionate nation with a long history of helping countries impacted by natural disasters like this,” said U.S. Navy Adm. Kurt Tidd, SOUTHCOM commander. “We’re ready to support USAID, if needed, to save lives, alleviate human suffering and provide aid to those afflicted by this storm.” It is this U.S. spirit that drives USAID’s international disaster responses, explained SOUTHCOM Public Affairs. “As we are witnessing across the United States, it is a core American value to help those in need, and USAID proudly works on behalf of the American people,” they said. “The humanitarian assistance we provide abroad represents the best of American generosity. In addition, humanitarian assistance helps strengthen our relationships with people around the world by helping them when they need it most.” USAID aims to deliver international assistance on behalf of the American people as efficiently as possible. To do this, it strategically positions staff and resources around the world and maintains a network of local emergency response experts. This means that while less than two percent of the United States’ federal budget is allocated for foreign assistance, USAID is well equipped to respond quickly and effectively when disaster strikes abroad.last_img read more

  • 3 ways to increase the emotional intelligence of credit union employees

    first_imgOne of the primary aims of credit union managers is to be sure their employees provide a great experience to each member who walks through the door or who places a phone call to the branch. While members have historically based decisions on economical factors, such as interest rates, they are now responding with more feeling and emotion than ever before when making purchasing decisions. And because emotions are contagious, the way employees interact with members affects how members perceive the quality of service they receive at their credit union.This is where the emotional intelligence of credit union employees comes into play.While it is important for employees to have the “book smarts” to know policies, procedures, and sales techniques, having emotional intelligence, or “emotional smarts,” is becoming increasingly important for them as well. Briefly, emotional intelligence refers to our ability to A) identify our feelings, B) identify others’ feelings, and C) respond accordingly. And why should credit unions care about the emotional intelligence of their employees? Studies show more and more that emotional intelligence is a critical success factor in the business world, and in particular, financial institutions.So how can credit union employees, from frontline tellers to executives, bolster their emotional intelligence? Below are three practical ways in which emotional intelligence can be increased immediately. Develop EmpathyBeing empathetic means we recognize and understand how others feel. Displaying empathy is important because when others perceive that we are empathetic, they in turn believe we are treating them with fairness and respect. When it comes to interactions with members and coworkers alike, credit union employees can develop empathy by:– Listening to others (and resisting the urge to interrupt)– Being slow to offer advice (sometimes listening, from the point above, is enough)– Taking others’ points-of-view into account (the old “put yourself in their shoes” adage) Practice Emotional LiteracyBeing emotionally literate helps us place the focus of our own feelings and emotions in the right place. We can practice being emotionally literate by expressing our thoughts (to ourselves – not audibly) in three word sentences. For example, if a member is taking too long during a transaction then you might be tempted to think to yourself (or possibly say aloud) “You are ridiculous!” However, this emotion will only serve to get you down and will likely make you less effective during that interaction. On the other hand, if you redirect this thought by saying to yourself “I feel impatient,” then you are more accurately getting to the root of the emotion and are better able to regulate that emotion. Try these tips to increase your emotional literacy:– Express your feeling with a three-word sentence– Use “I” instead of “You” (this allows you to own the feeling instead of placing it on another person)– Use feeling words in your three-word sentence (for example, I feel tired, exhausted, frustrated, etc…)– Remember that thoughts determine emotion Develop Emotional ControlWhereas empathy and emotional literacy are fairly specific, developing emotional control is a little more broad. In general, emotional control means taking action on those situations in which we have control. For example, if a credit union member is rude to you during an interaction, you cannot truly control their behavior. However, you can control your behavior. One element you have control over is your breathing…yes, your breathing. Try taking deep breaths as a way to calm your emotional response. You might also try forward thinking in an instance like this. Forward thinking is a technique where you simply think to yourself “How significant will ___be tomorrow…or next week?” Yes, the member may have been rude to you.  But does their rude behavior require an equally rude response? No. A rude response by you will only hurt the member’s perception of your credit union. Developing your emotional control will help lessen the impact of a situation like this. In order to develop more emotional control, try these tips:– Breathe deeply for a few seconds (perhaps find an excuse to step away briefly so that you can do this)– Take a break (walk around the outside of the branch if time and weather permits)– Try forward thinking (How important will ___ be tomorrow?)Developing emotional intelligence takes time and practice. And simply practicing the preceding three tips will not make you emotional intelligence experts after one day. However, try these tips and see if they can help positively impact your interactions with members and coworkers today. 94SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Russell Clayton Web: www.russellclayton.net Detailslast_img read more

  • Why credit unions can’t take member trust for granted

    first_imgThere’s an old saying in business, often attributed to Warren Buffett: It takes 20 years to build a reputation, and five minutes to destroy that same hard-earned reputation.We’ll use that Buffett-ism as a jumping-off point to reflect on the fact that credit unions (CUs) have built strong reputations over decades. However, CUs — which now number roughly 5,300 in the U.S. — face pressure to step up technological advances, where inexorable movement toward digital and consumer-focused services can foster a disconnect that, left unaddressed, will turn loyalists fickle.Consider the fact that 49 percent of members want their financial institutions (FIs) to focus on loyalty and rewards programs, yet only 29 percent of CUs said they had focused on loyalty and rewards in the past few years.In the latest Data Drivers, PSCU CEO Charles E. (Chuck) Fagan weighed in on the sense of community CUs wield as a competitive advantage. ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr continue reading »last_img read more

  • Outside the commercial real estate box

    first_img ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Credit unions want to be relationship lenders, but when it comes to business members, they’re primarily product lenders—they finance one piece of a business’s credit needs: commercial real estate. CUs often struggle to provide business operations funding and some of the more complex deposit services that go with operations.$19 billion BECU, Tukwila, Washington, like most CUs that do business lending, is mostly a commercial real estate lender, but it is starting down the relationship path. More than 90 percent of BECU’s $1.3 billion business loan portfolio is CRE, says Scott Strand, CCE, SVP/member lending, business and wealth management. “We do some unsecured lines and business credit cards, but the vast majority of our loans are commercial real estate,” he concedes.That will change, but not dramatically, he predicts. “We have 50,000 business members with over $750 million in deposits, so the potential is definitely there to do more business operations lending. Small business is a powerful growth area. We’re upgrading our deposit services around business needs and doing more with treasury management, adding staff that specializes in business relationship management,” he reports. continue reading »last_img read more

  • A strategy to help members magnify their money

    first_img ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr continue reading » Wright-Patt Credit Union ($4.4B, Beavercreek, OH) has undertaken an aggressive, comprehensive initiative to boost the financial wellness of its members and people who the big Ohio credit union would like to make members.Called Financial Flexibility and Freedom, the effort includes products and services the credit union has long provided — such as money management campaigns and re-financing offers— as well as something entirely new — the MoneyMagnifier coaching program.Under that program, the 32-branch financial cooperative is training and deploying what it calls “member center financial coaches” to instruct members on:last_img read more

  • Launched a global initiative for sustainable tourism – Travalyst

    first_imgOn the other hand, according to the WTTC, travel and tourism generated $ 8,8 trillion for the global economy in 2018. With each trip, the number of opportunities to do something good grows. Thus, according to the UNWTO, last year the number of international trips globally reached 1,4 billion, two years faster than originally predicted. It is also significant that the initiative connects global companies and leaders in the tourism sector, ie those who focus on connecting users and service providers in the tourism sector, to take advantage of their unique position and educate, raise awareness and promote positive change. Photo: Booking.com Individuals and organizations wishing to participate in this can visit www.travalyst.org. ‘Travalyst’ was launched to mobilize the travel sector as a driver of positive trends with the aim of transforming the future of travel for all, and this initiative is the first of its kind dedicated to discovering and promoting solutions that will make travel more sustainable. His Kingdom Highness, the Duke of Sussex stated that the journey has a unique power to open the human mind to different cultures, new experiences and encourage us to truly appreciate what the world has to offer. “Given the inevitable growth of tourism, it is crucial to accelerate the adoption of sustainable practices around the world and to find a balance between growth and the needs of the environment as well as the local community. Encouraging collaboration between businesses, consumers and communities is our best opportunity to protect destinations and ecosystems for future generations.” The Duke of Sussex has launched a new global initiative for sustainable travel – ‘Travalyst’, with the aim of preserving, protecting the environment and improving the economic development of local communities through the promotion of sustainable tourism throughout the sector. Working with businesses, consumers and local communities, the partnership will initially explore and promote solutions that foster sustainability and consumer choice in areas such as supporting local people, protecting wildlife, tackling climate change and environmental impact, and reducing the impact of excessive tourism. Gillian Tans, Chair, Booking.com, said: “The commitment of these different brands to working together and helping to develop a global network of social entrepreneurs, NGOs and policy makers who share the same opinion is truly inspiring. Collaboration is the only way to progress if we want to drive real change in the world of travel. We want to protect the destinations we all love and guarantee that everyone will be happy and healthy for several future generations, but we cannot achieve this alone. And although we don’t have all the answers yet, we are committed to finding them together. ” Booking.com, Ctrip, Skyscanner, TripAdvisor and Visa have joined forces with the Duke of Sussex in a first-of-its-kind initiative across the tourism sector to discover and promote solutions to increase travel sustainability. As the number of people traveling grows, so does the impact on local communities and the environment 71% of travelers around the world believe that travel agencies should offer more options for sustainable travel, and 68% of passengers said it was important for them to redirect the money they spend to local communitiesIn the last 12 months, 10 million Skyscanner users have chosen a flight with the lowest possible CO2 emissions75% of Crip’s partners are committed to their initiative, which has the following formula as a guiding thread: reduce, reuse, recycle resources and regenerate lives in the travel ecosystem The goal of Travalyst is to use the strength and breadth of the global travel market, encourage a higher level of cooperation in the entire sector and encourage and support new solutions and initiatives in sustainable tourism.  More than half of all travelers said they were even more determined this year in their desire to choose more sustainable travel than last year, but many don’t know how. Obstacles to achieving this desire in practice include lack of knowledge, seemingly higher costs, and insufficient availability or attractive options. Nevertheless, for many travelers around the world, the impact on local communities and the environment comes first, according to Booking.com data. Travelers increasingly want to have easy and transparent access to more opportunities for more sustainable travel. Travalyst wants to help companies meet that demand and take advantage of this platform to convey the importance of sustainable travel to consumers. This partnership will also prioritize working with local communities, working with local entrepreneurs and promoting best practices. Trends among consumers indicate an increasing demand for positive impactlast_img read more

  • The design elements of this house are stunning

    first_img93 Tweed Coast Rd, Cabarita is on the market for $3.795 million.IF ever a property was built to make the most of its surrounds, this sprawling five-level home perched on Cabarita Headland is it.Its elevated position provides 360 degree views of the beach, ocean and Hinterland from a glass gatehouse entry, through to geometric cut-out elements.More from news02:37International architect Desmond Brooks selling luxury beach villa20 hours ago02:37Gold Coast property: Sovereign Islands mega mansion hits market with $16m price tag2 days agoThe home is palatial. The pool can be viewed underwater from the billiards room.The residence also has a rooftop entertaining terrace with views to Byron Bay and Coolangatta. Floor-to-ceiling glass showcases the stunning view.The parents’ retreat spans an entire level of this palatial oceanfront property, sharing the space with a private gym, balcony and lounge. Outside, the sparkling pool can be viewed either underwater from the billiards room, or from the alfresco dining area and spa and sunlounging terrace. last_img read more

  • Civil union splits match divorce rate

    first_imgNZ Herald 4 May 2012Civil unions have proved to be almost as durable as traditional marriages in the first seven years since the legal status was introduced. Statistics New Zealand figures provided to the Herald show that 4.4 per cent of civil unions registered in New Zealand from 2005 to the end of 2009 were dissolved by the end of last year, compared with 3.8 per cent of marriages in the same period. The actual numbers – 82 civil unions dissolved out of 1876 – were so small that Statistics NZ demographer Anne Howard said any differences with the rate of marriage breakdown were unreliable…..Massey University Associate Professor Mark Henrickson, who leads a research project on New Zealand’s gay, lesbian and bisexual communities, said the figures were no surprise. “The percentages look close enough to say I don’t think there is a difference between the civil union and marriage populations, which is not terribly surprising if people go to the effort [to formalise their relationships],” he said. Family First lobbyist Bob McCoskrie, who opposed legalising civil unions in 2005, (wrong – Family First established in 2006!) agreed. “Humans are humans and conflict happens no matter what the sexuality of the relationship,” he said. Figures released yesterday show that 377 couples entered civil unions last year – 168 female couples, 133 male couples and 76 heterosexual couples. Discounting couples who were living overseas, civil unions have held steady for the past five years at between 1.3 per cent and 1.5 per cent of all marriages and civil unions of New Zealand residents. Same-sex civil unions represented only 0.9 per cent to 1.2 per cent of all marriages and civil unions, lower than the 3.9 per cent of young males and 4.7 per cent of females who said they were attracted to the same or both sexes in a survey of 9100 secondary school students in 2007.http://www.nzherald.co.nz/lifestyle/news/article.cfm?c_id=6&objectid=10803393Same-sex marriage can last, say wivesNZ Herald 4 May 2012Grey Lynn couple Diana Rands and Anna Birkenhead are pleased to find that same-sex civil unions can last – but they also feel there is a social expectation that they will break up…. But they also see some reasons why same-sex unions may not last, especially for men. “It’s different for gay men. They tend to be less monogamous. Most of the boy couples we know have gentlemen’s agreements that they can have casual sex, with strict rules,” Ms Rands says.http://www.nzherald.co.nz/lifestyle/news/article.cfm?c_id=6&objectid=10803395last_img read more

  • The young women addicted to porn

    first_imgDaily Mail 9 June 2017Family First Comment: Disturbing research…“Professor Dines, author of Pornland, says: ‘If girls watch it from a young age, their whole concept of what constitutes a normal sexual relationship shifts. It grooms girls into accepting male sexual mistreatment as normal. “The result is that women don’t become more sexual or liberated. They get more open to porn sex in which they don’t get any pleasure in return. It becomes all about pleasing the man. For girls and young women, this can create an emotional hangover. There are fewer relationships, and more “hook-up sex” leaving them more prone to anxiety and depression.’ “ it seems women experience the same pattern of exposure and addiction to hard-core images as men, according to Gary Wilson, author of Your Brain On Porn. ‘The key thing is that both male and female reward systems can be activated by porn.‘Since sexual arousal releases the highest levels of (feel-good chemicals) dopamine and opioids — the potential for sexual conditioning, or even porn addiction, is possible for both sexes.’ And it’s increasingly being recognised that women may have a higher risk than men of addiction.This is because, as women who have shared their experiences with Wilson have pointed out, they don’t need as long a recovery period after climaxing as men. As a result, women have reported going on ‘porn binges’.But while some therapists hear young women say the violence of porn makes them too afraid to have sex, others like Emma found the constant exposure made her feel highly sexed.‘I had lost my virginity to a boyfriend before university but after I started watching a lot more porn it was all about hook-up sex and one-night stands. Sex became like starring in my own porn film in my mind and I thought I knew exactly what to do.’However, what at first seemed liberating, started to feel soulless, says Emma. ‘The men loved that I was up for all the things they’d seen too. For me, after a year or so, the novelty wore off.‘I realised that here I was, an educated young woman, volunteering to behave for free like porn stars who were paid, or forced, to pretend they were enjoying it.’Indeed, the main difference in the way men and women use porn seems to be how women feel afterwards.According to social worker and church pastor Karin Cooke, who has spoken to young women like Emma for her book, Dangerous Honesty: Stories Of Women Who Have Escaped The Destructive Power Of Pornography, many feel desperate because they think they are struggling with porn alone.Sociology professor Gail Dines, of Boston’s Wheelock College, says that the more porn girls watch, the more coercion becomes a feature of their relationships. Professor Dines, author of Pornland, says: ‘If girls watch it from a young age, their whole concept of what constitutes a normal sexual relationship shifts. It grooms girls into accepting male sexual mistreatment as normal.“The result is that women don’t become more sexual or liberated. They get more open to porn sex in which they don’t get any pleasure in return. It becomes all about pleasing the man.For girls and young women, this can create an emotional hangover. There are fewer relationships, and more “hook-up sex” leaving them more prone to anxiety and depression.’ Indeed, according to one NSPCC survey, led by researchers at the Universities of Bristol and Central Lancashire, as many as 40 per cent of 13 to 17-year-old girls in England said they’ve felt pressured into a sexual activity.READ MORE: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-4582216/The-young-women-addicted-porn.htmlKeep up with family issues in NZ. Receive our weekly emails direct to your Inbox.last_img read more

  • Bacolod SP to Baciwa: Explain high bills

    first_img“Consumers are advised to settle their March, April, and May bills through partial payments, in any of the collecting agents until Aug. 15,” it added./PN According to Baciwa, they are making the corrections in the billings and the corresponding adjustments will be reflected in the July bills. “On June reading has been estimated to have a 100 percent increase from the average water consumption reading,” he said. Gamboa pointed out that Baciwa is a government owned and controlled corporation created by law with the task to provide clean and potable water to Bacolod City constituents and the same is imbued with public interest.Gamboa also earlier authored a resolution requesting the management of Central Negros Electric Cooperative (Ceneco) to explain the increase in charges and rates during the quarantine period. Councilor Wilson Gamboa Jr., author of the resolution, cited that Baciwa’s April and May water billing where all based on a computed average water consumption reading.center_img BACOLOD City – Amid mounting consumer complaints, the Sangguniang Panlungsod here has ordered Bacolod City Water District (Baciwa) to explain the “hefty increase” in the water bills of their consumers for the past three months.This move came after the SP passed a resolution during its regular session on Wednesday. On June 30, Baciwa released an advisory apologizing to the consuming public for the erroneous billings issued for the month of June. “The errors were brought about by the adjustments made in the billing system, during the enhanced community quarantine,” Baciwa said.last_img read more