Brazilian Congress and Ministry of Justice Debate Marijuana Legalization

first_imgBy Dialogo April 29, 2013 The biggest fear of decriminalization is that it would result in an increased demand for a stronger drug from marijuana addicts, causing an unprecedented epidemic, such as what occurs with crack, according to Minister of Health Alexandre Padilha. In addition, Brazil’s proximity to the world’s largest cocaine and marijuana producers coupled with a strong presence of criminal organizations focused on drug trafficking reinforces this trend, eliminating the possibility that legalization would reduce drug trafficking and associated crime, as some government officials believe. It is a very controversial matter with divided opinions, especially in Brazil, which ranks second in the world for cocaine and crack consumption. More recent studies performed by the University of São Paulo indicated that 1.5 million citizens use marijuana, and approximately 8 million had tried the drug. The current situation is discouraging. The Institute of Applied Economic Research estimated that 56.12% of homicides in Brazil are directly linked to drug trafficking rendering the policies for combating narcotics inefficient. Some specialists who are openly against the state’s initiative, claim that policies from developed countries cannot be adopted in Brazil due to the lack of infrastructure, clearly exemplified by the penitentiary and juvenile detention facilities in the country. Add to this the basic public health services, which barely meet the needs of the population and the main problem of which is the lack of hospital rooms. Uruguay vetoed the bill to legalize the commercialization of the drug after a poll showed that 64% of the respondents were against it. The Brazilian Ministry of Justice and National Congress have been promoting several debates on decontrolling the use of medical marijuana, as well as legalizing it for users who are currently subject to jail time. The idea is basically to treat the user as a public health case and replace jail sentences with administrative fines and mandatory hospitalization for health treatment, which already occurs in Spain, Holland, Portugal, and parts of the United States. *André Luís Woloszyn, Strategic Intelligence Analystlast_img read more

Brazilian Army Brings Internet to the Interior of the Amazon

first_imgBy Andréa Barretto/Diálogo July 18, 2017 In a region covered by forests and crossed by rivers that form natural water highways, the installation of underwater fiber optic cable has proved the best solution for bringing broadband to millions of citizens who live along the rivers. That is the proposal of the Interconnected Amazon Program, conceived and carried out by the Brazilian Army (EB, per its Portuguese acronym) in partnership with other organizations. “After six months of planning, this initiative completed its third stage in six days,” said EB Lieutenant General Decílio de Medeiros Sales, the director of the Department of Industrial Science and Technology at the Ministry of Defense, and general coordinator of the Interconnected Amazon Program. From May 8th to 14th, 600 kilometers of fiber optic cable was laid in the Solimões River, passing through the cities of Manaus, Maracapuru, and Coari, and in the Negro River, connecting Manaus to Novo Airão. “There is a structure of underwater cables coming in from other continents and arriving in Manaus along three lanes. By installing fiber optic cable along riverbeds, we are distributing the signal from Manaus to the interior of Amazonas [state],” Lt. Gen. Decílio explained. The section between Manaus and Coari is part of the so-called Alto Solimões information highway, which provides for the laying of cable through more than a dozen municipalities. The section from Manaus to Novo Airão incorporates the delta of Rio Negro’s information highway, which covers more than three localities on the route towards the western Amazon, arriving at São Gabriel da Cachoeira, a city located on Brazil’s border with Colombia and Venezuela, where EB has a base with special border platoons. Overall, the Interconnected Amazon Program is planning the construction of five information highways, interconnecting a total of 52 localities with nearly 8,000 kilometers of fiber optic cable. Eventually, nearly 3.8 million people should benefit from these broadband services. Building the network Nearly 20 EB service members participated in the third phase of the program. Among them, the Brasília-based team involved in the planning, and the personnel who laid the cable. Approximately 40 civilian professionals worked jointly with the latter group. Once laid in the water, fiber optic cable naturally settles on the riverbed. “Divers are needed only to help situate the cable at critical locations, where there are rocks, for example,” Lt. Gen. Decílio said. Finally, the structure reaches an anchoring point installed in previously determined cities. From the anchoring point, a connection is made between the underwater cable and the land-based cables, thereby enabling data transmission. The signal is preferentially directed towards military organizations, schools, health agencies, and other public agencies but the unused capacity can be commercialized for the general population. A public call for tenders is held for that purpose, in order to choose corporate providers interested in running the service. “One of the conditions is that the company offers a social package with an affordable price for the low-income population. In addition to that, we stipulate a price ceiling for service, which cannot exceed the prevailing price in Manaus,” Lt. Gen. Decílio emphasized. Past, present, and future “The fact today is internet and information technology services available in the interior of Amazonas state are quite precarious,” said EB Lieutenant Colonel Marcelo Corrêa Horewicz, the head of the 4th Area Telematics Center, who manages the program. His unit is under the Army Integrated Telematics Center (CITEx, per its Portuguese acronym) and is connected with the Amazon Military Command (CMA, per its Portuguese acronym). Lt. Col. Corrêa explained that the internet service used by people in the Amazon arrives mainly via satellite, and is often disrupted by local humidity and heavy rains. “There is a need for infrastructure that can keep the signal up at all times, and fiber optic cable is providing greater capacity for that,” Lt. Col. Corrêa stated. From that idea, the EB decided to test the possibility of laying fiber optic cable in the rivers through a pilot project developed in 2015. At that time, 10 kilometers of fiber optics were laid in Negro River to connect two military garrisons located in Manaus. The project worked and paved the way for the program to move forward to the rest of the Amazon. As for the next steps, Lt. Col. Corrêa stated that the program team is planning operations that will provide continuity to the information highway on the delta of Rio Negro, heading towards the city of Barcelos, and from the Alto Solimões information highway to the city of Fonte Boa, which is on the way to Tabatinga, a municipality in the tri-border region between Brazil, Peru, and Colombia. “That will be in the fourth stage of the program, which might also include the installation of cable in the Amazon River,” he said. In this case, the information highway will take the opposite route from previous ones, heading eastward, in the direction of the state of Pará.last_img read more

Member rewards and the modern consumer

first_img ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr In today’s ultra-competitive credit/debit landscape, the benefits offered can make a substantial difference in a consumer’s mind. Like many other aspects involved in the buying experience, rewards programs are quickly evolving to meet escalating consumer expectations.This past week, we had the opportunity to talk with Andrew Gates, Loyalty Consultant with CO-OP, about how CO-OP Member Rewards is staying a step ahead of the competition to offer members a uniquely gratifying experience. Here are his valuable insights from our discussion.Q. How does Member Rewards differ from a typical credit/debit loyalty program?A. We are making it easier than ever for members to earn points, without adding cost for the credit union. Where CO-OP makes a big effort is primarily in the merchant-funded space. It is safe to say that we have the most robust merchant-funded rewards program in the industry. In terms of national online products, CO-OP is leading the way with the soon to be released browser plugin, which allows a member to get their rewards from the merchant they are buying from without going through a third party or a rewards website. It makes things more convenient for the member because the logo of the program shows up everywhere they can earn bonus points, including search results in Google, Bing and Yahoo searches. continue reading »last_img read more

The real cost of a teen driver

first_imgYour insurance will go upThis is kind of a no brainer and you’ve probably been mentally preparing for it for some time now. But just how much is it going to increase depends on your state, and the gender of your teen. Thanks to men getting into more accidents on average, you will feel a bit more a sting insuring your son than you would a daughter. Insuring a 16-old boy will increase your insurance by an average of 90% whereas a girl the same age would only result in a 60% additional charge.Drivers EdNowadays driving school can cost anywhere from two hundred to nearly a thousand dollars, depending on the gas prices in your area and where exactly these classes are taught. That seems a bit pricey, but remember that it is a one-time cost that not only teaches your teen the rules of the road to make them a better, safer driver, but it also can lead to cheaper rates on your insurance depending on your plan.The car and its troublesUnless you have extra cars sitting around or intend to share your own, buying a new car will be an expense. However, what is less obvious to most parents is the continued cost of the vehicles upkeep. Maintenance and general repair costs can add up quickly. Starting with a reliable vehicle is the only real way to combat excessive costs over time.AccidentsNobody wants to think about their child getting into an accident, but you have to be prepared for the worst. Nowadays teens have more distractions than ever.  Smartphones let them text, SnapChat, and catch Pokémon. All of these things can lead to a fender bender. The cost of repairs from an accident are not the only expense to worry about, your insurance could also take a nice hit.Traffic ticketsHopefully, like an accident, this never happens with your child but it is a very real concern, especially with new drivers. Depending on whether you choose to pay the ticket for them or have them pay it, there may be other expenses. Depending on the infraction your insurance has the right to raise the price, however, your teen can take a reeducation class to keep it off insurance. But you guessed it, those classes also come at a price.Add up all your kidsThe cost already seems a bit extreme, now multiply it. Double or triple all of the above. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that any child will be a better or cheaper driver. Never assume anything, but plan for the worst and hope for the best. 62SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Tyler Atwell Web: Detailslast_img read more

3 ways to meet member needs in the digital age

first_imgWaiting in teller lines used to be just that – waiting. Gone are the days of casual small talk with other patiently waiting members. Today, consumers simply whip out their smartphones to pass the time – a true indicator we are thoroughly entrenched in the digital age.Members increasingly look to their credit unions to meet, if not exceed, their digital expectations. Coastal Federal Credit Union recognizes the importance of innovation in its digital strategy. In fact, the North Carolina-based credit union has discovered three sure-fire ways to meet members’ evolving needs.Provide robust online, mobile service. With 62 percent of Americans using digital banking as their primary banking method, incorporating online and mobile-friendly service into their offerings is a must for credit unions. At Coastal, this is already taking place. “It’s critically important because, in a day when your expenses continue to increase as a percentage every year, you have to find a way to have cost-effective solutions while still giving the members a really good service,” said Kristopher Kovacs, Coastal’s Chief Information Officer. “Digital gives us the best way to do that.” continue reading » 18SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more