The relationship between the Southern Hemisphere Annular Mode and Antarctic Peninsula summer temperatures: analysis of a high-resolution model climatology

first_imgThe large regional summer warming on the east coast of the northern Antarctic Peninsula (AP), which has taken place since the mid-1960s, has previously been proposed to be caused by a trend in the Southern Hemisphere Annular Mode (SAM). The authors utilize a high-resolution regional atmospheric model climatology (14-km grid spacing) to study the mechanisms that determine the response of the near-surface temperature to an increase in the SAM (Delta T/Delta SAM). Month-to-month variations in near-surface temperature and surface pressure are well represented by the model. It is found that north of similar to 68 degrees S, Delta T/Delta SAM is much larger on the eastern (lee) side than on the western (windward) side of the barrier. This is because of the enhanced westerly flow of relatively warm air over the barrier, which warms (and dries) further as it descends down the lee slope. The downward motion on the eastern side of the barrier causes a decrease in surface-mass balance and cloud cover. South of similar to 68 degrees S, vertical deflection across the barrier is greatly reduced and the contrast in Delta T/Delta SAM between the east and west sides of the barrier vanishes. In the northeastern part of the AP, the modeled Delta T/Delta SAM distribution is similar to the distribution derived from satellite infrared radiometer data. The region of strongest modeled temperature sensitivity to the SAM is where ice shelf collapse has recently taken place and does not extend farther south over the Larsen-C Ice Shelf.last_img read more

Former estate agent who stole from Belvoir branch escapes jail

first_imgHome » News » Agencies & People » Former estate agent who stole from Belvoir branch escapes jail previous nextAgencies & PeopleFormer estate agent who stole from Belvoir branch escapes jailHeather McCarthy has now stolen thousands from three employers but after recent birth of child judge said a custodial sentence was inappropriate.Nigel Lewis1st December 20201 Comment1,398 Views A former lettings manager who was jailed after stealing £4,800 from the West Derby, Liverpool branch of Belvoir nine years ago has narrowly escaped jail after being found guilty of stealing from another employer.Heather McCarthy was first convicted of stealing from an employer in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire in 2011 and was given a suspended sentence before being caught embezzling rental funds from Belvoir in 2017.She was given a prison sentence of 12 weeks for that crime, which involved taking rent in cash but failing to bank all the funds on behalf of her branch’s business.At the time McCarthy (pictured) said a toxic relationship had led her to descend into a pattern of drug and alcohol abuse and the money she stole had been used to clear drug debts.She subsequently got a job at recruitment firm Paragon Meed in Manchester but the pattern began to repeat itself, and the firm’s directors suspected she had been operating a timesheet scam to feed her continuing cocaine habit.McCarthy resigned her position before disciplinary action could be taken and then gave birth to a child in January this year, but was then interviewed by police and a decision taken to prosecute.In court McCarthy admitted fraud by abuse of position but was given eight-month prison sentence suspended for two years as Judge Paul Lawton told her: “I am not going to have you separated from the child.”McCarthy has been employed for the past year and has saved up £1,800 to go towards paying back the money she stole from the recruitment firm.Heather McCarthy Belvoir estate agents December 1, 2020Nigel LewisOne commentJames Gibbs, Gibbs Gillespie Gibbs Gillespie 1st December 2020 at 1:25 pmConvicted of a third crime, i wonder how many more she got away with? The sentence almost gives free reign for all criminal mothers to go out and commit more crime. Lets hope the child does not take after the mother. No mention of the father.Log in to ReplyWhat’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 Letting agent fined £11,500 over unlicenced rent-to-rent HMO3rd May 2021 BREAKING: Evictions paperwork must now include ‘breathing space’ scheme details30th April 2021 City dwellers most satisfied with where they live30th April 2021last_img read more

German Frigate Transits Suez Canal and Red Sea

first_img View post tag: News by topic View post tag: Navy Last week German Navy frigate, FGS Brandenburg, completed her transit through the Suez Canal and the Red Sea towards the waters of the Gulf of Aden to start counter piracy operations with the EU Naval Force Somalia, Operation Atalanta. Training & Education View post tag: Transits View post tag: Suez View post tag: and View post tag: Naval View post tag: sea View post tag: Redcenter_img Back to overview,Home naval-today German Frigate Transits Suez Canal and Red Sea German Frigate Transits Suez Canal and Red Sea The Suez Canal, which is 162 kilometres in length is an extremely busy shipping lane, that requires a high degree of navigation expertise.The tension on the warship’s bridge increased as the frigate approached Port Said, the northern entrance to the Suez Channel. At its narrowest point the channel is only 150 metres wide and a high level of concentration is required by all the crew.“When in convoy through the channel, you have to keep a set distance from the vessel in front. You have to stay in the centre of the channel, as it is shallow on both sides and that’s why the Suez Channel is one way traffic, you can only sail in one direction.” the Bridge Watch Officer commented.During FGS Brandenburg’s transit, a US Carrier Strike Group of warships appeared over the horizon. Besides two ‘cruisers’ of the Ticonderoga class, two Arleigh Burke class destroyers, a supply ship, and the nuclear-powered Aircraft Carrier, the presence of the USNS Harry S. Truman ” was the absolute highlight for the German Navy sailors. All the crew on the upper deck took the opportunity to get out their cameras to capture this unique and impressive Aircraft Carrier.When the warships passed each other, a traditional navy saluting ceremony was carried out. All the servicemen and women not on watch lined up on the Upper Deck and came to attention and saluted each ship as a ceremonial ‘piping’ was carried out.FGS Brandenburg will be part of Operation Atalanta for 4 months. She will take over as the EU Naval Force flagship on Sunday 6 April.[mappress]Press Release, April 4, 2014; Image: EU NAVFOR View post tag: Canal April 4, 2014 View post tag: Frigate View post tag: German Share this articlelast_img read more

The politics of “Nein”

first_imgThe only certainty coming out of last night’s election results here in Hesse, Germany, are that the ruling conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) are losers in all but name. They have lost their massive overall majority in the Hessian state parliament and, for a while, looked even to have lost their status as the region’s biggest party. They won by 0.1% in the end from the opposition social democrats (SPD), who were a good 1.5% ahead in most exit polls. (The notorious Bradley Effect in play there, for sure.) The overall swing to the SPD was a huge 10%. The trouble is, with the CDU and the SPD on the same number of seats after the proportional representation calculation, no one has a majority and no one seems to be able to find one. Pundits suggest the SPD could form a coalition with the Greens and the far-left Die Linke, which would push them just over the 50% mark, but the social democrats don’t want to work with neo-communists. An SPD campaigner I happened to speak to on Friday night told me they’d rather be out of power than in with the far left. CDU and the centre-right liberal Free Democrats don’t themselves form 50%, and they’re hardly going to form with a leftie Green/Linke pairing. And the CDU and SPD hate each other too much to form a coalition together, having fought one of the fieriest campaigns the state has seen. So the age-old problem of the German electoral system arises. No one can say “Ja”.Cherwell 24 is responsible for the content of external linkslast_img read more

Adams on the buses for 150th birthday

first_imgRetail baker Oliver Adams pressed two vintage buses into service in Northampton town centre this month, as it celebrated its 150th anniversary and launched new branding.Two vintage buses from 1947 and 1964, with Adams bread advertisements from the 1950s on the side, were used to give the public free rides to mark the occasion. Thomas Adams, MD and the fifth generation of the Adams family in the 21-shop business, said the celebrations also highlighted a new look for Adams. The retail bakery’s shops are being refurbished and rebranded with subtle changes to lettering and colours. Mr Adams told British Baker: “We decided our image was a bit dated when we took a cold hard look at it. We have given it a more modern twist, evolved from the previous look, with different lettering. We believe that if you have a modern bright clean shop there is always going to be a place for you on the high street, even if you are competing against people who are selling on price.”Delivery vans and packaging have also been updated, he said. Adams, established in 1856, is believed to be one of Northampton’s oldest firms.last_img read more

The proof is in the pastry

first_imgWhen it comes to pastry, Pidy may not be the most recognised name in the UK, but this looks set to change as the Belgium-based firm embarks on expansion this side of the channel. Based in the once war-torn town of Ypres, the company already produces pastry products in as many sizes and shapes as you could imagine, so you might think NPD could pose a problem but you’d be wrong. Pidy, an acronym for Patisserie Industrielle Dehaeck Ypres, is an independent family business, set up in 1967 by the late pastry baker Andre Dehaeck , the father of current chairman Thierry. While working at the family bakery and patisserie, he secured his first business customer when approached by a lady from Gant, who had a wine and cheese shop and was interested in selling his pastry products to complement her offering. He also discovered a market for gift-packs of unfilled pastry, which were purchased by tourists visiting the battlefields surrounding Ypres. Enquiries from wholesalers then started rolling in, and the business grew and grew, with the company’s first production unit created in a bakery of only 520sq m. A series of acquisitions and a number of years later, Pidy now produces over 300 million pieces per year, from its three production sites in Ypres, Halluin in France and Inwood, USA.Foodservice has been its core business since it began in the 1960s, but Pidy also manufactures ready-to-fill pastry products for sectors including manufacturing and industrial; contract and event catering; cash-and-carry; and retail. It produces six different types of dough: puff pastry, shortcrust dough, choux buns, sponge dough, pâte à foncer (the French version of a basic pie dough, but with an extra-fine texture) and croustade.For the production of its puff pastry Pidy uses both the French and Dutch method of production. With the French method, the fat is placed between the layers of dough, whereas with the Dutch method the fat is mixed with the dough and then layered. As an example of output, the Ypres factory produces approximately 29,500 pieces of its 4.5cm sized bouchées similar to a vol-au-vent an hour. Pidy already has a presence in the UK, with ambient products in Brakes, its biggest foodservice customer. It also supplies Tesco, Marks & Spencer, Harrods, Waitrose, Délifrance and Spar. But the firm isn’t as well represented on the high street and has put the wheels in motion to change this. Recently appointed UK general manager Robert Whittle says the firm sees an opportunity to increase its presence in high street bakeries, patisseries and cafés. “We’re also looking to talk to the likes of Pret A Manger and Starbucks in the UK and Europe,” he adds. Whittle’s aim is to double the firm’s overall growth in the UK over a period of two years, which will involve expansion in the majority of the markets in which it operates, not just bakery retail.The majority of the sales thrust in the UK bakery and café sector will be through targeted product launches. These have been designed to address problems such as lack of time, space and skilled staff, as well as the view that sales are often made based on the visual appeal of products. Pidy has already launched easy-to-use kits, such as Tarto Presto. This contains pastry tartelettes and crème patissière, which can be combined with fruits or chocolate, for example, to create eye-catching “window candy”, says Whittle. Pidy is hoping to introduce other kits as well and Whittle says plans are already afoot, although “still under wraps”, to join forces with partners in the industry. “We see an opportunity to increase our presence in independent bakeries by working with partner companies, such as Unifine, to get our products to that market,” he explains.Chairman Thierry Dehaeck says that “finding skilled staff is getting to be a nightmare” and that products such as Pidy’s pastry cases can be promoted as “a perfect substitute for a handmade product”, leaving the baker time to concentrate on the filling and presentation.”We can also offer frozen dough to the UK bakery sector, as we now have adequate storage facilities we haven’t had the capability to do this before,” says Whittle, adding that the firm is currently in talks with Brakes about distributing its frozen range. Dehaeck says that although the company has competitors, when comparing individual types of pastry, there are no other companies that have the ’all-under-one-roof’ claim. “Pidy is at an advantage as it manufactures such a variety of products,” he adds.Moreover, the company certainly hasn’t been resting on its laurels when it comes to innovation. With around 30 new product launches in the last year, and plenty more to come, how does it come up with new ideas? “Question everything this is the most important thing,” answers Dehaeck. To rethink and optimise the original idea, to reshape any shape and to apply trends proactively, are key parts of Pidy’s new product development. But it’s not enough just to sell the products, you need to sell the ideas to go with it, adds Dehaeck.Pidy likes to be ahead of the game. “We are focused on quality and customer-driven thinking. We always try to be proactive,” explains corporate sales director Robin Van Oudenhove. For example, the firm introduced products containing non-hydrogenated fat around two years ago, despite that fact it isn’t a necessary requirement in Belgium, he explains. Areas the company is now looking at include low-fat and gluten-free options. “If we can have a production facility ahead of a competitor in terms of trends, then we’re at an advantage,” explains Dehaeck.Recent innovation includes the creation of a vol-au-vent that keeps its crispiness without needing to be reheated; a tart with a vegetable coating that stops it going soggy and allows users to prepare finished products in advance; and canapé products such as mini-cones and ’spoonettes’ an area Dehaeck says is seeing real growth in the UK. However, in one case, its recently launched edible coffee cups needed to come with a warning. Oudenhove explains that at a trade show in Dubai, a gentlemen decked out entirely in white took a bite out of the pastry cup before he had finished drinking the coffee and ended up wearing it instead.The family aspect of the business is very important to Dehaeck, who says the secret to keeping your staff happy and retaining them is by listening to what they have to say. And as some of his employees have worked at the company for over 25 years, that philosophy appears to be working.last_img read more

Press release: Government announces £300 million for landmark ageing society grand challenge

first_img As a society we are living longer – a child born today can expect to live to 100 years – but now we must seize the opportunity to improve the quality of lives lived longer. With an increasingly ageing population we must transform the way we think about our work, our housing, our health, our finances and our communities. These investments will not only help in our aims to make this the best country in the world to live with dementia but provide a revolutionary vital boost to develop and scale up products and services of the future, ensuring everyone can age well and live more independently throughout their lives. In the Industrial Strategy White Paper the Government committed to invest a further £725m in the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) over the next four years. The Government, through UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), will invest in challenges through the ISCF. Through focusing on the big innovation challenges facing the UK, the ISCF will maximise the value of the new ideas being developed and capture the value of innovation in the UK. Expressions of interest are now open for the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund Wave 3. Caroline Dinenage, Minister of State for Care said: Developing the UK Dementia Research Institute hub in partnership with UCL will bring tremendous benefits for science and for health. The new building will provide state-of-the-art facilities for research and the development of new dementia therapies, and will be located alongside neurology clinics and have a dedicated space for engaging dementia patients and their families and carers. Today’s funding will support better diagnosis for UK patients through AI and new tech at new regional centres of excellence 500,000 Biobank volunteers will see their genome sequenced providing data that will help the UK lead the world in development of tools for early diagnosis and new pioneering therapies Extra £40 million invested in new hub for UK Dementia Research Institute New funding will develop new products and services which will help people live in their homes longer, tackle loneliness, and increase independence Through our Industrial Strategy we will not only boost innovation and productivity across the UK, but we will also ensure that this government changes people’s lives for the better. We are investing over £300 million into developing the treatments of the future, in new technologies that will revolutionise the way we age and provide everyone with the best possible chance to grow old with dignity in their own home. By 2020 we want to be the best country in the world for dementia care and research and today’s announcement of £40 million for the Dementia Research Institute is a vitally important step on that journey.center_img As part of the government’s plan to build a Britain fit for the future, the Business Secretary Greg Clark has today (Monday 12 March) announced a £300 million competitive fund to develop the innovations and new technologies of tomorrow.Through the ambitious Industrial Strategy, government is investing over £300 million from its Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) to bring together the UK’s world-class research expertise with business investment to develop technologies and industries that can help the UK prepare for the challenge of an ageing society.To ensure taxpayer money is being invested in the right areas, the government set out four Grand Challenges in its Industrial Strategy – priority areas and industries the UK is determined to be at the forefront of in the future where we can lead the global technological revolution, creating more skilled jobs to boost the productivity and earning power of people throughout the UK. Through its Ageing Society Grand Challenge the government has committed to invest in harnessing the power of innovation to help meet the diverse needs of an ageing society.More than 10 million people in the UK today can expect to see their 100th birthday, compared to the 15,000 centurions today. Ageing populations are a global phenomenon that are creating new demands for technologies, products and services, including new care technologies, different housing models and innovative savings products for retirement.Today’s new allocation of funding will see the government invest over £300 million to ensure the UK is able to meet these demands, with £98 million for a ‘healthy ageing programme’ and £210 million for a ‘data to early diagnosis and precision medicine programme’ to improve diagnosis of disease and develop new medical treatments and technologies.Welcoming today’s announcement, Business Secretary Greg Clark said: The ISCF is a new mission orientated funding approach providing an opportunity to build on our competitive advantage in key areas of research and business sectors, and develop innovative ideas that will transform industries and create whole new ones. It will bring together the UK’s world leading research with business around a major industrial and societal challenge. Challenges have been aligned to the four ‘Grand Challenges’ set out in the Industrial Strategy White Paper. The ISCF will borrow from the US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) model by placing the responsibility for delivering a challenge in the hands of a ‘Challenge Director’. Challenge Directors will be leading experts in the area and will coordinate across different delivery organisations to make the challenge a success. Data to early diagnosis and precision medicine programmeThe £210 million investment in the ‘data to early diagnosis and precision medicine’ challenge will see the UK lead the world in the development of innovative new diagnostic tools, medical products and treatments.As part of the funding announced today, the government will be investing in genomics, ensuring the UK continues to lead the world in large scale whole genome sequencing. Genome sequencing can help those with rare diseases receive faster diagnoses and cancer patients gain better access to personalised treatment programmes.Through the new investment, the UK will sequence the genomes of 500,000 Biobank volunteers. The data from each of these volunteers will provide a rich resource of data that UK researchers will use to build a greater understanding of disease processes and enable the development of tools for early diagnosis and a new wave of therapies.Regional centres of excellenceOver £70 million is going to be invested in creating regional centres across the UK to offer UK patients better diagnosis using new technologies including Artificial Intelligence (AI).This investment, as well as future funding from industry, in new centres of excellence will support industry collaboration with the NHS to help the UK lead the world in digital pathology and radiology, including using AI to analyse medical images.Applying AI to medical images has the potential to diagnose disease more accurately and therefore provide more targeted treatment, and increase efficiency in the health system.Each centre will enable companies, including SMEs, to rapidly develop, test and implement products and systems in partnership with doctors and academics, improving patient care and gaining early evidence of real-world product value.Investing in these programmes will enable research that could result in globally significant advances in healthcare such as cures for some cancers. The different strands of the ISCF programme will create the data needed to enable research into better diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease.The government has also announced the winning bids for the £21m Advanced Therapy Treatment Centres that will be established across the UK by industry, academia and the NHS. Funded by the ISCF Medicines Manufacturing challenge, the centres will be located at Innovate Manchester Advanced Therapy Centre Hub (iMATCH), the Midlands-Wales Advanced Therapy Treatment Centre (MW-ATTC, comprising Birmingham, Wales and Nottingham) and the Northern Alliance Advanced Therapies Treatment Centre (NAATTC, comprising Scotland, Newcastle and Leeds). The centres will specialise in the delivery of cell and gene therapy products that could treat forms of blindness, cancer, heart failure, liver disease, neurological conditions and rare paediatric diseases and will be coordinated by the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult.Notes to editors:What is the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund? Healthy ageing programmeThe £98 million ‘healthy ageing programme’ will drive the development of new products and services which will help people to live in their homes for longer, tackle loneliness, and increase independence and wellbeing.The programme will be investing in tackling some of the toughest medical challenges facing society today.Separately, with an estimated 850,000 people in the UK living with dementia, the Government has today announced it will be investing an extra £40 million into the UK Dementia Research Institute (UKDRI) to create a new hub in partnership with University College London that will host 350 leading scientists, researching new treatments to improve the lives of millions.Dr Rob Buckle, Chief Science Officer at the Medical Research Council, added:last_img read more

News story: Winding Up Petitions against Store First continue

first_img Store First Limited, company registration number 07463355 Store First Blackburn Limited, company registration number 07951785 Store First St Helens Limited, company registration number 09664578 Store First Midlands Limited, company registration number 05772424 SFM Services Limited, company registration number 07160642 In July 2017, the Business Secretary applied to the court to have Store First Limited, a self storage company, and four other related companies wound-up in the public interest.To help progress the ongoing proceedings, the Insolvency Service has sent a voluntary questionnaire to a selection of investors of Store First Ltd and related companies to assist the court in considering the petitions.The investors contacted will have until 4 June 2018 to complete the questionnaire and other investors are also welcome to contribute.If you have information you would like to submit to the Insolvency Service in relation to your investment experience with Store First and related companies, please send your comments to [email protected] companies involved in the action are: A further date for the court to consider the petitions has not been fixed, although there is an expectation that a trial will take place before the end of the year.Until such time as the petitions have been heard and determined by the court we are not able to provide any further information.last_img read more

Matching policy to power of addiction

first_imgDeath rates from heroin overdose nearly quadrupled in the United States between 2002 and 2013, when the number of people reporting past-year heroin abuse or dependence rose to 517,000, a nearly 150 percent increase from 2007. In 2014, the use of heroin and other opioids killed 1,256 people in Massachusetts, an increase of 34 percent over 2013 and 88 percent over 2012.The Gazette sought insights across several disciplines for a three-part report on the crisis and new ideas for responding to it. Read the first part, on the science of addiction, here.No more business as usual. As the death toll from overdoses rages on, a coalition of voices ranging from law enforcement to public health to academia is pushing policymakers to support aggressive new steps to boost intervention, prevention, and treatment for heroin addiction.It’s a regional commitment with much wider resonance. Last week during a Boston event, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton joined Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey and Boston Mayor Martin Walsh, himself a recovering alcoholic, to discuss strategies to halt the heroin epidemic.Similarly, speaking Friday at a conference in Waltham on the public health and law enforcement response to opioid abuse, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch ’81, J.D. ’84, promised that the crisis is on the Obama administration’s front burner. She noted a new plan to monitor the dispensing of prescription drugs, stepped-up federal interdiction of drug trafficking, and a heroin task force that will provide Congress with a far-reaching plan to curb distribution by year’s end.Hillary Clinton pledged her commitment to fighting the heroin crisis at a meeting last week in Boston with Mayor Marty Walsh and other local leaders. Steven Senne/APBy and large, U.S. drug policy in the last 20 years has focused on disruption of the drug trade by law enforcement and punishment for users who commit crimes to support their habits. The surge of heroin overdoses across the country has prompted many police departments to reconsider how they deal with addicts. Once seen as a purely criminal problem, heroin addiction more and more is being treated as a medical issue, with police and prosecutors steering addicts into treatment rather than jail. Many public-safety officials now carry naloxone, an opioid antidote, to administer to addicts overdosing on the scene.Efforts around addiction research and prevention, however, receive far less attention and financial support. Some say that’s because prevention hasn’t shown meaningful results. Others say that effective prevention efforts have been stymied by insufficient funds and misspending on flawed initiatives.Of the tens of billions of dollars the United States spends annually to fight drug abuse, “only 5 percent goes to prevent — and it’s crazy because it should be 80 percent,” said John R. Knight, an associate professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and director of the Center for Adolescent Substance Abuse Research at Boston Children’s Hospital.“What we’ve learned in the last 10 years about human brain development has been astounding, and that’s that the brain continues developing through age 25,” he said. “During this period, it’s experiencing rapid growth and any kind of exposure to a psychotropic drug will influence the structure and function of the brain as it’s developing, and the younger the age the exposure begins, the more profound the changes will be.”Annual screenings by pediatricians for alcohol, tobacco, and drug use during adolescence — when addiction usually takes root — can be “highly effective” in heading off future abuse, Knight said.“The question is, from a policy standpoint, where do you want to put your emphasis? Do you want your emphasis to be at the top of the cliff, preventing people from joining the flow of lemmings going over, or do you want to be at the bottom of the cliff picking up the carcasses and patching them?”The emphasis on treatment rather than prevention largely stems from the more tangible nature of treatment, he said.“When you’re preventing needless addiction and death, you can’t count the numbers, you don’t know how many you prevented from starting, and so it doesn’t pull at your heartstrings in the same way” that treatment success stories do.“Treatment tends to be glaring and it’s right in front of us, and we’ve got to do something to stop the damage. People forget that for every one person who has a fatal overdose there are another hundred or thousand that are just starting to use,” he said.“There’s got to be emphasis on prevention or we’ll be doing cleanup forever.”Vicious cyclesUntil very recently, the high cost of private treatment and the scarcity of state-provided beds have been significant barriers for addicts seeking help. But new changes to national health care laws are beginning to make some inroads.“The Affordable Care Act and the Medicaid expansion, between them, paired with the [Mental Health Parity Act] from 2008, represents the largest increase in financing for drug abuse treatment in the history of the country, and that is well timed for heroin, which is the one drug we have a treatment for,” said Mark A.R. Kleiman, M.P.P. ’77, Ph.D. ’83, a specialist in drug abuse and crime control policy at UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs.Difficulty getting treatment combined with heroin’s pernicious hold on users means that addicts often end up cycling in and out of the criminal justice system, committing nonviolent crimes such as burglary to support their habit, getting arrested, and then being placed on probation. When they re-offend or are caught using, most are given repeated warnings about jail time, a threat that rarely materializes, experts say.“Traditionally, the criminal justice system has been completely backwards,” said Kleiman. “They take heroin or other opiate abusers and they send them to drug-free counseling. There’s a remarkably low success rate with that population. The standard of care scientifically is substitution, and yet most drug courts don’t even allow methadone,” even though it’s proven to be effective, he said.Although it’s long been known that many heroin users can control their addiction through medically assisted treatments of buprenorphine or methadone, those approaches are often “underutilized” in favor of abstinence-based 12-step programs, said Knight.“One of the reasons is that within the treatment industry you have a lot of counseling professionals who are themselves in recovery… and they’re very well-intentioned, but some of them look at medication-assisted treatment as like a substitute addiction … and that’s very unfortunate,” he said.With the crisis worsening, more families are petitioning the courts to have addicted loved ones involuntarily committed to treatment, says Edward Dolan, the state’s commissioner of probation. Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff PhotographerAmong the options now being used more aggressively in Massachusetts to help addicts is “Section 35.” Under state law, family members or law enforcement officials can seek to have users civilly committed if they are deemed out of control and refusing treatment. It’s a strategy that has been around, but one that the state trial court system, which operates 22 drug courts, did not promote until the crisis onset.“That has become an increasing book of business for the [trial] court as families are encountering their kids that are so deeply involved with heroin,” said Massachusetts Commissioner of Probation Edward Dolan. “They haven’t committed a crime, but there’s got to be some level of intervention. They’re not going to go voluntarily and so they petition the court, and the court is ordering people into treatment.”While the state Department of Public Health (DPH) maintains residential treatment beds, the trial court — which includes the probation department — is the pathway to half of the state-run beds. Dolan said the two agencies have been working closely during the crisis to better coordinate delivery of treatment and match addicts with available service options. The DPH conducts ongoing analyses of the state’s flow capacity of addicts and treatment to help anticipate the heroin epidemic’s scope, and directs resources to areas where they are most needed.Glimmer of HOPEOne experimental initiative that appears to offer great promise to chronic heroin users is Hawaii’s Opportunity Probation with Enforcement (HOPE) program. Launched in 2004 to reduce methamphetamine use in Hawaii, it’s a coercive approach being tested by the National Institute of Justice in four jurisdictions, including Massachusetts. The program requires addicts to submit to unannounced drug screenings twice a week under the strict direction of the Probation Department.Addicts must call in and if told to report, they must immediately appear to submit a urine sample that’s tested for drugs. If they fail a test, don’t show up, or are late for any reason, they are put in jail. So far, the program appears to reduce the number of days addicts spend behind bars and the number of repeat offenses. It shows signs of significantly curbing drug use much more effectively than standard treatment.“So if you’re late, you might spend the afternoon in the dock; if [a urine sample is] dirty, you’re going to spend overnight in jail; if we chase you, you’re going to spend a week in jail,” said Dolan. “What we’ve observed site after site [is that] with the right kinds of controls — the randomized drug testing and the immediate response to noncompliance — it’s stunning how people can stop.”Results from the state’s use of HOPE with high-risk offenders over the past 2½ years support Dolan’s sentiment. In Salem Superior Court, for example, 569 drug tests from April through June yielded only 44 positives, for a rate of 7.7 percent. In Worcester, 473 tests from May through Aug. 15 yielded 26 positives, a rate of 5.4 percent.“It’s stunning, it’s stunning,” said Dolan, who noted similar results in other courts around the state. He called this approach “the way to go.”“It turns out it’s not the weight of the sanctions, it’s the surety, it’s the proportionality.”Kleiman, who is studying the efficacy of HOPE, which is based on pioneering research by criminologist David Kennedy, a former senior researcher and case writer at Harvard Kennedy School, agrees.“The problem with most drug abusers is not that people can’t restrain themselves, it’s that they can’t restrain themselves today for a benefit that’s indefinite and somewhere in the vague future,” he said. “They’re plenty capable of restraining themselves to not be in jail tomorrow night. And once you’ve spent a year or so in your neighborhood not using, you’ve got new habits.“I think it will be the standard of care 10 years from now.”Stepped-up testing and the readiness to swiftly execute sanctions come with increased costs and demands on probation staffing and training, Dolan cautions. And it’s not an approach that works for every addict — some need heavier interventions and greater accountability.But he sees promise for this and other probation actions against the epidemic in new funding in the state court budget for mental health services and more specialty courts, and in the $27 million plan unveiled in June by Gov. Charlie Baker to bolster the state’s capacity to treat heroin and opioid addiction.“It’s all hinged on our ability to respond immediately,” said Dolan. “That’s all part of our social contract here. That’s what makes it effective: There’s a direct link between [an addict’s] behavior and the system’s response to it and it’s guaranteed.”The third article in the series, on treatment and recovery, will appear next week. The first examined the science of addiction.last_img read more

Fighting Extortion in El Salvador

first_img MAKING SECURITY A PRIORITY National Civilian Police records, as reported in several media outlets, indicate that there are on average 12 slayings a day in El Salvador, amounting to more than 4,000 homicides last year. With this year’s numbers on pace to surpass the 2009 murder rate, President Mauricio Funes is eager to implement a campaign promise to make security his administration’s chief priority. “When we inherited this government a year ago [in June 2009], we had a high murder rate in the country — the highest in Latin America, kidnappings and extortion,” Funes told the media in May. “To respond to citizen claims, we will keep Soldiers on the streets, patrolling together with the police to maintain the operation … for another year.” In all, through the first quarter of 2010, police registered more than 1,200 extortion cases thought to be the work of rival gangs Mara Salvatrucha and La 18, though real numbers may be much higher. “We have to organize ourselves to struggle against this,” López said in a news conference. “Just as [the extortionists] organize, we are organizing ourselves.” Catalino Miranda, president of the Salvadoran Federation of Transport Workers and Companies, told the Associated Press that the transport sector has been the biggest victim with an estimated $18 million in losses. Extortion and killings of bus drivers and fee collectors have become so widespread that the national police force has held strategy sessions with public transportation operators, according to the national police website. By Dialogo July 01, 2010 The human complacency, is not careful with the agreements with delicate, vital, important, serious, visionary connections and for lack of direct identification of everything written or in telecommunications, to know for whom to ask for; the time lost would make the heavens cry to see the problems of the adolescents in the area, which is caused by no occupational distraction, instructive training, disciplinary foundation to spend their time on something different than they are doing now: it is not about not having anything that gets their attention, it’s complacency and excitement to join these groups, even though they know they are headed nowhere in this direction, it doesn’t matter because there isn’t anything else to do, and so to make things worse, the authorities only use jail as punishment, something that isn’t the most optimum way to stop this problem. On the other hand, these youngsters also have to figure out another way, because what good is going to come out of their plans? It costs a little in the beginning, when at times some effort has been made, but when they discover other skills, they begin to feel the happiness, the taste, change in taste, that enthuses and is better for everyone, let’s make sure things change for the good and if someone doesn’t like it then offer them another post according to their capacity, so they can feel good which is better than feeling guarded. Something can be done where we all improve, but not in that manner, the way they have been doing, from officials, business owners, investor, administrators, clerks, workers, students, the general public when something is planned is should be completed: correctly, willingly, without strings attached. Campaign uses Mexican TV personality to empower Salvadorans Don Ramón of the classic Mexican comedy El Chavo del Ocho hid from his landlord when it was time for the rent, and courageous Salvadorans are following his lead by refusing to pay their “rent” to extortionists to safeguard their shops from gangs. The mustached face of the unlikely hero has popped up in a campaign across the capital of San Salvador in recent months with the tagline “Yo no me dejo rentear” (“I am not paying the rent.”) Don Ramón’s comedic rent-dodging tactics in the ’70s series are contrary to the public nature of the Salvadoran movement, whose followers openly refuse to pay the “rent,” as extortion payments are called. “We cannot wait for the State to resolve that which we do not have the tools to confront and stop,” reads the group’s manifesto, posted on its interactive website, “Our fear, our silence and our passivity are accomplices to the crimes committed by the delinquents.” The Don Ramón Citizen’s Movement, whose leaders remain largely anonymous, has gone beyond banners on bridges, billboards and murals on buildings. In past months, it has included rallies, promotional T-shirt sales and a site on Facebook, where more than 10,000 social networking members can post comments. “We have to unite to counteract, to fight, to wage war. I am not saying to take up arms. I hope that [the rest of the population] will join us,” movement organizer Ernesto López said in a recent Associated Press interview. center_img SIGNS OF PROGR ESS Stanley Rodríguez of the metropolitan council of Santa Tecla, another city terrorized by the gangs, explained to the BBC that the purpose of the Don Ramón movement is to build awareness of extortion and generate a demand for action. Rodríguez said the system of extortion began five or six years ago, and it widened to include kidnappings, homicides, robberies and organized crime. “We want to retake civility, for society to speak out against the problem and gain awareness of it,” he said. “And we want those who make political decisions to form prevention programs, campaigns, laws.” In the first four months of 2010, extortionists killed 44 motorists, bus drivers and business owners and set 10 businesses on fire. During the same period in 2009, more than three times as many victims and cases of vandalism were recorded, according to media reports. Patrols by Soldiers and police officers have contributed to the reduction in violence.last_img read more