By Dialogo October 02, 2012 More than five million victims have resulted from the armed conflict in Colombia that has been affecting the country for almost half a century, of which about 600,000 people were murdered, according to government calculations. The figures, however, do not reveal the full scale of the problem, indicated Paula Gaviria, head of the Unit for Integral Attention and Reparation of Victims [of armed conflict], the organization that implemented a law regarding this issue, which was passed in June 2011. “So far, we have registered cases since 1974,” specified the official source, after pointing out that due to the complexity of the Colombian armed conflict and its long duration, it is very difficult to obtain the exact number of victims, survivors or dead. Out of the estimated total, 40% (2 million) are guerrilla victims, while 25% (1.2 million) are paramilitary victims, stated Gaviria, who insisted that the figures are not definitive, since denouncers are not obliged to declare which group was the aggressor, and in many cases, the victims are not aware of which organization was responsible for the offensive. The main reasons why victims make claims are: forced displacement, kidnapping, sexual violence, recruitment of minors, and anti-personnel mines. After Colombia suffered political violence in the early 1950s, the country engaged in an armed conflict with the emergence of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN) from the 1960s onward. The armed conflict between these guerrillas and the State worsened with the emergence of drug cartels in the 70s, and in the 80s with far-right paramilitary groups that fought a bloody battle against these guerrillas. Now, President Juan Manuel Santos will start peace negotiations with the FARC on October 15, to be held in Norway and Cuba. The Colombian head of state is looking forward to a successful outcome by the end of the year.
But that does not mean the risk of a market shock has vanished, some experts say – quite the contrary.If the Fed continues to ‘taper’ as planned, the US will have ended its easing programme completely after the summer.At a recent press meeting in Amsterdam, Asoka Wöhrmann, co-CIO at Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management, said: “This autumn, the Americans will be all tapered out. Then the market will ask ‘what’s next?’“Quite possibly, the next step will be an interest rate rise. That would actually be the first ‘normal’ monetary action the Fed would take, but even so, it’s something the market is not accustomed to anymore, so this will once again trigger a panic reaction in the markets.”He added: “This will lead to a steepening of the front end of the curve and have a huge impact on the dollar. There will be a lot of volatility in the fall of 2014.”In addition, he expects an uncoupling of European Central Bank (ECB) and Fed strategies.“The ECB will have to step up its accommodative measures even as the Fed tapers its quantitative easing programme,” Wöhrmann said. He fully believes the ECB can and will take the necessary steps.“The credit crunch in Europe’s periphery will be the single most important hurdle to European growth in the next two years,” he said.“The ECB has no choice but to take action – it is crucial to revitalise small and mid caps in peripheral Europe.”The ECB has several means at its disposal other than ‘classic’ monetary easing, which would not work because of the divergence within the European Union between the periphery and the core countries.“The ECB might buy corporate bonds or further relax collateral – this will happen,” Wöhrmann said.“And if the euro should rise above $1.40, then the ECB will consider a negative overnight rate.”Wöhrmann sees the intended European banking union as a landmark step.“All the rest will follow,” he said.But Dominic Rossi, CIO at Fidelity, is not so sure.“I would add that the ECB is in the midst of a policy error,” he said.“They should be much more accommodative already. One clear sign of that is the euro – the currency needs to fall.“I take issue with the ECB failure to act. They could do more, they should do more, and they should do it now.”According to Rossi, “there is no guarantee that, in six months’ time, the ECB will not continue to make the same mistakes”.Wöhrmann is a bit milder in his judgment.“Because of the divergence within the monetary union, the ECB is in a very difficult position, indeed,” he said.“Conventional monetary policy will not work, as any accommodative measures aimed at aiding the periphery will anger the stronger core countries, particularly Germany.“Really, the ECB’s only option is to adopt a form of ‘QE light.”The ECB might leverage instruments including ABS, corporate bonds and covered bonds to revitalise small and mid-cap companies in the periphery.“The ECB must do more, and I have no doubt they will,” Wöhrmann said.“Europe cannot afford the social unrest that would surely result if they don’t.” Once the US Federal Reserve is all “tapered out”, the market will be asking what comes next, industry experts have warned.The Fed’s announcement last year that the time had come to phase out quantitative easing triggered a collective knee-jerk reaction in the markets.The panic has since subsided, and investors are getting used to the idea of ‘tapering’, as the Fed has dubbed the gradual withdrawal of its unprecedented accommodative measures.In a recent statement, Alan Brown, senior adviser at Schroders, said: “With each new round of tapering, the effect on the market further diminishes.”
NEW YORK, CMC –A Grenadian American lawyer in Brooklyn has been indicted on a grand larceny charge for allegedly withholding proceeds from the US$1.7 million sale of a building in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn owned by a retired couple.“This defendant was trusted with funds that he was obligated to give to his clients,” said Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez on Friday. Withheld $650,000“Instead, he allegedly betrayed that trust and kept $650,000 of his retired clients’ money. We will now seek to hold him accountable for this alleged theft.”The District Attorney identified the lawyer as Gerald Douglas, 50. Douglas was also arraigned on Thursday before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun with second-degree grand larceny. He was ordered held on bail of $100,000 bond or $50,000 cash and to return to court on February 6. Douglas faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.Gonzalez said according to the investigation, between August 2016 and March 2017, Douglas represented a couple in the sale of their nine-unit building at 11A Spencer Place in Bedford-Stuyvesant. Gonzalez alleged that Douglas represented the victims, a married couple, 70 and 71 years old, at the closing of the sale of their property on September 12, 2016, “at which time he received checks totaling nearly US$1.5 million, which, less the down payment, represented the balance owed.”Made deposits in personal escrow account“It is alleged that the defendant kept the funds, depositing them into his escrow account,” the district attorney said. “He was also in possession of a down payment of US$170,000 that he received in August 2016.” At the end of October 2016, Gonzalez said Douglas sent the victims a check for US$200,000 and a week later wired them US$600,000. In March 2017, Gonzalez said Douglas gave the couple another check for US$100,000.“Despite repeated and urgent requests from the victims, the defendant failed to turn over the balance of the funds, less his legal fee and a broker’s fee, which was approximately US$650,000,” Gonzalez said.
“Goooooooooool” tweeted Albanian Prime Minister Edi RamaTirana, ALBANIA | AFP |Thousands of Albanians celebrated wildly in the streets of the capital Tirana on Sunday after the national football team secured its first ever victory in a major international finals. Car horns blared and red flags stamped with the black eagle of Albania flew while flares lit up the night sky.At Euro 2016, Albania had lost to Switzerland and then to host nation France.But on Sunday a header from Armando Sadiku, who plays in the backwaters of European football for Liechtenstein club Vaduz, gave the Albanians a famous 1-0 victory over Romania.“Goooooooooool” tweeted Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama. Armando Sadiku scored Albania’s first goal at a major tournament in a historic 1-0 win over Romania on Sunday to keep alive their slender hopes of progressing to the Euro 2016 knockout phase.Sadiku headed home the game’s only goal after 43 minutes in Lyon to leave debutants Albania facing an anxious wait to see if they qualify from Group A as one of the four best third-placed teams.Host nation France progressed as group winners following a 0-0 draw with second-placed Switzerland as Albania finished third on three points, but Romania exited with just a single point.“I’m sure the Albanians are really happy. We’re pleased to make people happy. This team has a big heart. They give everything, perhaps even a bit much at times,” said Albania coach Gianni De Biasi.“The players wanted to score again and we almost had to stop them because we needed to be sensible in the final few minutes.“Now we’re going to prepare to possibly play a game on Friday or Saturday.”Romania coach Anghel Iordanescu made wholesale changes as Alexandru Matel replaced the injured Razvan Rat at left-back with Denis Alibec handed a start up front.Ovidiu Hoban, Adrian Popa and Nicolae Stanciu were all recalled after the 1-1 draw with Switzerland, while Albania brought in Migjen Basha in place of the suspended Burim Kukeli in midfield.However, there was no room in the starting line-up for skipper Lorik Cana following his return from a one-match ban having been sent off in his team’s opening game.Stanciu fired over with an early long-range strike as Romania signalled their intentions, before a nervy Etrit Berisha smothered Hoban’s tame strike at the second attempt.Albania were fortunate Basha stayed on the pitch when he caught Hoban with a dangerous shoulder-high lunge after just six minutes, but they had to weather the storm as Romania continued to threaten.– Bar denies Andone –Bogdan Stancu, scorer of both Romania’s goals in their first two games, connected sweetly with a poor headed clearance with his volley batted away unconvincingly by Berisha.Alibec then curled narrowly wide from distance, but Albania started to impose themselves on the counter-attack as Ermir Lenjani skied over from point-blank range, although his blushes were spared by the offside flag.Ledian Memushaj shot straight at Ciprian Tatarusanu from a narrow angle, but the Romania goalkeeper was at fault as Sadiku nodded Albania ahead just before half-time.Memushaj’s driven right-wing cross was misjudged by Tatarusanu, who was left out of position as Sadiku headed back across goal to trigger wild celebrations among the sizeable Albanian support inside the Stade de Lyon.Memushaj forced Tatarusanu into a low save on the hour as Albania pressed for a second, but their dreams were nearly shattered when substitute Florin Andone rattled the crossbar on 76 minutes.The Cordoba striker raced through after a slick passing move only for his powerful strike to smack against the woodwork.Albania, who lost 1-0 to Switzerland before going down 2-0 to France in their first two games, must wait until the completion of the final round of group matches before finding out if they qualify for the last 16.Share on: WhatsApp Thousands of fans erupted in joy in Mother Teresa Square which dominates the centre of Tirana.The win in Lyon gives Albania a slim chance of qualifying from their group as one of four third-placed teams to qualify for the knockout round.The team must await their fate — but on Sunday their fans could not have cared less.“We will celebrate achieving our dream this evening,” said Tatjana Mali, 27, a medical student who had an Albanian flag draped around her shoulders.“It’s a historic victory for all Albanians,” said Genta Skuraj.“We dominated the match and we showed what we can do.”Albania face wait after historic win over Romania