Panama and Colombia Suspend Negotiations on FTA without Setting New Date

first_imgBy Dialogo October 29, 2010 Panama and Colombia suspended negotiations on 27 October on a bilateral free-trade agreement (FTA), due to the fact that “complex” issues remain unresolved, officials from both countries said without announcing a date for the resumption of talks. “We’ve concluded that the most prudent thing to do at the moment is to suspend the process of negotiations between Panama and Colombia,” said the Panamanian deputy trade minister and chief negotiator, Francisco Álvarez de Soto. The fifth round of negotiations began on 25 October in the Panamanian capital and had been expected to conclude on 29 October. “We’ve reached a moment of the suspension of negotiations, something that frankly represents a challenge for the future,” declared the chief Colombian negotiator, Santiago Pardo. Prior to the present, 21 of the 25 issues under negotiation have been closed, but major stumbling-blocks remain, such as access to markets for agricultural and industrial products. Panamanian organizations of beef, pork, milk, corn, and textile producers fear an invasion of Colombian products, while Colombian business believes that part of the smuggling that disadvantages its producers comes from the foreign-trade zone of the Panamanian city of Colón. “We have to be very sure that everyone is adequately taken care of in the final balance and conclusion of a treaty,” Álvarez de Soto told Panamanian state television channel SerTV. “There are issues remaining that are complex, and logically, decisions, evaluations, and reflection are needed on both sides,” Pardo said. Colombia and Panama began to negotiate the treaty at the beginning of 2010, expecting to finish in a maximum of four rounds. In 2009, Colombia exported 258.3 million dollars in goods to Panama, while imports from that country came to 15.7 million dollars.last_img read more

Brazil Expects to Have a Million Latin American Volunteers for 2014 World Cup

first_img Brazil hopes to count on a million volunteers for the 2014 World Cup, of which 950,000 will be recruited in other Latin American countries, so they can assist tourists during the event, the Minister of Sports said on January 22. The government launched the program Volunteer Brazil to select volunteers that will work in unofficial areas, such as airports and tourist hotels and resorts during the 2013 Confederations Cup, and the World Cup a year later. “Volunteering is essential for the success of these events, not only in the operational field, but also in the streets,” said Minister of Sports Aldo Rebelo at the inauguration ceremony in Brasilia. The program will select 7,000 volunteers for the Confederations Cup, and later 4,900 will join to work at the opening and closure ceremonies only. The goal is to gather 50,000 for the World Cup, although according to Rebelo, this number could reach one million through other programs. “We would like our Mercosur neighbors to participate; we would like countries that speak Portuguese, and all parts of the population to join. The Federal Government will provide 50,000; however, we would like to increase that number to 950,000 for the 2014 World Cup,” Rebelo said, without providing further details. The recruiting process is different from FIFA’s process last year. These volunteers, who will be in stadiums and official venues, are already in training for the Confederations Cup. From June 15 to 30, Brazil will host the Confederations Cup, which is considered a sort of major rehearsal for the 2014 World Cup. For the first stage of the program in 2013, the government will spend $14.7 million. By Dialogo January 24, 2013last_img read more

‘Córdova’, the post-conflict weapon in Colombia

first_imgIndumil has sold more than 1,000 units of the Córdova domestically, each costing about $500 (USD). It’s selling well because it brings together the best qualities of well-known firearms — such as the barrel of the Bernardelli, the grip of the Sig Sauer and elements of the Pietro Beretta and the Taurus — Colombia’s Ministry of Defense said in a news release. In addition to manufacturing revolvers and shotguns, Indumil mass produces all types of munitions, including grenade launchers, long-distance mortars, and bombs which are used by the Air Force. The Colombian military industry has created the first pistol completely developed and produced in the country. Officials presented the gun to the public during the Expodefensa fair in October in Bogotá. “This is a gun completely designed and produced by Colombians and in Colombia. There has been no intervention by foreign persons in this process, not with information, nor with knowledge, only Colombians have worked on it,” Indumil General Manager Col. Néstor Raúl Espitia Rivero said. The colonel made his remarks as the handgun was presented at Expodefensa. Indumil aspires to become the main supplier of handguns in Colombia. About 5,000 to 6,000 handguns are sold in the country annually. As they did with that gun, Indumil officials plan on expanding on the capabilities of the Córdova. In 2015, Indumil plans on introducing the Tactical version, a weapon designed specifically for law enforcement officers. It will have a 15-round capacity and a 130.1 millimeter barrel. The company also plans on unveiling the Compact version of the pistol, a weapon which is designed for women. This will be smaller than the Tactical version, with a 94 millimeter barrel. In addition to being a high-precision weapon, the Córdova is ergonomically designed and can be used with equal ease by right-handers and left-handers. With the launch of the Córdova, Indumil is trying to increase its international sales. Ecuador, Paraguay, Honduras, Panama, and Guatemala have shown interest in acquiring batches of the gun. Chile and Peru are also potential new markets for the firearm. “The ACE Galil Rifle was something we developed with technological transfer from Israel,” said Espitia. “This is one of the most modern and light rifles on the market.” The Córdova evolved from a previous handgun, known as the Standard, which has a capacity of nine rounds. The company has also sold its wares internationally; for example, Colombian weapons engineers improved the Galil rifle, which is widely used by the Israeli military. “This year, as part of a strategic partnership with the United States, we have added the assembly and maintenance of monocular night vision equipment for our soldiers,” Espitia said. Great national ability, congratulations to the creative people of the Colombian Military Industry Congratulations to Indumil, finally they pinch themselves and get into a competitive market, but what counts is the quality of the weapon when it is being sold, the U.S. market is very big for this kind of weapon. What is important is the price. I think that it’s a bit high compared to the 10 best pistols on the market that are at an average of U.S. $450 to $600. It is very important to advertise in specialized magazines in defense-type weapons. Another very important thing is the weapons’ functioning under not very favorable circumstances, safety, the finishing of the weapon, a good importer would take charge of doing all the tests and the advertising campaign to police and security organizations. The power of weapons is good (very useful) for ensuring the security of orderly people and countries’ economies. All nations that value their sovereignty need to have a big and strong army. The success of a pistol lies in the following characteristics: proof of operations in sand, mud, water and releasing it from a height of 15 meters, tests with PLUS ”p” high force bullets. Safety is a very important factor, the weapon’s precision, its finish should be durable and resistant to rust, a smooth operation with a trigger that requires 7 pounds of pressure, and easy to carry. And it has to have an appearance that appeals to the buyer. If you want to get into the U.S. market, which is very big, you should advertise it in magazines such as HANDGUNS, GUNS& AMMO, with a good photo and a selling acronym “BEST COMBAT PISTOL”. If you can reach this market, sales will be very good. Much success. ACCORDING TO A VIDEO I SAW ON YOUTUBE, THIS WEAPON IS EXCELLENT WHEN SLOW SPEED AMMUNITION IS USED, BECAUSE WHEN HIGH SPEED AMMUNITION IS USED IT JAMS. THIS IS A GREAT DISADVANTAGE AGAINST ANOTHER PERSON WITH ANOTHER BRAND OF GUN. THEY HAVE TO BE BETTER PERFECTED….WITH ALL DUE RESPECT I THINK IT IS SO AND MORE SO IF THEY’RE GOING TO COMPETE WITH OTHER BRANDS THAT ARE ALREADY POSITIONED IN THE MARKET. Better weapons can be made with the help of another well-known company. The Córdova is a 9-mm semiautomatic handgun which weighs less than a kilogram designed to fire between nine and 15 rounds. It’s named after the Military Industry of Colombia (Indumil) plant General José María Córdova, a hero of Colombia’s fight for independence. The company is cooperating with the United States to produce equipment for the Colombian military. Decades of experience With the launch of the Córdova, Indumil is trying to increase its international sales. Ecuador, Paraguay, Honduras, Panama, and Guatemala have shown interest in acquiring batches of the gun. Chile and Peru are also potential new markets for the firearm. “The ACE Galil Rifle was something we developed with technological transfer from Israel,” said Espitia. “This is one of the most modern and light rifles on the market.” The company has also sold its wares internationally; for example, Colombian weapons engineers improved the Galil rifle, which is widely used by the Israeli military. “This year, as part of a strategic partnership with the United States, we have added the assembly and maintenance of monocular night vision equipment for our soldiers,” Espitia said. As they did with that gun, Indumil officials plan on expanding on the capabilities of the Córdova. In 2015, Indumil plans on introducing the Tactical version, a weapon designed specifically for law enforcement officers. It will have a 15-round capacity and a 130.1 millimeter barrel. The company also plans on unveiling the Compact version of the pistol, a weapon which is designed for women. This will be smaller than the Tactical version, with a 94 millimeter barrel. The Colombian military industry has created the first pistol completely developed and produced in the country. By Dialogo November 18, 2014 “This is a gun completely designed and produced by Colombians and in Colombia. There has been no intervention by foreign persons in this process, not with information, nor with knowledge, only Colombians have worked on it,” Indumil General Manager Col. Néstor Raúl Espitia Rivero said. The colonel made his remarks as the handgun was presented at Expodefensa. The company is cooperating with the United States to produce equipment for the Colombian military. In addition to manufacturing revolvers and shotguns, Indumil mass produces all types of munitions, including grenade launchers, long-distance mortars, and bombs which are used by the Air Force. For most of its 60 years, Indumil has focused on selling weapons domestically, with Colombia’s Armed Forces accounting for most of its sales. “This is a post-conflict weapon, which will be used by police, private companies and any individual who requires its use,” Indumil Director Luis Carlos Perdomo said. The weapon is functional and precise and can be used for personal defense and for target practice. The Córdova is a 9-mm semiautomatic handgun which weighs less than a kilogram designed to fire between nine and 15 rounds. It’s named after the Military Industry of Colombia (Indumil) plant General José María Córdova, a hero of Colombia’s fight for independence. In addition to being a high-precision weapon, the Córdova is ergonomically designed and can be used with equal ease by right-handers and left-handers. “This is a post-conflict weapon, which will be used by police, private companies and any individual who requires its use,” Indumil Director Luis Carlos Perdomo said. The weapon is functional and precise and can be used for personal defense and for target practice. Officials presented the gun to the public during the Expodefensa fair in October in Bogotá. Decades of experience Indumil has sold more than 1,000 units of the Córdova domestically, each costing about $500 (USD). It’s selling well because it brings together the best qualities of well-known firearms — such as the barrel of the Bernardelli, the grip of the Sig Sauer and elements of the Pietro Beretta and the Taurus — Colombia’s Ministry of Defense said in a news release. Indumil reaching out to new markets For most of its 60 years, Indumil has focused on selling weapons domestically, with Colombia’s Armed Forces accounting for most of its sales. Indumil reaching out to new markets The Córdova evolved from a previous handgun, known as the Standard, which has a capacity of nine rounds. Indumil aspires to become the main supplier of handguns in Colombia. About 5,000 to 6,000 handguns are sold in the country annually. last_img read more

Admiral Tidd Reaffirms SOUTHCOM’S Commitment to El Salvador

first_imgThe Salvadoran Military has improved its capabilities for conducting overseas peacekeeping missions by building a modern training complex at the Peacekeeping Operations Center. The facility was funded with a $1.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of State’s Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI). The GPOI, which is sponsored by SOUTHCOM, is an assistance program designed to improve international capacity to effectively carry out the United Nations Peacekeeping Operations. Peacekeeping missions His words inspired confidence and encouragement among the FAES, whose Soldiers are patrolling streets and neighborhoods throughout the country to fight gangs and improve security. “The Southern Command has always provided us with resources and personnel to strengthen capacities in different areas,” stated Major General Félix Núñez, Chairman of the FAES’s Joint Chiefs of Staff. “At this time, the continuity of that support will protect our forces as they continue to support the safety of the population.” The leader of U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) has reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to continue working “shoulder to shoulder” with the Salvadoran Armed Forces (FAES) in the fight against the violence generated by gangs and narco-trafficking. Many of these training programs were conducted by SOUTHCOM at the Regional Training Center Against Transnational Organized Crime (CRACCT) – a space designed specifically to share the most successful strategies against drug trafficking, money laundering, gang activity, and other criminal actions. “Admiral Tidd expressed his intention to further strengthen the capabilities of CRACCT, where we are training our units to combat criminal organizations formed by gangs,” Maj. Gen. Núñez explained. The FAES also thanked Adm. Tidd for the arrival of the hospital ship USNS Comfort in April 2015 at the Port of Alajuela. Medical specialists from various branches of the U.S. Military descended from the ship for two weeks to conduct an extensive and long-awaited medical campaign, providing consultations to 12,000 Salvadorans and performing 100 surgeries. Admiral Tidd honors Salvadoran Troops “We thank SOUTHCOM for their unconditional support in equipping and training contingents each year to join peace operations, increasing our professionalism and increasing our capacity to continue this effort to maintain global security,” Maj. Gen. Núñez added. center_img Currently, the FAES supports missions with three peacekeeping contingents: the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti, and the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali. The FAES is collectively represented in these operations by more than 175 Military members, including officers, non-commissioned officers, Troops, and administrative staff. “We will work together and share the best practices and information to tackle problems together, because no country in North America or South America has the ability to work on their own,” Admiral Kurt W. Tidd, SOUTHCOM’s commander, said during a visit to El Salvador on February 25th. “We all have to work together.” Salvadoran Troops are working diligently to reduce violence. From January 1st to March 13th, more than 1,680 Salvadorans – an average of 23 a day – were killed in violent acts. To deal with this challenge, the FAES is providing rigorous training to experienced Soldiers to prepare them to confront the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and Barrio 18 (M-18) gangs, as well as other gang factions. By Dialogo April 01, 2016 During his visit, Adm. Tidd paid tribute to Salvadoran Soldiers killed in peacekeeping and cooperation missions throughout the world, highlighting their professionalism and willingness to join international forces to safeguard peace. “From its participation in peacekeeping missions in Haiti and Mali, to coalition operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, El Salvador has worked alongside its international partners in support of peace and security, sometimes even at the expense of losing the lives of their young and valuable Soldiers to protect defenseless citizens in lands thousands of [kilometers] away,” Adm. Tidd said at the Monument to the Fallen in Combat, which is in the heart of the FAES Doctrine and Military Education Command. This country’s armed forces are very excellent and greatlast_img read more

Chile Purchases Vehicles to Expedite Disaster Response

first_imgBy Carolina Contreras/Diálogo May 15, 2017 The Chilean Army performed the largest overhaul of its field vehicle fleet by adding 313 new and modern multipurpose trucks with a service life of 15 to 20 years. The vehicles will be used to improve response capabilities during natural disasters and to deploy aid in peacekeeping operations outside of Chile. “The possibility of unforeseen events is constant. In light of that fact, the only serious response is to improve and refine the capacity of our institutions to react,” President Michelle Bachelet said on March 10th during the official presentation ceremony for the vehicles. She highlighted this investment as “necessary for the Chilean Army, not only for its defense duties but also to lend support in situations that impact the country.” “[With our old vehicles], we were having problems with reliability, availability, obsolete technology, and properly deploying our land forces,” Lieutenant Colonel Raúl Rosas, Army communications section chief, told Diálogo. These new transport vehicles, which represent an investment of $79 million, are part of projects Alfil and Cahuelmó, and were built to replace field vehicles at all of the Chilean Army’s combined arms units in service for 25 to 30 years. In fact, it was the president who made both projects a top priority in March 2015 following the flood that impacted the Atacama region in northern Chile. During a visit to the area, she witnessed the Armed Force’s work on the ground and “saw that our vehicles were not fulfilling their purposes as they should,” Colonel Claudio Orellana, from the Chilean Army Projects and Research Department for Project Alfil, told Diálogo. The other project, Cahuelmó, has been up and running since the earthquake that rocked the country in 2010. This project also included the purchase of machinery and tactical vehicles for Army Corps of Engineers battalions. “This is the most important overhaul in recent years, equivalent to 15 percent of the Army’s nationwide fleet,” said Col. Orellana. Multipurpose resources The 313 field vehicles were chosen for their operational capabilities to transport cargo and personnel, and to gather resources and take them to secure zones. They were tested in complex geographical environments such as in the high Andean plateau in the north and deep south of Chile. Project Alfil acquired 278 state-of-the-art Mercedes-Benz trucks: 138 UNIMOG 4000s, 134 ATEGO N1023 4Ks, and six ZETROS 1833s with low, medium, and high tonnage, respectively. The 6×6 trucks have all-wheel drive, reduced traction, and locking differential systems – properties that allow the vehicles to grip surfaces and give it a high level of independent cargo stability. They can travel over snowy, flooded, and rocky terrain and are equipped with the emissions technology required by today’s international market for the type of fuel they use. Meanwhile, Project Cahuelmó finalized the purchase of 35 Mercedes-Benz trucks, between Actros 2632 6×6 dump trucks, Actros 3344 for transporting machinery, and off-road Zetros 1833s, as well as the procurement of 154 vehicles for engineering work such as bulldozers, excavators, front-end loaders, graders, 4×4 backhoe loaders, vibrating rollers, forklifts, crushers, and compressors with pneumatic tools. These machines are used for road building and/or replacing roads and bridges, among other operations carried out by Army Engineering Battalions throughout the country. With these new acquisitions, “the Army has incorporated a new multipurpose dimension into its investments and its overhaul of this equipment,” Col. Orellana said, since it will now be able to properly complete missions in its three strategic areas (defense, security and international cooperation, and Army and society). “We can develop, train, and maintain our land forces with a range of capabilities for efficiently carrying out military operations other than warfare,” Lt. Col. Rosas stressed. During the month of April, the military personnel in charge of operating and maintaining these new trucks received theory-based and hands-on training. Once this phase was completed, the vehicles were released for use. It should be noted that these new vehicles are from the same manufacturer as the old, decommissioned vehicles, which gives continuity to the maintenance, training, and capacity-building processes already mastered by military personnel. Units benefited Currently, all of the vehicles are available in the Army’s 34 combined arms units deployed from Arica, in the north, to Isla Grande in Tierra del Fuego, in the south. The number of trucks assigned to each unit was based on a prior analysis of the specific characteristics of their areas of use. Thus, for example, the Army Artillery School in Region VII had 15 of its tactical 4×4 vehicles replaced. In accordance with Army regulations, the retired vehicles are removed with all of their equipment by the Chilean Army in order to be demilitarized. They are then sent to public auction. Proceeds from the sale are used for maintaining the new vehicles. The Army has readied all of its 2017 annual training plans for its professional troops and conscripted soldiers, and the new trucks stand ready for these training activities at the Army’s various units. “We have modern and reliable equipment that affords Chile security,” Col. Orellana concluded.last_img read more

Foundation asks court to amend IOTA rule

first_imgFoundation asks court to amend IOTA rule Mark D. Killian Managing Editor The Florida Bar Foundation will seek a rule change that would throw open the IOTA program to financial institutions other than banks and require those holding the trust accounts to pay interest rates or dividends commensurate with those offered to their non-IOTA depositors. That, according to Foundation board member Kathy McLeroy who chaired the ad hoc committee studying the proposed change has the potential to double the money generated by the IOTA program. McLeroy said if the rule changes are adopted it would “allow us to be treated as similarly situated bank customers would be treated and, therefore, increase IOTA revenue to what I understand could be in the neighborhood of $26 million.” Meeting recently on Amelia Island, the Foundation board voted without dissent to ask the Supreme Court to amend the IOTA rule to allow financial services companies such as Morgan Stanley Dean Witter or Merrill Lynch to hold IOTA accounts. The change also would require any institution that wants to handle IOTA accounts to offer the same market rate of interest or dividends on products available to non-IOTA depositors with comparable balances. Authorized investments would include FDIC insured accounts, daily bank repurchase agreements (REPOS) or appropriate safe- guarded investment products such as money market accounts, money market funds or mutual funds. Currently, IOTA funds can only be held in federally insured checking accounts or REPOs. “I think this is a big step for this Foundation to take,” said Foundation President Hamilton Cooke, noting that currently most banks do not offer the same products to lawyers’ IOTA accounts as they do to other large customers. In short, said Foundation Executive Director Jane Curran, banks generally are not treating lawyers’ IOTA funds the same as other customers who might take their business to a bank paying higher interest rates. Curran also said the Foundation recognizes there is no broad consumer demand for higher checking account rates, which is why the Foundation obtained Supreme Court approval for REPOs. “Unfortunately, only two major Florida banks SunTrust and AmSouth have agreed to offer, on a limited basis, REPOs to law firms with large IOTA accounts,” Curran said. In tailoring the proposed change, McLeroy said the Foundation worked to put the onus of meeting the new standards on the financial institutions and not the lawyers. Cooke said the Foundation will now have to put together an education plan and strategy to get the changes adopted. “Obviously there are going to be road blocks,” Cooke told the board. “Bankers, we are probably going to hear from them, and we are probably going to hear from some lawyers.” Under the current program, total IOTA revenue will amount to about $11.1 million this year, and has been steadily falling since the mid-1990s as interest rates have waned. At its peak, IOTA was generating about $19 million a year for legal aid, administration of justice and law school assistance programs. Board member Bill Davis of Tallahassee said it’s a good idea to require banks wanting to hold IOTA accounts to provide market interest rates. “I can’t help but think that IOTA accounts are being discriminated against in the market place by some banks,” Davis said. “I think this rule is really what attorneys have been asking for,” said board member Drew O’Malley of Tampa, noting lawyers are reluctant to “beg” their banks for higher IOTA rates. “This rule takes the lawyer out of the equation.” Several lawyers on the board agreed that attorneys are often not willing to push banks to increase their IOTA interest rates because it would jeopardize side business relationships they have with their banks. Bill Thompson said one of the “great aspects” of the rule is it will create some competition for IOTA accounts. Thompson also said as the Foundation drafts the proposed rule for the court’s consideration, the board must keep in mind the large number of small-firm lawyers to make sure they are not burdened by the changes. “We tried to make it so there would be very little impact on the lawyers themselves,” McLeroy said, adding that allowing IOTA accounts of any size to be opened at eligible financial services companies was made in response to the Supreme Court’s directive that the Foundation continue to investigate alternative investment opportunities that would accomplish the dual goals of increasing IOTA revenues and safeguarding trust funds. “That is something the Supreme Court had asked us to consider a number of years ago and we think is significant in this proposal,” McLeroy said McLeroy said requiring that IOTA accounts earn the highest interest rate available to non-IOTA depositors with comparable balances at the same bank or financial services company would make IOTA voluntary for institutions. And by meeting the standard, banks would become eligible for participation, and lawyers and firms would be required to deposit IOTA funds only in eligible institutions, she said. As part of the plan, McLeroy said the Foundation also will independently work with banks and financial services companies to develop appropriate products which are in compliance with the IOTA rule. McLeroy said that will include providing them computer and technical support needed to remit IOTA earnings to the Foundation and conduct the required reporting. McLeroy said the Foundation, not the lawyer, will be responsible for monitoring usage of banks’ and financial services companies’ existing products available to non-IOTA depositors, with respect to rates being paid on individual attorney and law firm IOTA accounts as reported by the Foundation on IOTA remittance reports, in order to determine compliance with the IOTA rule. The proposal calls for no action to be required of law firms by the proposed amendments to monitor their institution’s compliance and unless and until an attorney’s or law firm’s bank becomes ineligible to hold IOTA funds because of its unwillingness to offer products in compliance with the rule. In that instance, the Foundation would advise the attorney or law firm that their financial institution had become ineligible to hold IOTA funds. “However, in the event a bank is in compliance with the comparable interest rate or dividend provisions of the rule, but is unwilling to remit interest directly to the Foundation, in order to accommodate law firms, the firm would be permitted to maintain their account where it was situated and remit directly to the Foundation rather than be forced to change institutions,” McLeroy said. McLeroy said the proposed IOTA rule changes provide that IOTA funds are as safe or safer than in the current IOTA rule. For example, if not FDIC insured or in the currently-approved REPOs, which are collateralized by U.S. government notes, bonds or agency debt, then the Foundation would indemnify attorneys and law firms. That would provide, in a sense, “deposit insurance” against market loss of client funds held, for example, in government money market funds. The Foundation would purchase private insurance to cover the cost of such indemnification, if any. Foundation asks court to amend IOTA rule February 15, 2001 Managing Editor Regular Newslast_img read more

Amendments would deal with convicted lawyers

first_img October 1, 2005 Senior Editor Notices Amendments would deal with convicted lawyers Amendments would deal with convicted lawyers The proposed changes would speed the Bar’s disciplinary process Gary Blankenship Senior Editor Rule amendments clarifying regulations affecting lawyers who have been convicted of misdemeanors or felonies have been approved by the Board of Governors.However, the board, following advice from the Disciplinary Procedure Committee, declined to make any changes to rules that affect arbitration agreements over malpractice in client fee contracts or give additional guidance to judges reviewing contingency fees that exceed limits in the rules.The board acted on recommendations from the DPC at its August 26 meeting.DPC Chair Murray Silverstein said changes to Rule 3-7.2 were intended to bring conformity to the rules and speed the Bar’s disciplinary process after a lawyer has been convicted of a crime. Silverstein said the DPC considered amendments on referral from the Supreme Court.Changes, he said, include requiring attorneys to report misdemeanor as well as felony criminal arrests to the Bar, restating the reporting requirement for court clerks and trial judges, and extending the reporting requirement to state attorneys, if they know the defendant is a member of the Bar. The changes also expedite handling of the case after conviction and provide s that a conviction is conclusive proof for a Bar grievance in misdemeanor as well as felony cases.The board unanimously approved the committee’s changes, which now go to the Supreme Court for its review.On the other two areas, Silverstein said the committee, after extensive study of both, ultimately concluded that no change was needed for Bar rules.The first involved whether attorneys should be able to require in their fee contracts a clause requiring mandatory arbitration of any malpractice claim by the client. The board had earlier approved a similar amendment clarifying that such clauses were allowed in fee disputes.At earlier committee and board meetings, Silverstein said concerns were raised that clients were giving up the right to a jury trial and whether clients should consult an outside attorney before signing such an arbitration agreement. The Citizens Forum also voiced concerns.Eventually, the committee came up with language that arbitration of a malpractice complaint could not be required unless requested by the client, and if proposed by the lawyer and rejected by the client, the lawyer would still have to accept the client.“Ultimately, today the recommendation of the DPC is not to adopt this language,” Silverstein told the board. “It’s been considered that this is essentially a negative or adhesion contract, requiring a lawyer to accept a client regardless of the client’s acceptance of the arbitration clause.”The existing rule, he noted, says a lawyer cannot make an agreement with a client limiting malpractice liability, unless allowed by law and unless the client is independently represented. That would allow the arbitration agreements with protections, and the DPC decided its proposed language was not an improvement, he said.The board voted to accept the recommendation not to make a change.On the contingency fee issue, Silverstein said the committee studied the guidance given to judges in Rule 4-1.(f)(4)(B)(II) when considering upward departures from the contingency fee rules.The issue arose in oral arguments on Bar rules in the Supreme Court two years ago when Justice Kenneth Bell raised a question about the adequacy of direction given to judges in the rule when a lawyer and client come to the court to request exceeding the contingency fee schedule set out in the rules.The current rule commentary advises judges that they should look at whether the contingency agreement was voluntarily entered into and whether the client understands it exceeds the guideline fees in the rules.“We attempted to draft some additional language and ultimately came to the point where it seemed we were micro-engineering what was already in the [rule] comment,” Silverstein said. “The committee came back to the issue of whether it was necessary. No one. . . was complaining about the lack of further guidance, and we have made the determination there is no need to make any further changes to the commentary or the rule.”last_img read more

You are never too old to join The Florida Bar

first_imgYou are never too old to join The Florida Bar Theresa E. Davis Assistant Editor If one is to believe the billboards dotted along Interstate 95, an ideal way to spend one’s golden years is resting comfortably in a “retirement community” collecting seashells or nudging metal detectors down white, sandy beaches.Not so for Thomas A. Woodward who passed the Florida bar exam in February at age 73. The last time he took a bar exam, the New York Yankees beat the Cincinnati Reds in the World Series, Kennedy was in the White House, and Super Bowl I was six years away.Stating that the law has changed since then would be putting it mildly.“There were such dramatic changes in all those areas over a period of 40 years,” said Woodward.Woodward’s passion is the law, second only to his love for golf.“I really love practicing law. In terms of retirement, that’s probably the last thing on my mind,” Woodward said. “When my time comes, they’re going to find me either in my office or on the golf course.”Preparing and sitting for the bar exam presented a challenge for Woodward.“It’s well known that the Florida exam particularly is tough and focused,” Woodward said. “You’re, in effect, running an academic marathon.”The difficulty didn’t stop there, either. The Florida Board of Bar Examiners conducts a rigorous background check.“The Florida Bar Examiners are as searching in their background checking as any state that I’ve ever seen. I’m admitted in several other states but I don’t recall anything like the great specificity they go through,” said Woodward.Still, Woodward considers himself among the lucky. He says that younger lawyers taking the bar have more to contend with.“I noticed quite a lot of pressure when I was taking the bar exam in New York years ago but it was nothing compared to what you saw in Tampa. You see these people who maybe did not have jobs where they could pass the exam or had jobs they were going to lose or not be promoted in. So, you know, talk about pressure,” Woodward said.Woodward wanted to take the bar exam in Florida so he could practice here.“The last thing you want to do is come into a state and engage in activities that wind up being unauthorized practice of law,” Woodward said. “No lawyer worth his salt would do that.”Woodward says his love for the law isn’t hard to explain.“Whether this is a pipe dream or not, I don’t know; but I would like to establish a law office in Florida and fill it up with the very best lawyers I can get and the very best clients I can get and see what happens,” said Woodward. “It’s even more fun than golf.”Born in 1933 in Omaha, Woodward says jurisprudence may be in his genes. “We’re from a family of county seat lawyers,” said Woodward. “Somebody in my family’s been practicing law practically since the days of the Mayflower.” June 1, 2006 Regular Newscenter_img You are never too old to join The Florida Barlast_img read more

Elvis On Long Island: The King and L.I.

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York The lights dimmed and suddenly the packed Nassau Coliseum resounded with the opening chords of the 2001: Space Odyssey theme. Elvis Presley was in the house.The fans roared as the King of Rock and Roll took center stage. Their camera bulbs sparkled like diamonds in the arena darkness and radiated off Elvis’ rhinestone jumpsuit.“I remember all the lights flashing as he was coming out,” says Ellen Granelli, who was one of the lucky ones. “He had the audience in the palm of his hand for the entire time.”Granelli, who works at the Northport library, saw Elvis at Madison Square Garden in June 1972—the only time he ever played in Manhattan besides the Ed Sullivan Theater—and both times he came to Uniondale in June 1973 and July 1975. The three shows basically followed the same set list, but she didn’t mind “because it was Elvis! You wanted to be there!”Making a fashion statement all his own, Elvis Presley basks in the adoration of his fans at his Nassau Coliseum concert on July 19, 1975. his next show there was set for 1977 (see unused ticket at right).(Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)Granelli was in her 20s then—today her three kids are in their 30s. She had tickets to see Elvis in August 1977 with her new husband as well as her girlfriend Mary Jo, who’d been her companion at the previous concerts. They never got the chance. She and her husband were driving through the mountains of Maine on vacation when Elvis was all they heard on their car radio. Strange, they thought, since he hadn’t had a top 10 hit in quite a while.“This isn’t good!” Granelli remembers thinking. Sadly, she was right.“I was talking to my children the other night…and I said I saw the older Elvis, and then I stopped myself!” she says. “Older Elvis! He died at 42—that’s not old!”On Aug. 16, 1977, less than a week before Elvis was to appear at the Coliseum—his first venue on the next leg of his tour that year—his girlfriend at the time, Ginger Alden, found him lying face-down on the shag carpet of his bathroom at Graceland, his famous mansion on Elvis Presley Boulevard in Memphis.Somewhere in Granelli’s Northport home are her unused tickets. Her kids tell her they’ve seen them there and she’s sure she hasn’t thrown them away. Her Elvis collection, which includes “every album” (some 33 recordings by her reckoning), is up in the attic, but she doesn’t play his songs much these days, in part because they’re on vinyl. Unlike a later TV generation who endured Elvis’ egregious movies broadcast in the Sixties, Granelli got her first look at “Elvis the Pelvis” (as the puritanical press pilloried him at the time) when he appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1956.“I was a little girl—I was only nine,” she says with a laugh. “That’s where it all started. From the earlier years I thought he was just magnificent, charismatic and very talented.” But she had to wait to see Elvis perform live, and she grabbed every chance she could get, even though it was obvious that the Elvis of the Seventies wasn’t the same performer who’d set the rock and roll world ablaze in the 1950s.“He had a magnificent presence, even at that stage, that just kind of drew you in and took you to another place,” she says. “It was still Elvis, and it was still his voice.”She and her girlfriend never made it to the front of the stage where Elvis would ceremonially shed scarf after scarf to the adoring female fans reaching out to him, but it didn’t matter to Granelli. “If you’re a true fan, you understand that you can be in the zone in the last seat in the last row,” she says.On that fateful August morning in 1977 Steve Prisco—today Sam Ash Music’s marketing director—was driving to a ticket-scalper on Long Island to get front-row seats for the Nassau Coliseum show when he heard the news: The King was dead.A young guitarist growing up in Huntington Station, Prisco had acquired a taste for rockabilly music after looking through his older brothers’ record collections and getting turned on to the tracks Elvis had recorded at Sam Phillips’ Sun Studios in Memphis.“The power of that music really grabbed me,” he says. “Up to that point, Elvis was just the guy in those afternoon movies.”Prisco’s first guitar teacher was from Tennessee and had moved in right across the street. “He was a real good ole boy,” Prisco recalls. The teacher asked him who his favorite guitarist was. Prisco had read that the Young Rascals’ guitarist Gene Cornish had revered Scotty Moore, so Prisco repeated the name. “He looks at me, like, ‘Really?!’” Prisco recalls. “I had no idea who Scotty Moore was.” A few years later, he learned that Moore was the great sideman in Elvis’ Sun sessions, and so those seminal riffs he’d been learning in Huntington ran very deep indeed.ALL SHOOK UP: Steve Prisco (top) strikes a chord at the recent Elvis Show in Bay Shore while Chris James, in shades, hits the high note, Jenna Silverman croons with that special feeling, and Paul Schmitz (bottom) does it in style. (Photos by Ken Farrell)These days, through the New York Roots Music Association—NYRMA for short—Prisco has been the front man for “The Elvis Show,” Long Island’s longest-running Elvis tribute and charity event, which has raised more than $50,000 for food pantries over two decades. For the last three years in a row, they’ve sold out the YMCA Boulton Center for the Performing Arts in Bay Shore.Prisco got the idea for the first show when he realized that his rockabilly trio was going to be playing on Elvis’ Jan. 8th birthday.“We had a lot of friends who’d come down to see us—friends from other bands—and I always enjoyed having people come up on stage,” he says. “So that night I spread the word around that ‘Hey, we’re going to do a bunch of Elvis stuff, so come on down and come up and sing a song.’”It clicked, and the next year he decided to ask people to bring canned food to donate to local pantries for the hungry and homeless. And so the event grew from a little bar in Huntington to where it is today—with a hiatus in the ’90s—and it’s been going strong eight years in a row with dozens of performers. But it was always about Elvis and his songs. The cardinal rule, Prisco said, was: “No Elvis impersonators!” He understands that some fans fixate on the “whole mythology and campiness and that whole insane side” of the Elvis image, and that “the impersonators play into that,” but, for Prisco and his peers, it’s about being “true to the vibe.”No matter how his career was going on stage, Elvis always had his standards, according to his wife, Priscilla Presley, who divorced him in October 1973. As she wrote in her memoir, he “couldn’t abide singers who were, in his words, ‘all technique and no emotional feeling,’ and in this category he firmly placed Mel Torme and Robert Goulet. They were both responsible for two television sets being blown away with a .357 Magnum.”The recent NYRMA event in January delved into Elvis’ “deep catalogue and some odd-ball stuff,” Prisco says, but the music could stand on its own. “I think if you didn’t know it was an Elvis show, you would still have enjoyed it because of the level of the performances and the musicianship.”They did the King proud—and, in that spirit, it’s worth recalling how much the New York Times’ then-top music critic, John Rockwell, appreciated seeing and hearing Elvis himself when he last performed on Long Island almost 40 years ago.“Mr. Presley can still rock, and he felt like rocking a refreshing lot of the time Saturday at the Nassau Coliseum,” the critic wrote on July 21, 1975. “When this observer last saw Mr. Presley, it was also the Nassau Coliseum, two summers ago. Then he was fat, lazy and ineffectual. On Saturday he was still fat—fatter than ever, a blown-up cartoon of his spare 1950s toughness. But he wasn’t lazy, and he most certainly wasn’t ineffectual.”Granelli, who was also there that day, would no doubt agree with Rockwell’s assessment.“It appeared to me he had the same charisma that he had in the ‘50s and the early ‘60s but he was almost a caricature of himself in the performance,” she says. She blamed his management, Colonel Tom Parker in particular. “I don’t think [Elvis] was any longer true to who he really was,” she says. “He was what they were telling him he had to be.”Like many an Elvis afficionado, she believes he had tremendous talent but no coping skills to fend off the freeloaders.“He was the son of a sharecropper,” she says. “Where would he have learned any business acumen? So once Colonel Parker got into the picture, I think that started out to be a good thing but ultimately destroyed him.”Prisco says that though Parker took 50 percent of Elvis’ share, the performer never lacked anything he wanted—and he shouldn’t be held blameless for decisions that in retrospect limited his career, let alone his life. As for what Elvis achieved, Prisco believes that rock and roll really began when Elvis recorded “Mystery Train” in 1955.“That was it,” Prisco says. “Nothing had sounded truly like that before.”As Elvis profoundly changed American music, so too has the industry changed irrevocably—and Prisco believes there’s no going back to the days of “those big bangs—Sinatra, Elvis, the Beatles and, some people will say, Michael Jackson—that’s not going to happen anymore the way everything’s so fragmented now and so immediate. He’ll always have that.”Elvis has left the building, never to return, but his music is still rocking the halls.last_img read more

Roosevelt Teen Charged With Stabbing

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A teenager was arrested for stabbing a man in Roosevelt over the weekend, Nassau County police said.Eric Amaya got into a fight with a 21-year-old man at his Smith Street home, where the suspect stabbed the victim three times shortly before 3 p.m. Saturday, police said.The victim was taken to a local hospital for treatment of non-life threatening stab wounds to the back, leg and arm.Amaya was charged Sunday with assault and criminal possession of a weapon. He be arraigned Monday at First District Court in Hempstead.last_img read more