In the midst of a political stalemate in Israel, the government is continuing with its annexation of the West Bank, a move recently endorsed by the U.S. Israel also continues its murderous campaign against Gaza and air strikes against Syria.After two elections, in April and September, Israeli politicians are still deadlocked. Likud, the party of right-winger Benjamin Netanyahu, prime minister for the last 10 years, has basically tied twice with the Blue and White party of Benny Gantz, a more centrist alliance put together to try to defeat Netanyahu. As a result, neither has been able to form a government.The Joint List, a political coalition uniting a number of Palestinian parties, is the third largest block in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament. Netanyahu’s campaign terrorist-baited the Joint List and tried to link it to the Blue and White.U.S. support for Israel’s colonizationSecretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Nov. 18 that the United States does not consider Israeli settlements built on occupied Palestinian land to be illegal.This statement reverses 40 years of U.S. policy, but didn’t come out of the blue. David M. Friedman, the U.S. ambassador to Israel, made it clear that he supported Israel’s so-called right to annex the occupied West Bank at his nomination hearing in 2016. (New York Times, Dec. 15, 2016)The latest gift by U.S. President Donald Trump to his ally Netanyahu has no obvious rationale, but certainly bolstered Netanyahu’s political position within Israel.In response, Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Executive Committee and an elected member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, said: “Pompeo’s reckless announcement threatens to normalize and encourage Israeli war crimes and expansionism.” (Washington Post, Nov. 20)She went on to say: “The issue of settlements is not some abstract or theoretical legal argument. Israel’s illegal settlement regime has had dire consequences on the lives and livelihoods of millions of Palestinians.”She added: “Today, roughly 700,000 Israeli settlers live illegally on occupied Palestinian land in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in more than 200 settlements. [Israeli] settlements are strategically located to isolate Palestinian cities, towns and villages, sever East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank, and take control of vital natural resources, including water.”Israel’s campaign against GazaIsrael claimed Nov. 12 that it had assassinated Bahaa Abu Al-Ata, the top commander of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and his spouse Asma Abu Al-Ata, at their home in Gaza. Israel boasted that this assassination was “surgical,” but one of its final strikes also destroyed the home of another family, killing eight, including five children. Palestinian medical officials reported 34 casualties. (Washington Post, Nov. 16)In response, beginning Nov. 13, Islamic Jihad sent a barrage of hundreds of rockets into southern Israel. After a couple of days, Israel attacked some Hamas facilities, claiming rockets were coming from there.Israel has imposed a state of siege on Gaza for the past 12 years. Israel has limited or completely cut off food, water, electricity and medical supplies, leaving the Palestinian people there in hunger, thirst and danger.Netanyahu’s indictmentOn Nov. 21, Avichaï Mandelblit, Israel’s attorney general, released a 63-page indictment of Netanyahu, who had appointed him 4 years earlier. Netanyahu was charged with bribery, fraud and breach of trust. These charges are similar to charges now being developed in the impeachment investigation against his ally Trump.Netanyahu’s response to the indictment was aggressive. He charged it was a “witch hunt,” “an attempted coup,” and is refusing to step down. He is not legally obliged to do so, but significantly he had called for a previous prime minister, Ehud Olmert, to step down after a similar indictment.It is not clear how this latest development will affect the situation in Israel and Palestine. The Blue and White head, Benny Ganz, implied he could no longer negotiate with Likud while it was headed by Netanyahu. Political splits in the Israeli public are growing sharper. European media called for Netanyahu to step down.The head of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh, said the developments were a sign “of more steadfastness” for the Palestinians and that this meant more “resistance, both popular and armed.” (AP, Nov. 23)FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare this
More than 50 percent of the cocaine processed in Bolivia is destined for Brazil, where the number of consumers has noticeably increased due to the economic prosperity of recent years, according to an investigation by the daily Valor, published on December 12. “In the last ten years, Brazil has moved from being a transit country to being a consumption country” for cocaine, said Murilo Vieira, a diplomatic official at the Brazilian embassy in La Paz. The country is suffering “the collateral effects” of having raised 30 million people out of poverty who became middle-class consumers over the last decade, Vieira added. “The so-called new middle class acquired access to cocaine and to a relatively cheap drug, crack” (a cocaine product), the diplomat stated. As a consequence of the increased consumption in Brazil, “Colombian, Mexican, Peruvian, and Brazilian mafias began to establish themselves in Bolivia in order to export those drugs” to Brazilian territory, according to Valor. “Between around 60 and 80 percent of Bolivian cocaine is destined for the Brazilian market, estimated at around 900,000 users,” which would make the country the third-largest consumer of the drug, behind the United States and the European Union, the newspaper said. Control of drug-trafficking routes has unleashed a struggle among mafia groups in Bolivia, “at times violent, at times not so violent, but involving all” the organizations, Douglas Farah, a researcher at the International Assessment and Strategy Center in the United States said. Bolivia, the world’s third-largest cocaine producer after Peru and Colombia, according to the UN, signed an agreement with Brazil at the beginning of the year to fight drug trafficking using Brazilian unmanned planes. Early in December, the Brazilian government acknowledged that it is facing a “crack epidemic” due to the increased consumption of the substance and announced an offensive combining medical care for users and a hard line against trafficking at the borders. In 2010, the Brazilian Federal Police seized almost 28 tons of cocaine (paste, hydrochloride, and crack) and 154 tons of marijuana. In 2011, they had seized 15 tons of cocaine and 87 of marijuana as of August, a Federal Police spokesperson told AFP. By Dialogo December 13, 2011
Building a new credit union website design isn’t something you can place on your list of aggressive quarterly goals and check off a few weeks later. Instead of a redesign fling once every few years, it should be a long-term initiative undergoing continuous improvement. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. So how do you successfully run the website redesign marathon? You adopt growth-driven design (GDD) as your training strategy. GDD is a proven method to grow your credit union through continuous, results-driven improvements, rather than one big project every three years. The more you train, the faster you run. The more you iterate, the closer your website gets to its ideal state.As you train for a marathon, you might be working towards a new personal record. You plan your training around this objective, making consistent and ongoing efforts to reach it. When designing a website, you need your goal to be just as clear in order to guide your continuous improvement efforts—you need to understand your final destination so you can figure out how to get there. Setting a goal is the first step of growth-driven web design, and it’s also arguably the most important. So take the time to decide what you want your website to achieve for your credit union. As I’ve talked to over 200 credit unions, I’ve found that they all have three goals in common: Grow, Delight, and Cut Costs.GrowGrow your credit union by getting more applications for membership, accounts, and loans.Increase account and loan applications: In order to grow deposits and loans, you need to draw visitors in as soon as they land on your site. Focus your website iterations on capturing visitors’ interest, clearly communicating your value, and providing effective educational resources to guide their financial decisions. Once you have their attention, make it simple for them to start an application. Optimize your forms to increase submissions. DelightDelight your members by giving them simple, beautiful experiences that save them time and money. Increase usability: Too often, credit unions receive complaints about their websites because they provide poor user experiences, perhaps because the site is too hard to navigate or provides a difficult login flow. Try making simple changes to increase usability, such as improving site navigation to ensure visitors can find what they’re looking for right away and thus increase efficiency. Through usability testing, you can measure the effectiveness and efficiency of your website:Effectiveness is the rate at which people successfully complete a task (e.g., “99% of our members can successfully log in to online banking”).Efficiency is the amount of time it takes for someone to complete a task (e.g., “Our average member can log in to online banking in 3.5 seconds”). 7SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Derik Krauss Derik is a cofounder of BloomCU, an award-winning website design agency for credit unions. His agency’s design work has received recognition from CUNA (Diamond Award), TheFinancialBrand.com, and others. He … Web: bloomCU.com Details Once you’ve decided on your credit union website design’s goal, you can start mapping out the improvements you need to get there, implement those changes, and measure your results. Here are a few examples of credit union marketers that have set goals and used their websites to achieve them: Katelyn McManamon, Penn East FCUGoal: Grow by getting more membership applicationsMy company, BloomCU, helped Katelyn McManamon, AVP of Marketing at Penn East FCU, design a new website that increased their leads for membership by 4,200%. Dave Sullivan, People Driven CUGoal: Grow by getting more loan applicationsBloomCU helped Dave Sullivan, VP of Marketing at People Driven CU, set up a simpler web form and increase leads for auto loans by 413%.Ashley Yamamoto, HFSFCUGoal: Grow by getting more loan applicationsBloomCU also helped Ashley Yamamoto, Marketing Coordinator at HFSFCU, use personalization technology to increase application starts by 31%. (To start usability testing, get this Usability Testing Worksheet.)Increase positive feedback: Iterate and then iterate some more in order to make a visit to your website as enjoyable as possible. For example, we know members highly value convenience and prefer self-serving technologies. Make it easy for them to complete services such as online banking and bill pay. By creating pleasant experiences for your members, you can increase your credit union’s Net Promoter Score.Cut CostsCut costs for your credit union by answering FAQs and streamlining processes. Save time: Let your website take over some of the heavy lifting so you can allocate your time to the most important activities. For example, let’s say you spend lots of time updating rates on your website. If a new feature could make it easier to update rates, that would give you more time to work on a marketing campaign or watch cat videos on YouTube (whatever strikes your fancy). Save money: Think about ways you can make small improvements that can result in big payoffs. For example, you can reduce call center costs simply by including a clear and thorough FAQ section on your website that answers questions so your call center agents don’t have to keep repeating your routing number.
The Jr High Eagles Soccer team traveled to South Ripley. The Eagles win 1-0.Scoring for the Eagles: Jordan Meyer 1 goal, 4 shots; Caleb Simon 3 shots; Morgan Sutton 1 shot, 1 assist; Justin Swinney 1 shot; Ryan Wilson 1 shot; Blake Fiess 2 stops; Garrett Schriener 2 stops; Cam Grable 1 stop; and Conner Toops (shut out) 8 saves.Courtesy of Eagles Coach Larry Hammond.
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