Champlain student entrepreneurs earn BYOBiz Cornerstone Awards

ojkronpah

first_imgChamplain College presented six student entrepreneurs with BYOBiz Cornerstone Awards in November. The students were honored by the College for their entrepreneurial achievement as part of the inaugural group in the College’s new BYOBiz (Bring-Your-Own-Business) program.The Cornerstone Award recipients were:Peter Bruhn and Peter Jewett, students who successfully launched an e-business called Go Trading Post (http://www.gotradingpost.com(link is external)), which is associated with eBay. The two Business majors operate their business in Burlington.Ben Haulenbeek, a Multimedia and Graphics Design major and founder of Haulenbeek Photography (http://benhaulenbeek.com(link is external)). His future entrepreneurial endeavors including a book and an e-commerce business.Ben Kaufman, the founder and illuminator of Mophie (http://www.mophie.com(link is external)), a company that focuses on the development of innovative accessories for the digital lifestyle accessory market–including popular iPod accessories.Justine Macris, a Business major and founder of Crash Technologies, which is a service business that extracts stored data from the ‘event data recorder’ in a cars airbag module.And Jason Nikel, a Multimedia and Graphics Design major and founder of Third Shift Clothing–his own line of clothing and hats, sold in Burlington retail stores and online (http://www.myspace.com/thirdshiftclothing(link is external)).Through the BYOBiz program, Champlain College is actively recruiting undergraduates who will bring their existing businesses or business plans to college and propel them forward. “This approach is based on the premise that most entrepreneurs begin their pattern of business creation at a young age,” said Champlain College President David F. Finney. “BYOBiz will encourage and support emerging entrepreneurs with educational and real-world business resources.”Each fall, student entrepreneurs will be accepted to the selective program and each student will be surrounded by a ‘board of advisers,’ a team that will act as a sounding board for their business plans and challenges. Champlain’s program is open to students in all majors and its multifaceted offerings will include: a selection of business-building courses; internship credits for work done to advance their businesses; and access to financial, strategic and marketing experts and established entrepreneurs.The program will include a speaker series, a new entrepreneur club and, ultimately, space where participants can meet to work on their growing businesses.Founded in 1878, Champlain College is a private, baccalaureate institution that offers professionally focused programs in Burlington, Vermont. www.champlain.edu(link is external).last_img read more

Monthly tax revenues close to lowered expectations

hkogxxrep

first_imgVermont’s General Fund, transportation and education tax revenues were nearly on par with recently lowered expectations. Today, Secretary of Administration Neale F Lunderville released the revenue results for the month of April, the tenth month of Fiscal Year 2009. The fiscal year ends June 30. General Fund revenues fell slightly below the recently revised target for the month as compared to the consensus revenue target approved on April 24, 2009. The General Fund revenues of $133.03 million (-$0.08 million, -0.6%) for the month of April 2009 were essentially on target against the recently revised forecast of $133.83 million. Year-to-date, General Fund revenues of $938.17 million (-$0.8 million, -0.08%) were essentially on target. Although the General Fund results for the month of April were essentially on target, this was the result of the target being reduced, rather than the revenues stabilizing. We must not lose sight of the fact that the monthly General Fund revenue receipts for April 2009 were -$60.53 million or -31.3% below the results for the same month in the prior year (April 2008). Despite the fact that the revenues held against target, the economic indicators remain negative, although we may not see a further slide for the remainder of FY 2009, said Secretary Lunderville.The monthly targets reflect the most recent FY 2009 consensus revenue forecast that was agreed to by the Emergency Board on April 24, 2009. The state s consensus revenue forecast is normally updated two times per year in January and July. However, with the downturn in the national and regional economy, the Emergency Board has been scheduling interim revenue reviews. The next consensus forecast is scheduled to be reviewed by the Emergency Board on July 16, 2009.Personal Income Tax receipts are the largest single state revenue source, and are reported Net of Personal Income Tax refunds. Different types of Personal Income Tax (PI) payments and refunds are included in this category such as: PI Withheld, PI Estimates, PI Refunds, PI Paid Returns, and PI Other . Net Personal Income Tax Receipts for April were mixed, with Withholding, Estimates, and Paid Returns falling below the monthly target, while PI Paid Returns and Other exceeded target. The Net Personal Income Tax results of $90.26 million were -$1.09 million or -1.19% below the April target of $91.34 million. Year-to-date, the net Personal Income Tax results of $459.41 million were -$1.09 million or -0.24% below the target of $460.50 million.Corporate Tax receipts are also reported net of refunds. Corporate Income Tax revenue results for April were $9.03 million vs. the monthly target of $7.31 million, or +$1.72 million (+23.47%) above target for the month. Year-to-date, Corporate Income Tax receipts of $53.01 million were +$1.72 million or +3.35% above the target of $51.30 million.For the month, receipts for the consumption taxes (Sales & Use Tax and Meals & Rooms Tax) were slightly below target. Sales & Use Tax receipts of $16.63 million fell below target by -$0.23 million or -1.34%, and Rooms & Meals Tax receipts of $8.96 million fell short of the target by -$0.41 million or -4.36%. Year-to-date, Sales & Use Tax was $183.19 million (-$0.23 million, -0.12%) and Rooms & Meals Tax receipts were $101.95 million (-$0.41 million, -0.40%).The remaining components of the General Fund revenue were below target for the month, except Other . The non-major tax component results for the month were: Insurance Premium, -$0.25 million (-$0.38 million, -300.83%)*; Inheritance/Estate Tax, $0.48 million (-$0.08 million, -14.40%); Real Property Transfer Tax $0.45 million (-$0.12 million, -20.72%); and Other, $7.48 million (-$0.22 million, -2.80%). Year-to-date results for these components were: Insurance Premium, $46.53 million (-0.81%); Inheritance/Estate Tax, $8.06 million (-0.98%); Real Property Transfer Tax, $7.40 million (-1.58%); and Other , $78.62 (-0.27%).[*Note: Since closing the month of April, a $300,000 error was identified in Insurance Premiums receipts; the error will be corrected in May. Adjusting for the error in Insurance premiums, the results for April would have been -61% below target rather than the -300% as reported.]Transportation FundSecretary Lunderville also released the non-dedicated Transportation Fund revenue results today. Transportation Fund receipts for the month were $17.43 million, barely below the recently reduced forecast (-$0.08 or -0.44%) below the April target of $17.50 million. Year-to-date, the Transportation Fund revenues of $162.69 million were only -0.05% below target. As was the case with the General Fund results, the April Transportation Fund receipts were well below the prior year results for the month (-$2.31 million, -11.7%).The results for the Transportation Fund revenue components were at or above target with the exception of the Gasoline Tax, the only component that fell significantly below target. Diesel Fuel Tax, Motor Vehicle Fees, and Other were above target and Motor Vehicle Purchase & Use Tax was on target for the month. The components of the Transportation Fund revenue for the month were: Gasoline Tax, $4.08 million (-16.32%); Diesel Tax, $1.30 million (+20.40%); Motor Vehicle Purchase & Use Tax, $4.00 million (+0.07%); Motor Vehicle Fees, $6.57 million (+5.96%); and Other , $1.47 million (+9.89%). Year-to-date, the Transportation Fund revenue components for April were: Gasoline Tax, $50.22 million (-1.56%); Diesel Tax, $12.35 million (+1.81%); Motor Vehicle Purchase & Use Tax, $34.69 million (-0.01%); Motor Vehicle Fees, $51.08 million (+0.73%); and Other , $14.35 million (+0.93%).Education FundNon-Property Tax Education Fund revenue receipts of $12.01 million were released by Secretary Lunderville today; these receipts are -$0.16 million (-1.33%) below the April monthly target of $12.18 million. Non-Property Tax Education Fund revenues constitute approximately 12% of the total Education Fund receipts. Year-to-date, non-Property Tax Education Fund revenues were $124.63 million or -$0.16 million (-0.13%).The results for the components of the non-Property Tax Education revenue for April: Sales & Use Tax, $8.32 million (-1.34%); Motor Vehicle Purchase & Use, $2.00 million (-0.07%); Lottery Transfer, $1.68 million (-0.60%); and Investment Income, $0.01 (-76.25%). Year-to-date results were: Sales & Use Tax, $91.59 million (-0.12%); Motor Vehicle Purchase & Use, $17.35 million (-0.01%); Lottery Transfer, $15.45 million (-0.07%); and Investment Income, $024 million (-13.44%).ConclusionSecretary Lunderville said that, The April revenue results seem to indicate that we may be able to come in at or near the revised revenue target for FY 2009. While we continue to see declines in housing and auto sales, and the unemployment rate continues to increase, the rate at which unemployment claims were rising moderated somewhat in March. We are awaiting the unemployment results for April. However, there is still no clear indication of where the bottom of this recession may be for Vermont. AttachmentSize April 2009 Revenue Results Press Release 05 18 09.pdf37.2 KBlast_img read more

Vermont bad mortgages remain relatively low

eksxhitmg

first_imgThe number of Us foreclosures is up more than 9 percent in the last year, though delinguecy rates over the last year and the latest month are down. Vermont remains among those states with the fewest bad mortgages.Lender Processing Services, Inc. (NYSE: LPS), a leading provider of integrated technology, data and analytics to the mortgage and real estate industries, reports the following “first look” at October 2011 month-end mortgage performance statistics derived from its loan-level database of nearly 40 million mortgage loans.Total U.S. loan delinquency rate (loans 30 or more days past due, but not in foreclosure): 7.93%Month-over-month change in delinquency rate: -2.0%Year-over-year change in delinquency rate: -14.6%Total U.S foreclosure pre-sale inventory rate: 4.29%Month-over-month change in foreclosure presale inventory rate: 2.5%Year-over-year change in foreclosure presale inventory rate: 9.4%Number of properties that are 30 or more days past due, but not in foreclosure: (A) 4,088,000Number of properties that are 90 or more days delinquent, but not in foreclosure: 1,759,000Number of properties in foreclosure pre-sale inventory: (B) 2,210,000Number of properties that are 30 or more days delinquent or in foreclosure: (A+B) 6,298,000States with highest percentage of non-current* loans: FL, MS, NV, NJ, ILStates with the lowest percentage of non-current* loans: MT, WY, SD, AK, ND*Non-current totals combine foreclosures and delinquencies as a percent of active loans in that state.Notes: (1) Totals are extrapolated based on LPS Applied Analytics’ loan-level database of mortgage assets (2) All whole numbers are rounded to the nearest thousand The company will provide a more in-depth review of this data in its monthly Mortgage Monitor report, which includes an analysis of data supplemented by in-depth charts and graphs that reflect trend and point-in-time observations. The Mortgage Monitor report will be available on LPS’ website, http://www.lpsvcs.com/NEWSROOM/INDUSTRYDATA/Pages/default.aspx(link is external), by Nov. 30, 2011. For more information about gaining access to LPS’ loan-level database, please send an email to LPSAAsales@lpsvcs.com(link sends e-mail).About Lender Processing Services Lender Processing Services, Inc. (LPS) is a leading provider of integrated technology, services and mortgage performance data and analytics, to the mortgage and real estate industries. LPS offers solutions that span the mortgage continuum, including lead generation, origination, servicing, workflow automation (Desktop(R)), portfolio retention and default, augmented by the company’s award-winning customer support and professional services. Approximately 50 percent of all U.S. mortgages by dollar volume are serviced using LPS’ Mortgage Servicing Package (MSP). LPS also offers proprietary mortgage and real estate data and analytics for the mortgage and capital markets industries. For more information about LPS, visit www.lpsvcs.com(link is external).  JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – November 18, 2011 – Lender Processing Services, Inc.last_img read more

Rutland’s Gift-of-Life Marathon blood drive second highest ever nationally

crnksrcbu

first_imgVermonters of all walks of life turned out for the ninth-annual Gift-of-Life Marathon today, donating 1,855 pints of blood but missing the national one-day community blood drive record of 1,968 pints. ‘It was an extraordinary day and an amazing display of community spirit and determination,’ said Central Vermont Public Service spokesman Steve Costello, one of the organizers.  ‘The national record didn’t fall, but this was the largest per-capita blood drive in US history, the second-largest ever, and the region should be proud of what it accomplished.’ Organizers from CVPS, WJJR and the American Red Cross set their sights on the record within days of it being set, and amped up recruiting to high school and colleges students and residents of the towns surrounding Rutland.  On Tuesday, students and senior citizens, blue and white collar workers and local residents and visitors alike poured into the Paramount Theatre, American Legion Post 31, and the College of St. Joseph gymnasium throughout the day Tuesday for a run at the national mark set this fall in Manchester, NH. Hundreds of Red Cross employees and volunteers from across Rutland County ushered them through the process, fed them a hearty meal, and sent them on their way with gift bags stuffed with dozens of items from local businesses and non-profits. ‘I am so proud of the greater Rutland community,’ said Terry Jaye, program manager at WJJR and Catamount Radio.  ‘We collected around 1,800 pints in a city of about 16,000 people, which says so much about the determination and kinship of the people in this region.’ Jaye’s radio partner, Nanci Gordon, said the event demonstrated strength of character few communities could match. ‘From the businesses that donated 2,500 gift bags items each to the dozens that gave employees time off to donate, provided in-kind donations or helped promote the drive, it took a collaboration of literally hundreds of people to make this happen,’  Gordon said.  ‘The camaraderie and spirit of cooperation demonstrated today is even more important than the goal of breaking the record.’ The Gift-of-Life Marathon began in 2003, when the Red Cross asked CVPS to host a third annual employee blood drive due to shrinking supplies.  CVPS countered with the idea of a mega-drive, and partnered with Jaye, Gordon and WJJR to promote it.  The first drive collected 368 pints; the last three broke the New England record, beating Boston each time.  This year, all five Catamount Radio stations broadcast live from the drive. ‘We never dreamed the drive would become such a rallying post for the community,’ Costello said.  ‘It has become an annual symbol of the good in Rutland and Rutland County, and one of the most collaborative efforts anywhere. CVPS 12.20.2011last_img read more

Weekend Pick: Ski Resorts are Open, So Get to Shredding!

bzqtuqakw

first_imgAround here, as soon as the first leaves start to turn, then drop from the trees we have only one thing in mind: shredding. While it is true that shredding dirt on a mountain bike or taking a long hike is still a great way to enjoy the crisp autumn weather, winter is always in the back of the mind, nagging you to check your gear and break out the goggles. Once the trees are bare, their bounty littered across the ground perfect for schooshing and daydreaming the drifts of leaves are drifts of snow, that old feeling begins to come back.Once the first snow of the season arrives, the anticipation really heats up. Can you feel it heating up right now?The Blue Ridge saw its first significant snowfall this past week, with the mountains of North Carolina receiving a few inches. Combined with a drop in temperatures that allowed resorts to blow copious amounts of snow in a short period of time, a few slopes were opened to the public. It may only be mid-November, but ski season has officially arrived. Sugar Mountain officially opened on Wednesday, November 13th running one lift and two slopes and Cataloochee Ski Area opens today November 14th with six runs from mid-station and three lifts. Cataloochee also offers a One Run, We Refund deal where if you are not satisfied after taking one run, they will refund your lift ticket purchase. So really, there is no excuse not to hit the slopes this weekend.While this may not sound like much in the way of skiable terrain, it is a great sign of the winter to come. Early snow and cold temperatures will help keep snow on the slopes through the winter and into the spring. Plus, it is a smart idea to ease into the season with a few casual laps before going bell to bell and getting as much vert as possible. Early season is the time to get the ski legs back underneath you, not push the limits of your ability.So, there you have it folks, ski resorts open in North Carolina this weekend, so it’s time to shred.View Cataloochee Ski Area in a larger maplast_img read more

Beans, Bikes, and a Bald Guy

xyyxmympt

first_img“That coffee you’re drinking? The guy who grew that got shot in the head last week.”The couple casually sipping on their just-purchased cup of joe pause, unsure of how to react to the bald man standing before them. Is he joking? Is he serious? For a moment, the four of us stand on the front porch of Bald Guy Brew with only the sound of cars idling through downtown Valle Crucis, N.C., to break the silence. The woman nervously laughs and takes another sip.“What’s in your cup matters,” he continues, patting a sack of unroasted Mexican coffee beans that has just arrived. Considering the blunt delivery of his message, the couple recovers surprisingly well and begins to ask questions to the bald guy.That bald guy is the Bald Guy of Bald Guy Brew Roasting Company. His name is Don Cox, and he’s just about as complex of an individual as the third-world coffees he roasts in his little shop in western North Carolina. An Appalachian State University alumnus, carpenter, priest, aspiring cyclist, and “grunt” of Bald Guy Brew, Cox’s diverse array of life experiences and interests can be seen in every corner of the coffee shop.Framed photographs of Rwandan refugees adorn the walls, bike jerseys hang off the handlebars of Cox’s commuter ride, and a stack of coffee sacks from around the globe sit in a chest-deep pile by the main roaster, Lucille.“She’s got a nice groove, like B.B. King’s guitar,” Cox says, nodding toward the roasting machine that’s loudly churning freshly roasted coffee beans.The machine isn’t tucked away in some back room of the coffee shop. Instead, Cox has it on display so customers can see the roasting process, from green coffee bean to delicious caffeinated beverage. Cox’s wife Shannon is a schoolteacher, so he’s well versed in the ways of education. There’s a story behind every photograph, a lesson in each empty sack of coffee, but his main platform for helping educate others on “what’s in your cup,” is his bike.“I’m not a cyclist,” Cox says. “I’ve fallen off my bike more than I’ve ever ridden it. Plus, a bald guy in spandex…bad.”Don’t let his modesty fool you. Cox has spent his fair share of hours in the saddle. After diving into the coffee growing industry during a three-year stint in Mexico, Cox was invited to work with genocide survivors in Rwanda where he came up with the Beans for Bikes initiative. In the spring of 2011, Cox hopped on a bike in Wrightsville Beach, N.C., and pedaled his way home to Boone with 100 pounds of Rwandan coffee on board. His mission? For every mile he rode, a backer would pledge $1 to the initiative to help fund the production of bikes for coffee growers in Rwanda.“It was amazing…that I made it,” Cox says laughing. “I helped raise over $5,000. I think I was younger and dumber. But, now I’m older and dumber so I’m going to do it again.”This fall, Cox plans to hop back on the bike and reverse his trip, this time pedaling to Wrightsville Beach from Boone with 100lbs of Costa Rican coffee. The goal now is to raise funds to create a research and development farm in Costa Rica. The farm will serve as an educational project to help coffee growers, which will in turn create a standard to open up the doors for market access. If you’ve ever wondered what “fair trade” really means, this is it.“We exist to empower coffee growing communities rather than exploit them,” Cox says. “Coffee has to be doing good things for us and it has to be good. So if it’s good, and it’s doing good, it’s kind of a win.”Since starting his business in 2011, Cox has made every effort to provide eco-friendly, socially responsible, artisanal coffee. From the bio-fueled, solar-powered Dodge Sprinter van where Bald Guy Brew began to the 4,500 pounds of coffee beans that have now been distributed to wholesale clients entirely by bike (3,800 of those by Cox himself), this bald guy doesn’t just talk the talk – he rides it too.“Why do I ride bikes to promote Bald Guy’s mission of doing good? It’s because if I walk carrying coffee it will take too long,” he says. “I think small businesses can make a difference without having a lot of money. You have to be who you say you are and do what you say.”It’s a lot easier said than done. From coffee shareholder politics to clogging up the injectors of his van while trying to make his own biofuel, Cox has built his business from the ground up, largely through trial and error.“I have a 9-year-old and a 12-year-old who were six and nine during that Beans for Bikes ride,” Cox says. “They saw their old man humpin’ up a mountain on a bike with a bunch of coffee trying to make a difference in the world. I just want my boys to know that there’s another way to live. We don’t have the ability to write fat checks, but I have a bike.”last_img read more

Eleven Colombians Claimed for Extradition to the United States are Arrested

athhqxkjr

first_imgBy Dialogo June 01, 2009 Bogota, 29 May (EFE). – Colombian authorities arrested for drug trafficking activities eleven alleged members of a money laundering network who are claimed for extradition by the United States, the Attorney General’s Office reported today. The arrestees were linked to the “Comba” or “Combatiente” drug trafficking ring, led by “Luis Enrique Calle Serna” (alias), said the judge, noting that the eleven are accused of laundering $100 million. Calle, one of the five most wanted drug traffickers in Colombia, succeeded Wilber Varela (“Jabón”), who was murdered over a year ago in Venezuela, as leader of a drug trafficking ring in the southwest of the country. The group wanted for extradition is composed of two women and nine men, who were arrested on Thursday during a raid by the prosecution which was supported by the Department of Administrative Security (DAS, state). The prosecution said in a statement that members of this money laundering network “used the black market, physically transported money, and made wire transfers to multiple accounts in United States, Europe, Central America, Canada, and Mexico.” The eleven are sought for extradition by the District Court of Georgia (USA).last_img read more

USNS Comfort Completes Humanitarian Mission

crnksrcbu

first_imgBy Dialogo September 12, 2011 The hospital ship delivered medical, dental, veterinary and engineering assistance in the Caribbean Basin, Central America and South America. “First and foremost (the mission) demonstrates the United States’ commitment to the Caribbean Basin and Central and South America,” Navy Capt. Brian Nickerson, Continuing Promise mission commander, said. From April through September, members of Continuing Promise 2011 provided medical services in surgery, neurology, emergency medicine, orthopedics, anesthesiology, dentistry, family medicine, pediatrics, preventive medicine, diagnostics and veterinarian support. Doctors and staff saw nearly 70,000 patients and performed more than 1,100 surgeries in nine countries: Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haití, Jamaica, Nicaragua and Peru. The crew’s doctors came from the Navy, Army, Air Force and U.S. Public Health Service. Also onboard were civilian marines, nongovernment organization volunteers and partner-nation military members. The USNS Comfort, at 894-feet long, is three football fields long and one wide, with 250 hospital beds and an 850-person team. Comfort arrived at its final mission stop in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on August 18. There, the ship’s crew treated about 1,450 patients and performed 15 surgeries before Tropical Storm Irene began to bear down on the island. “The relationships forged through operations like Continuing Promise fosters trust, collaboration, and cooperation with our friends and allies,” Nickerson said.last_img read more

LAAD 2012 Seeks New Proposals for Security

rzodwnnlq

first_imgBy Dialogo April 13, 2012 The event aims to provide a favorable atmosphere for discussion about a new vision for the security sector, according to which the participation of society and integration between the public and corporate sectors are increasingly becoming strategic factors in defining the guidelines to be followed. As a result, the program anticipates, besides the exhibition, that the 2nd LAAD Security Seminar will be held simultaneously. I find interesting the LAAD 2012 event and I would like to have access,through your magazine, if possible, to the discussions and resolutions of the plenary, especially those regarding the corporate security policies. Is there a website or electronic mail where I can cotact the organizers or directors of the LAAD event? Thanks and congratulations on the magazine The trade show, restricted to professionals in the sector and invited guests, will present the technical and scientific production and technological training offered by companies from all over the world, representing the main developers of cutting-edge solutions in a variety of segments, such as weaponry, communications systems, command-and-control systems, specialized vehicles, engineering, and services, among others. Over 150 companies, from 13 countries – China, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Holland, Israel, Italy, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Spain, and the United States – in addition to Brazil, have already confirmed their attendance. The issue of security, one of the pillars of the current federal administration and a topic increasingly present in Brazilian daily life, is winning a new space for debate and the presentation of solutions. Over 10,000 visitors are expected, including official delegations from Latin America, public-safety authorities from Brazil, security managers for large corporations, and providers of services and critical infrastructure. During the event, plenary meetings of the national councils that gather the authorities in the sector will be held. Between April 10 and 12, public agencies, businesses, and security specialists will gather in Riocentro, Rio de Janeiro, for LAAD (Latin America Aerospace and Defense) 2012 – Defense and Security International Exhibition. last_img read more

Anti-Drug Summit Brings Together Delegations from 59 Countries in Peru

bzqtuqakw

first_imgBy Dialogo June 26, 2012 On June 25 and 26, Lima welcomed representatives from 59 countries to debate strategies against drug trafficking in a region where the world’s largest cocaine producers are found. The event in Peru took place as the demand is growing on the part of several Latin American Governments for a comprehensive reform of the anti-drug strategy promoted by the United States for two decades, prioritizing repression. Peruvian President Ollanta Humala inaugurated the meeting, which was held behind closed doors in Lima and was attended by foreign ministers and delegations from 59 countries from five continents and representatives of ten international organizations. Peru’s top anti-drug official, Carmen Masías, the head of the Commission for Development and Life without Drugs, said prior to the conference that it would address the topic of reducing illegal drug use and the responsibility to be assigned to producing and consuming countries. The summit was attended by the secretary general of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, who participated during the second day in a consultative meeting with the foreign ministers and heads of anti-drug offices of the hemispheric organization’s member countries. Washington, D.C., was represented by the top officials responsible for the fight against drugs in that country, State Department anti-drug official William Brownfield and Office of National Drug Control Policy director Gil Kerlikowske. According to Ricardo Soberón, the top anti-drug official in the first months of Humala’s administration, the panorama “is in major upheaval with countries that want reform; in effect, Mexico, Colombia, and Guatemala are proposing it, Argentina and Uruguay are changing their legislation, Ecuador and Venezuela have completely modified their criminal legislation.” Peru is going “against the current of the hemispheric trends that are calling for an evaluation of the results of the war on drugs, which has led to many deaths in the region,” he added. During the summit, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency presented a report that ranked Peru as the largest cocaine producer, in the view of Hugo Cabieses, a former deputy environment minister and an expert on drugs. Peru tops the list of cocaine producers even according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, which together with the U.S. State Department estimates its annual cocaine production at around 320 tons. That calculation is questioned by former drug czar Soberón, according to whom the figure is believed to fluctuate between 150 and 200 tons a year.last_img read more