Guerrillas Have Doubled Their Firepower, Peruvian Army Says

first_imgBy Dialogo May 04, 2009 The Shining Path guerrilla group has doubled its firepower, acquiring sophisticated arms and gaining the ability to shoot down helicopters, the La Republica newspaper reported over the weekend, citing military intelligence sources. Guerrillas operating in the Valley of the Apurimac and Ene rivers, or VRAE region, a jungle area in southern and southeastern Peru that has a strong presence of the group’s remnants and drug traffickers, have two rocket launchers, a grenade launcher and several heavy machine guns, including one capable of firing 1,000 rounds per minute. The guerrillas also have as many as 99 assault rifles. The vast majority of the arsenal belonging to the Shining Path, which is led in the VRAE by “Comrade Jose,” was taken from dead soldiers in combat. The guerrillas have “two other ways of supplying themselves: the organized crime groups that steal arms from the army and drug traffickers,” military sources told the newspaper. The story published Sunday in La Republica came out two days after the government relieved the police chief in the VRAE, Percy Rivera Paiva, of command for negligence. Rivera Paiva sent about 100 firearms and thousands of rounds of ammunition to the VRAE in an unguarded bus, officials said. The incident raised suspicions about possible arms trafficking, but the government said only negligence was involved in the Rivera Paiva case. A military report on last Tuesday’s attack on the helicopter carrying armed forces chief Gen. Francisco Contreras concluded that Shining Path guerrillas fired RPG-7s at the aircraft. Some experts, however, told La Republica that the guerrillas had not yet mastered the Russian-made weapon. Shining Path members apparently “just started practicing with the RPG-7, trying to imitate the Afghan mujahideen, who shot down several helicopters with these grenade launchers,” military sources told La Republica. Since August, the armed forces have been making an aggressive push in the VRAE region in an effort to gain control of Vizcatan, considered the last bastion of the Shining Path. The Shining Path has responded by increasing its activities in Vizcatan in recent months. Two weeks ago, the Shining Path claimed responsibility for two ambushes near the town of Sanabamba in which 14 soldiers died. The ambushes staged on April 9 were some of the deadliest attacks launched in recent months by the Shining Path. Last October, the guerrillas killed 15 people, including 13 soldiers, in a remote coca-growing region in the Andean province of Huancavelica. The Shining Path and its role in drug trafficking have been blamed for a rise in violence in the interior of Peru. The Maoist-inspired group launched its uprising on May 17, 1980, with an attack on Chuschi, a small town in Ayacucho province. A truth commission appointed by former President Alejandro Toledo blamed the Shining Path for most of the nearly 70,000 deaths the panel ascribed to politically motivated violence during the two decades following the group’s 1980 uprising. The guerrilla group also caused an estimated $25 billion in economic losses, according to commission estimates. Founder and leader Abimael Guzman, known to his fanatic followers as “President Gonzalo,” was captured with his top lieutenants on Sept. 12, 1992, an event that signified the “defeat” of the insurgency. Since then, isolated guerrilla bands have engaged in sporadic and largely ineffective activity in a few regions.last_img read more

The important partnership between credit unions and small businesses

first_img 12SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Curt Long Curt Long was named director of research and chief economist in August 2014. In this role, he serves as the association’s chief economic analyst, conducting economic and financial policy … Web: Details Since the inception of the credit union industry, there has been a connection between credit unions and small businesses. Both institutions were founded on helping local communities and working towards providing valuable services and products to Main Street consumers. A lot of credit unions are small businesses solely serving the needs of their local community. As the credit union industry continues to grow, so does their lending portfolio, especially regarding member business lending. Even though credit unions face regulatory limitations, small businesses still prefer the personalized member-lending experience credit unions offer. Over the past 10 years, the number of credit unions offering business loans has increased 20 percent. Today, a small business can get a loan at more than 2,000 credit unions. For 18 percent of credit unions, business loans make up at least 5 percent of their total loan portfolio. A decade ago that figure was just 8 percent.That growth stands in stark contrast to recent trends at other financial institutions, and speaks to credit unions’ increasing role in funding America’s small businesses. Since 2007, total business loans extended by credit unions have tripled. Banks, on the other hand, have cut their outstanding loans to small businesses 8 percent over that same time. The Federal Reserve’s triennial Survey of Consumer Finances shows a similar rise in the importance of credit unions to small businesses. The share of household business owners that used credit unions to start or acquire their business grew from 2.4 percent in 2010 to 6.3 percent in 2016.All this growth has taken place amid the backdrop of a severe decline in business dynamism. Startups are becoming rarer, and consolidation is a feature of many industries. The U.S. Census Bureau has two sources of data related to business dynamism. The Business Dynamics Statistics (BDS) database provides annual data on startups as a share of total businesses through 2015. The bureau’s Business Formation Statistics (BFS) is a recently released database with more current quarterly estimates of startup activity. The chart below shows both datasets, and each confirms a sizable drop in business formations around the mid-2000s. While the national picture may not be pretty, the BFS data, just unveiled in February, allow us to take a closer look. The map below shows per capita startups in 2017 by state. The most vibrant states have formation rates that are twice as high as the weakest ones. But is there any hope for a turnaround? Policymakers have taken note. Former Fed Chair Janet Yellen, observing the decline in business formations, stated that it could lead to lower productivity, wage growth, and employment, along with increased income inequality. Those sentiments were echoed by the Congressional Joint Economic Committee’s 2018 Annual Report, which focused its discussion of the weak economic recovery on the decline in business formations. The committee’s top recommendation was to reduce regulatory burden on small businesses.The good news for credit unions is that even if the status quo persists, they have proven that they can operate successful business lending programs in such an environment. And if policymakers do create more favorable conditions for startups, credit unions would be well positioned to capitalize.          Business Formations per 1,000 People (2017)last_img read more