By Julieta Pelcastre/Diálogo August 03, 2018 The Guatemalan Navy, with the support of the U.S. Marine Corpsy, trained a naval component in the Advanced Marine Course in Puerto Barrios, Izabal, throughout May 2018. The objective of the course was to improve the response capabilities of the Guatemalan Marines to conduct operations in various environments. “We thank the U.S. government for contributing to the training of our marines,” Captain Erick Roberto Orellana, second commander of the Guatemalan Marine Brigade, told Diálogo. “It helped us strengthen our skills and capabilities to fulfill our amphibious and riverine missions in coastal areas.” Soldiers of steel The training consisted of high-performance tactical phases in areas such as urban operations, water combat, use of support weapons, as well as incursion and amphibious landing techniques in waters 1 kilometer off the coast. “Soldiers have to bear the weight of their own body, plus the weight of all the equipment and weapons,” said Capt. Orellana. “It’s hard, because it’s twice the effort to get to shore without sinking or drowning and without being noticed.” With the support of U.S. service members, Guatemalan troops learned to take position in a war ship. They received specific combat training to respond to an ambush or enemy fire, and trained with modern physical conditioning techniques. U.S. service members also provided operational advice to naval and land officers of the Guatemalan Marine Brigade. The Advanced Marine Course demands physical and mental strength, and not every candidate is able to complete the course and graduate. “Out of 80 students accepted, only 25 passed the course,” said Capt. Orellana. “We don’t want supermen; we seek to train elements that will contribute to maintaining the defense of sovereignty and deliver maximum results in the fight against national and international criminal organizations.” Integrated cooperation The Guatemalan Marine Brigade contributes to the development of joint and combined military operations against any threat to the general public. According to the Guatemalan Ministry of Defense, the unit seeks to be the best-trained strategic brigade in the country to conduct operations in coastal, riverine, amphibious, and special environments. Collaboration with the armed forces of the Western Hemisphere allows Guatemalan Armed Forces to improve their sea, air, and land defense. The U.S. Department of State, in its 2018 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, estimates that about 1,400 tons of cocaine were smuggled through the country in 2017, most was destined for the U.S market. “Integrated cooperation with the U.S., Colombian, Mexican, and Chilean governments allows us to be trained, improve our own doctrine, and apply it in our fields to attain the best outcome in an operation, and make completion of tasks more dynamic,” Navy Lieutenant Eduardo Antonio Carmona, chief of the Naval Training Center of the Guatemalan Marine Forces, told Diálogo. “We have a more technical training with the U.S. military, while we focus more on the military’s own capabilities when we work with Latin American forces. “Sometimes equipment or resources are inadequate, but marines are trained to complete assigned tasks with available resources. Marines know and trust they can fulfill their mission quickly and effectively, no matter how good their weapons or boots are.” The Guatemalan Marine Brigade has receives tactical and physical training from the United States since 2013. According to Lt. Carmona, a total of 540 marines have been trained by way of the advanced course. “Thanks to this cooperation we seized a huge amount of drugs in the last three years,” Capt. Orellana concluded. U.S. Marine Corps amphibious troops will offer two more courses in 2018.
Religious Affairs Minister Fachrul Razi found himself in hot water during a hearing with the House of Representatives on Thursday, as lawmakers on Commission VIII overseeing religious affairs criticized him for not consulting with the House before deciding to cancel the 2020 haj pilgrimage over coronavirus concerns.The minister announced earlier this month that Indonesia would prevent haj departures to Saudi Arabia this year, a decision that affected hundreds of thousands of would-be pilgrims in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation. Indonesia has the largest haj pilgrim quota of any country. John Kennedy Azis of the Golkar Party – a political party in President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s ruling coalition – questioned Fachrul’s sudden announcement of the policy on June 2, saying there had been no pressure for the central government to announce it immediately without consulting the legislative body.”There was no external pressure that we would be fined if we didn’t decide [on haj departures] quickly. Why couldn’t you wait for just two days? Why so sudden?” John said, referring to a planned House hearing with the government on the matter scheduled for June 4.The COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with Saudi Arabia’s indefinite suspension of haj and umrah (minor haj), were cited as reasons behind the government’s decision to cancel this year’s haj departure. Fachrul previously said the conditions had left the government without enough time to prepare visas and protective measures.Indonesia initially planned to send about 221,000 people on the annual pilgrimage, and nearly 180,000 people had already paid for the journey, Religious Affairs Ministry data shows. The government said the pilgrims would be placed on next year’s haj. Read also: Religious affairs minister to lobby Saudi Arabian government for bigger 2021 haj quotaFachrul said at the time of the cancellation that he had communicated with the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) and the House regarding the cancellation, but some lawmakers quickly fired back, saying he had not done so.John said to Fachrul – a retired military general – that he had made numerous controversial moves as a minister.The politician cited his past controversial support of a ban on the niqab in government compounds – a statement that Fachrul later backtracked from – and his past announcement of a plan to repatriate 689 people who had joined the Islamic State (IS) movement in the Middle East.He warned Fachrul that the House could use its interpellation and inquiry rights against him or could write a letter to the President if he continued his controversies. “Don’t underestimate us at the House […] This should be the last [controversial move].”John also highlighted a plan floated by Aceh to get their own, separate haj quota. The provincial administration was reportedly considering issuing a qanun (regulation) on the matter based on Law No. 44/1999 on Aceh’s special autonomy.”Regions are trying to apply for haj quotas themselves. If that happens, then where’s the government?” he said.Read also: Plan to ban niqab in government offices stirs controversyMuhammad Husni of the Gerindra Party said Fachrul had violated Law No. 8/2019 on the haj and umrah, which stipulated that matters related to haj funds should not be decided unilaterally by the government but should include the House.”Logically speaking, we should decide on the cancellation together. The Minister said that he had coordinated with House Commission VIII but we never knew that,” Husni said.In response to the criticism, Fachrul apologized to the lawmakers during Thursday’s hearing, saying the cancellation decision was not made by his ministry but by himself as a minister.”I personally apologize to the leaders and all members of the House Commission VIII for this incident,” said Fachrul.The minister explained that at that time, he felt obliged to announce the cancellation as soon as possible because it had exceeded the June 1 deadline for the government to announce the year’s haj departure date.Indonesia initially expected Saudi Arabia to announce its final decision on the haj pilgrimage – which attracts millions of Muslims annually from around the world – on May 13. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has plunged the 2020 haj into doubt as Saudi authorities have yet to announce any decision about whether they will accept haj pilgrims this year.”We needed to quickly give certainty to the pilgrims who had been waiting for the announcement,” he said.Topics :
July 14, 2018 Police Blotter071418 Decatur County Jail Report071418 Decatur County EMS Report071418 Decatur County Fire Report071418 Decatur County Law Report071418 Batesville Police Blotter
National fast food chain Chick-fil-A is setting things straight, after company officials sent a promotional email last week welcoming customers to their stores on National Sandwich Day.Sounds fine, right? Well, not in this case.The problem is that the so-called “national holiday” falls on November 3, which of course is on a Sunday this year.The chain is closed on Sundays.That realization led the company to send a follow-up email with the subject line, “Well … this is awkward.”The follow-up message states, “We recently sent an email that included a message about National Sandwich Day, which naturally we were very excited about. We didn’t realize it falls on Sunday when we are closed. We apologize for the confusion and hope to see you soon (Monday-Saturday).”On a related note, competitor Popeyes used the occasion to announce that its popular chicken sandwich, which sold out weeks earlier than expected last summer, would make its return on Sunday.Popeyes officials took a jab at Chick-fil-A in a recent social media video, which says that Popeyes is “always open seven days a week.”
(Washington D.C.) — Jurors are beginning deliberations to decide whether Broward resident, Roger Stone lied to Congress.The case went to the jury Wednesday after prosecutors and attorneys for the Republican operative gave their closing arguments.Stone faces seven charges over what he might have known about the release of Democratic campaign information by WikiLeaks during the 2016 presidential campaign.Stone, who did not take the stand in his own defense, is charged with witness tampering, obstruction of justice and lying to Congress.The 67-year-old Trump ally could face prison time if convicted. Stone has denied knowing about the WikiLeaks’ releases ahead of time and he has pleaded not guilty.Stone was arrested by heavily armed SWAT agents at his home in Broward County. The raid scared his wife who is hard of hearing. The raid was captured by CNN’s camera crew who happened to be on the scene at the time of the take down.
About 40 employees at Jupiter Medical Center received treatment for scabies in recent days, the facility announced Thursday.According to a hospital spokesperson, a critical care cancer patient was admitted to the facility last month and was identified as having scabies while being treated.The hospital says it is now past the peak of the outbreak, and the original patient is no longer at the hospital.The case was also reported to the Florida Department of Health on Thursday. It was apparently isolated to that one patient and one unit of the center, which has since been decontaminated, the hospital says.Scabies is a contagious skin condition caused by a microscopic mite. Symptoms may include itching, a rash and sores.“Jupiter Medical Center is closely working with the Department of Health and is following recommended scabies treatments outlined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” a statement reads. It continues, “Jupiter Medical Center is proud of our patient safety record and overall five-star national quality rating from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.”
They then went to another store where they attempted to purchase several other items but the victim’s cards declined.Authorities are now asking for the public’s help in identifying the women. If you recognize either of these women you are asked to call St. Petersburg Police at 727-893-7780. Reference report# 2019-050215 The St. Petersburg Police Department is currently searching for two women who reportedly stole a wallet from an elderly woman and then went on a shopping spree.The incident was reported on November 15th.Authorities say the 75-year-old victim was shopping for groceries when the women somehow gained access to the victim’s wallet. The women immediately went to another store where they purchased $5,000 worth of electronics and gift cards.
Two Florida men apparently took the spirit of Christmas a bit too far up.According to the Largo Police Department, 28-Shay Tracy and 27-year-old Alex Laky recently decided to climb a 35-foot Christmas tree in Largo’s Central Park early Friday morning. Two people witnessed the incident, one of whom is a City of Largo employee.Tracy and Laky have been charged with criminal mischief. The police report states the suspects threw and broke ornaments, causing $250 in damage during the 4 a.m. incident.
Florida Highway Patrol troopers and other law enforcement agencies will be officially issuing tickets for texting while driving starting Wednesday, Jan. 1.A new law signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis that will make texting while driving a primary offense instead of a secondary offense will be in full effect come 2020.The texting and driving law went into effect in July in phases. During the first phase, officers would only issue warnings. Then, in October, a ban went into effect on holding a phone while driving through a school or work zone.Well now, officers will issue tickets starting with a $30 fine plus court costs. If a second violation occurs within five years, the fine doubles to $60 and court costs increase to over $150. Violators will also have points added to their license.Thanks to the new law, texting while driving is now a primary offense, allowing officers to pull drivers over for texting.
A Kentucky man has been arrested after he reportedly killed and skinned four dogs to make what he called a “doggy coat.”38-year-old Jonathan D. Watkins was arrested on December 23rd after one of his neighbor’s contacted police about the incident.The neighbor told authorities that Watkins showed up to their home around 1:20 pm covered in blood and asking for a cigarette. When the neighbor inquired why Watkins was covered in blood, Watkins replied “I’ve been skinning dogs.”The neighbor says he didn’t initially believe Watkins, however, when the neighbor went walking by Watkins home later that afternoon, they saw what they believed to be four animal skins and two dog carcasses on his porch. That’s when the neighbor called police.Authorities say two residents contacted them earlier about their missing dogs, however, authorities had not been able to locate them.When a trooper made contact with Watkins about the missing dogs and the carcasses on his porch, Watkins told the trooper: “I’m making myself a Doggy Coat. ” He then went on to say that he didn’t see anything wrong with making the coat and that he killed the animals by “stabbing them in the heart” before he skinned them and abandoned their carcasses over a nearby hill.Watkins is now facing animal cruelty charges in addition to charges for tampering with physical evidence.
Authorities are currently investigating the death of a man in his late 20’s who was found on the bank of a lake Saturday.The victim was found sometime in the afternoon on the bank of the Okeechobee waterway in Port Mayaca by a group of people who were visiting the lake.Officials say that though the victim was discovered on Saturday, medical examiners believe the victim may have actually died on Monday.Not much is known about the incident at this time but authorities did report that they find the circumstances surrounding the death suspicious.This is a developing story and will be updated once more information becomes available.
St. Petersburg police say a cafeteria worker at Lew Williams Center for Early Learning is facing a video voyeurism charge.30-year-old Julin Nichols was arrested on Monday after co-workers say they found a cellphone taped under the sink and facing the toilet in a bathroom.Police didn’t say whether any children were involved in the investigation, or how many people were recorded by the phone.Officials are still investigating the case.
Donegal Sinn Féin public representatives, Deputies Pearse Doherty and Pádraig Mac Lochlainn and their nine county councillors have expressed their concern about proposals to scale back the NowDoc service in the county. They’ve released a statement saying, “We are concerned about proposals to scale back the NowDoc service in North and West Donegal.“People living in rural areas must have equality of access to vital health services with those living in urban areas. Rather than adequately resource the NowDoc service across Donegal, the HSE on behalf of the Government have placed the onus to deliver the service onto GPs.This has apparently stretched the resources of many GPs, particularly those serving rural communities.In turn proposals have emerged to reduce the current NowDoc service from a doctor and driver on call from 12pm to 8am at three locations in Carndonagh, Letterkenny and Gweedore down to two doctors and drivers based in Letterkenny but available to travel to meet patients in Carndonagh and Gweedore.The current practice of having a further GP on standby for emergencies will continue”. They continued, “The practical issue here is that many families live a short distance from the surgeries in Carndonagh and Gweedore.“If these proposals become a reality, typically the family calling out of hours and in worry and distress will have to wait much longer than at present for the doctor and driver to arrive.“This is a diminution in service and a loss, no matter how it is presented.“The bottom line is that GPs have been forced into this proposal due to a failure by the HSE to adequately resource the NowDoc service.“People living in rural areas of Donegal are being asked again to accept a scaling back of their primary health service and this is not acceptable. “We Sinn Féin public representatives are opposed to these proposals and we welcome the opposition of the other public representatives.“The HSE need to go back to the drawing board”.‘SCALING BACK OF NOWDOC SERVICES SIMPLY UNACCEPTABLE’ – DONEGAL SINN FÉIN was last modified: June 8th, 2015 by Mark ForkerShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:newsPolitics
QPR midfielders Joey Barton and Leroy Fer and centre-back Richard Dunne return to the starting line-up against Crystal Palace.Clint Hill plays against his former club after being brought in to replace Armand Traore, who was criticised after Rangers’ Boxing Day defeat at Arsenal.Bobby Zamora also starts, while Nedum Onuoha, Jordon Mutch, Rio Ferdinand and Eduardo Vargas drop to the bench.Keith Millen, placed in caretaker charge at Palace following the sacking of Neil Warnock, makes one change, replacing Frazier Campbell with Wilfried Zaha. QPR: Green, Isla, Dunne, Caulker, Hill, Hoilett, Barton, Henry, Fer, Zamora, Austin.Subs: McCarthy, Ferdinand, Phillips, Wright-Phillips, Onuoha, Mutch, Vargas. Crystal Palace: Speroni, Mariappa, Dann, Delaney, Ward, McArthur, Ledley, Jedinak, Bolasie, Puncheon, ZahaSubs: Hennessey, Hangeland, Kelly, Bannan, Thomas, Doyle, Campbell.Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebook
Stressed? Depressed? Take a forest bath. Another major study shows that outdoor exposure is good for the body and mind.A meta-study (a study of studies) involving 290 million people in 20 countries has concluded that “Living close to nature and spending time outside has significant and wide-ranging health benefits.” Science Daily announces, “It’s official — spending time outside is good for you.”Researchers at the University of East Anglia found strong confirmation in 140 studies of what is intuitively obvious: we feel better when we can see trees and sky. The benefits go deeper than intuition:A new report published today reveals that exposure to greenspace reduces the risk of type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, premature death, preterm birth, stress, and high blood pressure….‘Green space’ was defined as open, undeveloped land with natural vegetation as well as urban greenspaces, which included urban parks and street greenery.The team analysed how the health of people with little access to green spaces compared to that of people with the highest amounts of exposure.“We found that spending time in, or living close to, natural green spaces is associated with diverse and significant health benefits. It reduces the risk of type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, premature death, and preterm birth, and increases sleep duration.“People living closer to nature also had reduced diastolic blood pressure, heart rate and stress. In fact, one of the really interesting things we found is that exposure to greenspace significantly reduces people’s levels of salivary cortisol — a physiological marker of stress.Considering how much work time is lost due to stress, depression and anxiety, time outside could be just what the doctor ordered. The Japanese, once again, seem to be ahead of the Europeans on this point.“Forest bathing is already really popular as a therapy in Japan — with participants spending time in the forest either sitting or lying down, or just walking around. Our study shows that perhaps they have the right idea!”But what causes the benefits? Is it physical activity? Is it socializing? It’s probably those, and more: it gives helpful bacteria a chance to hitch a ride on you! Those, in turn, get your immune system something to practice on.Meanwhile, exposure to a diverse variety of bacteria present in natural areas may also have benefits for the immune system and reduce inflammation.“Much of the research from Japan suggests that phytoncides — organic compounds with antibacterial properties — released by trees could explain the health-boosting properties of forest bathing.”The findings reinforce the idea that human beings were made for outdoor life. We obviously shouldn’t be outside in pouring rain, or on smoky, smoggy days. But life in front of unnatural computer screens in an office cubicle with processed air can take its toll. Wise managers, healthcare professionals and city planners should take this human need for outdoor exposure into account.The research team hope that their findings will prompt doctors and other healthcare professionals to recommend that patients spend more time in greenspace and natural areas.Twohig-Bennett said: “We hope that this research will inspire people to get outside more and feel the health benefits for themselves. Hopefully our results will encourage policymakers and town planners to invest in the creation, regeneration, and maintenance of parks and greenspaces, particularly in urban residential areas and deprived communities that could benefit the most.“This ought to be one subject both creationists and evolutionists can agree on.Creationists can get a laugh over atheist Carl Sagan’s lapse into worship when he said, “It makes sense for us to revere the trees, for we are their children.” OK, Carl; plant an acorn and see if a baby grows from it. Instead, the Bible teaches that God put our first parents not in a city, but in a garden. The future city of God will have lots of open greenspace: rivers, too:Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. This is the real, original created Tree of Life, not Darwin’s fake. Do you see a hint that both Eden and the future New Earth will allow humans to take risks? Why would God make provision for healing with leaves of trees? This suggests that heaven will be adventurous! Don’t think God wants his creatures to be bored, when He outfitted us with all kinds of physical capabilities and minds that soar with high aspirations. The apostle John is watching this vision from a “high mountain,” he says in (21:10). Can’t you envision it festooned with forests and all kinds of living creatures? Who will be first to the top? The gates of the New Jerusalem are open day and night, so we can enjoy all kinds of amazing environments on an unfallen Earth.Our sister site CreationSafaris.com includes many resources to help you get some AWE in your life: Adventure, Worship and Education in the great outdoors! (Visited 295 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Chris ClaytonDTN Ag Policy EditorOMAHA (DTN) — The U.S. Cattlemen’s Association is asking the U.S. treasury secretary to conduct a review of Brazil’s Marfrig Global Foods increasing its stake in Kansas City, Missouri-based National Beef Packing.Marfrig announced in mid-November the company would buy the remaining 31% of National Beef, the fourth-largest meatpacker in the U.S. The shares in National Beef had been owned by the investment firm Jefferies Financial Group. Marfrig had already purchased 51% of National Beef from Jefferies and other shareholders in June 2018.National Beef operates two beef packing plants about 80 miles apart in Kansas. One is in Dodge City and the other is in Liberal. National Beef also owns a packing plant in Tama, Iowa, and operates other case-ready and further-processing plants in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Kansas, Ohio and Missouri.Marfrig announced the purchase of that 31% of shares from Jefferies is already final.USCA wrote Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Wednesday asking him to review the sale under the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, known as CFIUS. The committee is made up of members from several federal agencies, and it meets in closed settings to review foreign acquisitions in critical industries involving infrastructure, technology, manufacturing and mining. In recent years, CFIUS has examined multiple major acquisitions in agriculture, but the Treasury Department has not added a representative from USDA and FDA to join the committee for reviews, despite calls from members of Congress.In its letter, USCA cited work from the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, highlighting that Brazilian meatpackers have benefitted from subsidized loans and other resources from the Brazilian National Development Bank. Marfrig had also settled an agreement with Brazilian prosecutors, paying $28.73 million to cover damages from an earlier bribery investigation.National Beef did not respond to an email seeking comment.Marfrig and one of its main Brazilian competitors, JBS S.A., are now two of four of the largest meatpackers in the United States with Cargill and Tyson Foods being the other two U.S.-based competitors.USCA President Kenny Graner warned of the growing influence of foreign ownership in U.S. agriculture. In an interview, Graner noted a large share of packing capacity is now controlled by Brazil.“You have these foreign owners buying up a large percentage of our kill capacity here in the U.S.,” Graner said. “What is it to them to give back to our rural communities when they just want to take the profits back to Brazil and utilize the exchange rate and become more profitable in their own countries?”Graner added that President Donald Trump has stressed “America first,” but that runs counter to increased foreign ownership, especially when Brazilian beef competes against the U.S. for global exports. “You’ve got political people in both parties working with these foreign investors, but it’s time to put our ag industry first,” Graner said. “Let’s not allow our industry to be sold off to foreign investors.”If CFIUS were to review the sale, the findings would likely remain undisclosed to the public. CFIUS seldom releases details of its reviews and often releases a single report of its work more than a year afterward.The chairman and ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Committee wrote Mnuchin in April 2018 to request a CFIUS review of Marfrig’s initial majority-stake purchase of National Beef. Three other senators signed the letter at the time. The senators cited earlier purchases of major agricultural companies, stating, “It has become increasingly clear that growing foreign investment in U.S. agriculture requires a thorough review process to safeguard the American food system.”The senators added in the 2018 letter that there were also issues over corruption scandals in Brazil “that revealed unacceptable safety and quality issues with Brazilian beef intended for the American market, including Marfrig.”Read the letter here: https://bit.ly/…Grassley said Tuesday he did not recall receiving any response from the Treasury Department regarding the letter. Responding to a question from DTN, Grassley also said he does not think CFIUS takes foreign investment in agriculture as seriously as other industries.“No, but that’s probably because the ignorance of agriculture inside the beltway mentality here,” Grassley said.In October, Sens. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., and Marco Rubio, R-Fla., wrote Mnuchin also raising concerns about Brazilian meatpackers and their expansion in the U.S. Menendez and Rubio specifically asked CFIUS to investigate JBS S.A.’s acquisitions in the U.S.USCA stated the group “believes an investigation into the activities of Marfrig Global Foods is necessary to ensure the safe, affordable and abundant food supply that our nation currently enjoys.”Read the Menendez and Rubio letter here: https://bit.ly/…On Nov. 17, Marfrig’s board of directors unanimously voted to increase Marfrig’s ownership interest in National Beef. Marfrig recently announced its third quarter results showing its North American quarterly revenue at just under $2.25 billion and gross income at $374 million for the quarter. Marfrig also recently signed a partnership with ADM to produce more plant-based products.Chris Clayton can be reached at Chris.Clayton@dtn.comFollow him on Twitter @ChrisClaytonDTN(BAS/CZ)© Copyright 2019 DTN/The Progressive Farmer. All rights reserved.
Related Posts Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement sarah perez Tags:#mobile#Product Reviews#web What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Since the application is designed to provide traffic alerts, one of its features allows users to contribute additional information like whether that’s a speed trap ahead or just a fender bender slowing things down. Users can upload photos, too, so other Waze drivers can actually see what’s causing the problem. This feature is a little disconcerting, though, since it does require the driver to interact with the phone while behind the wheel. However, Waze encourages the use of these features only when stopped, or even better, by having a passenger enter this info instead. (At least they disabled typing while the car is in motion. Whew!) Also new to Waze is turn-by-turn directions, now available for free within the application. That feature alone should encourage more users to give it a shot, especially those who haven’t purchased their own standalone GPS-based navigation device yet.Early adopters can download the free mobile application from the company’s homepage here. Just remember: this service only arrived in the U.S. this May so at this point, it may be more about helping build the map data than it is about using what’s already there. Waze is a free mobile navigation application which uses crowdsourcing to build its maps. Simply by having the application open and running, drivers using GPS-enabled smartphones can contribute map data to Waze where it then becomes part of the base map. Through passive tracking features which monitor speed, direction, and starts and stops, Waze can also identify traffic patterns to warn you of jams ahead. Drivers who want to take a more active roll in contributing content on hazards and accidents can do so from the app…although hopefully, not while driving. At this week’s DEMOfall 09 conference, Waze announced that their mobile application is now available on the Windows Mobile and Symbian platforms in addition to iPhone and Android. Blackberry, however, is still in the works. What’s most interesting about Waze is how it uses the power of the crowd to build its map database. Just by driving along with the application open, users are contributing data to Waze. Although this does make the service somewhat dependent on building critical mass in order to be successful, the company is confident they can do so. That’s because Waze originally launched in Israel and in less than a year’s time, they already have 91% of the country mapped. Here in the U.S., that process will obviously take longer, but Waze believes they’ll have at least one metropolitan area completed in the next three months – the San Francisco Bay area, of course. The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology