FNH combat instructors train fellow Hondurans By Dialogo October 23, 2015 Joint training is an important component of the ongoing cooperation between Honduras and the U.S. in the fight against organized crime. “The U.S. Marine team of instructors is satisfied because when they reviewed the instruction being offered by Honduran officers, they found nothing that needed improvement. The Troops, officers, and NCOs are relieved because the training they received is in new doctrine, with lessons from countries that have done battle in other lands. We, who are waging this symmetrical war against drug traffickers, have achieved a new instructional program, and we see how satisfied the institution is with the program.” Marines with Marine Forces-South (MARFOR-South), a component with the United States Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), trained Honduran Navy (FNH Spanish acronym) combat instructors in martial arts from late August and early September so that the FNH service members could teach the self-defense technique and other skills to their Military colleagues. A physically demanding course Battling organized crime is physically demanding, and so was the training. The FNH combat instructors, who awarded certificates to the 80 members after completing the course, will train another 30 to 40 Honduran Navy service members in January 2016 and will continue to teach their colleagues for at least three years. “Some of the Honduran officers are naval specialists and others are combat divers. All have been instructors with a great deal of experience in fighting organized crime and drug trafficking.” Cooperating to fight organized crime The three-week course prepared FNH service members to engage in hand-to-hand combat with violent gang members from Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), Barrio 18 (M-18), and other criminal organizations. “The course was difficult, dynamic, and practical,” Lieutenant Reyes explained. “Our officers trained and studied during more than 14 hours a day. All of this falls within the instructional plan for the Marines who we are beginning to train in this country. This is an initiative of the Honduran Navy. We train at the level of the U.S. Marines.” Five officers and a physician with the U.S. Marine Corps taught the combat techniques to new unit of the FNH made up of 11 officers and non-commissioned officers at the Trujillo Colón Base in Puerto Castilla, said Lieutenant Álvaro Reyes Solano, director of Honduras’s Naval Training Center (CAN). Additionally, FNH Marines participated in 18 to 22 classes that included an instructor firearms course; an instructor course in machine guns; a class in urban operations; and a combat search and rescue course. The U.S. Marine Corps’ Marine Air-Ground Task Force for the Special Operations Command-South, which is led by Captain Juan Díaz, trained the Hondurans. “This is an example of how the Honduran Marine Corps is evolving,” Lt. Reyes stated. “The Marine Corps wants to grow because we are the ones who guard the rivers, lakes, and coastline – that is where we are focused and have projections for the war on terror and the war on drugs.” The Honduran combat instructors – all between the ages of 22 and 30 – sparred with each other and learned how to disarm the opposition, in addition improving their strength and endurance by engaging in long walks and exercises carrying logs. After the lessons, the Honduran combat instructors quickly put the martial arts training to use. In September, shortly after they had completed the SOUTHCOM course, the FNH instructors trained 80 members of the FNH at the CAN while being monitored by the U.S. Marines who had taught them. “The U.S. and Honduran Marine Corps working teams have managed an excellent working relationship, precise coordination, and a sense of brotherhood in raising the prestige of the Armed Forces,” Lt. Reyes explained. The FNH consists of 1,100 service members, according to the 2014 Comparative Atlas of Defense in Latin America and the Caribbean, published by the Latin American Security and Defense Network. It operates from five Navy bases: Puerto Cortes, Puerto Castilla, Amapala, Caratasca, and La Ceiba, while another naval unit, the 800-member First Marine Battalion, is at the La Ceiba Navy Base, according to the website Orden de batalla internacional.
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Apart from its equity holdings, only Keva’s hedge funds saw losses, returning -2.9%.Private equity and real estate holdings both returned less than 1%, with property achieving the second-best performance of 0.7%.Keva’s best-performing asset class was fixed income, which at the end of March accounted for more than 46% of its €44bn in assets.Stefan Björkman, managing director at the €5.7bn Etera, said investment income was “stable” throughout the first quarter.Unlike Keva, Etera said property was its best-performing asset class, returning 2% over the quarter, compared with 0.5% from its fixed income portfolio.Equity losses were lower, with a return of -1%, while alternatives also lost a comparable -1.2%.However, Keva’s Huotari struck a note of caution when discussing future returns.“The underlying problem appears to be that none of the central [bank] operators seems to offer an intelligible way out of the current situation,” he said.“In the coming years, we might have an even bumpier ride ahead than we expected.” Finnish pension investors have suffered low returns as a result of “very unsettled” capital markets, according to Keva.The local government pension provider saw losses of 0.8% over the first three months of 2016, partly down to a 4.4% loss from its equity holdings, while pensions mutual Etera managed to return 0.1% over the same period.Tapani Hellstén, Keva’s acting managing director, said investment performance was in line with the fund’s expectations, although his CIO Ari Huotari said first-quarter returns were “meagre”.“The capital markets have been very unsettled, and we have performed reasonably well in investment operations in the middle of the storm,” Hellstén added.
160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! BAGHDAD – U.S. aircraft dropped leaflets seeking information about three U.S. soldiers feared captured by al-Qaida as troops intensified the search Tuesday, despite a warning from the terror group that the hunt will endanger the captives’ lives. The U.S. command said the searchers were trying to isolate areas where they suspect the captives may have been taken after the pre-dawn ambush in which four American soldiers and an Iraq soldier were killed. On Monday, an al-Qaida front group, the Islamic State of Iraq, warned the U.S. on the Web to call off the hunt “if you want their safety.” The warning could indicate that the presence of about 4,000 U.S. and Iraqi troops in the thinly populated farming area 20 miles south of Baghdad is making it difficult for the captors to move the Americans to a secure location. In a printed statement Tuesday, a U.S. command spokesman said American soldiers have questioned more than 450 people and detained at least 11 since the search began. The military also said the missing soldiers were assigned to Company D, 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, which is part of the 10th Mountain Division from Fort Drum, N.Y. At the time of the attack, the soldiers were in two vehicles “at a stationary observation post trying to interdict terrorists who place roadside bombs,” U.S. spokesman Lt. Col. Christopher Garver said. The Pentagon confirmed names of three of the U.S. dead: Sgt. 1st Class James D. Connell Jr., 40, of Lake City, Tenn.; Pfc. Daniel W. Courneya, 19, of Nashville, Mich.; and Pfc. Christopher E. Murphy, 21, of Lynchburg, Va. The Pentagon confirmed names of four other soldiers who were at the observation post – Sgt. Anthony J. Schober, 23, of Reno, Nev.; Spc. Alex R. Jimenez, 25, of Lawrence, Mass.; Pfc. Joseph J. Anzack Jr., 20, of Torrance; and Pvt. Byron W. Fouty, 19, of Waterford, Mich. – but did not say which of the four was among the dead, while three were missing.