Help by sharing this information July 1, 2014 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Gunmen open fire on El Nacional reporter Pedro Fernandez Follow the news on Dominican Republic to go further News News Dominican RepublicAmericas News Organisation Journalists wounded while covering street clashes in Santo Domingo Dominican RepublicAmericas September 22, 2014 Find out more Journalist unhurt in second attack in a week after reporting on city’s illegal drugs trade.Unidentified gunmen opened fire on Pedro Fernandez, the El Nacional correspondent in the town of San Francisco de Macorís, yesterday as he was driving through the Los Chiripos neighbourhood, known for its illegal drugs trade.He was able to get out of his car and take shelter, escaping unhurt from what did not appear to be a random attack. A week earlier, tear gas grenades were thrown at his house by unidentified attackers after the journalist reported that he had evidence of a plot to kill him in January.A hand-written letter left at the scene warned the journalist that he would be killed unless he stopped writing about the city’s drug outlets. He had received several death threats since writing about attacks at several centres of the drugs trade, according to the newspapers El Dia and El Jaya. “Reporters Without Borders strongly condemns these attacks,” said Camille Soulier, head of the organization’s Americas desk. “Pedro Fernandez should be given the protection of a bodyguard immediately. We urge the Dominican authorities to undertake an investigation as soon as possible to find the perpetrators of the attack and those behind it.” Violence towards journalists has been growing in recent weeks. In early June, two journalists were summarily detained in a heavy-handed manner by the police narcotics squad. The Dominican Republic is ranked 68th of 180 countries in the 2014 World Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Without Borders. February 15, 2017 Find out more Hostile climate for Dominican media since start of 2015 News Dominican Republic: News presenter and producer gunned down in mid-broadcast June 25, 2015 Find out more RSF_en Receive email alerts
Merchants Bancshares, Inc. (NASDAQ: MBVT), the parent company of Merchants Bank, today announced net income of $11.92 million or diluted earnings per share of $1.96 for the year ended December 31, 2008. This compares with net income of $10.86 million or diluted earnings per share of $1.76 from the previous year. Merchants earned $3.06 million or diluted earnings per share of $0.51 for the quarter ended December 31, 2008, compared to net income of $2.92 million or diluted earnings per share of $0.48 for the same quarter of the previous year. Merchants previously announced the declaration of a dividend of 28 cents per share, payable February 19, 2009, to shareholders of record as of February 5, 2009.The return on average assets was 0.93% for both 2008 and for the quarter ended December 31, 2008, compared to 0.96% for 2007 and 1.00% for the quarter ended December 31, 2007. The return on average equity was 15.83% for the year and 16.32% for the quarter ended December 31, 2008, compared to 15.37% for the year and 16.03% for the fourth quarter of 2007. 2008 was a strong year for us, with EPS up 11% compared to 2007, in spite of a very challenging economic climate, said Michael R. Tuttle, Merchants President and CEO. We experienced solid growth in both loans and deposits during the year. Merchants Bank presented a safe, stable, secure profile in contrast to the volatility evident in the daily headlines.Merchants net interest margin increased slightly to 3.58% for 2008, compared to 3.56% for 2007, and increased 37 basis points to 3.81% for the fourth quarter of 2008, compared to 3.44% for the fourth quarter of 2007. Merchants net interest income increased $5.44 million to $43.65 million for 2008 compared to 2007, a 14% increase, and increased $2.47 million to $12.10 million for the fourth quarter of 2008 compared to 2007, a 26% increase. Merchants net interest margin and net interest income were positively impacted during the fourth quarter by a $194 thousand prepayment penalty received on an investment security. This prepayment penalty benefited the margin for the fourth quarter by six basis points, and benefited the margin for 2008 by one basis point. The increased net interest income is a result of an overall higher earning asset base and a higher net interest rate spread for 2008, when compared to 2007. Merchants average earning assets for 2008 were $1.22 billion at an average yield of 5.63%, compared to $1.08 billion at an average yield of 6.01% for 2007. Average loans for 2008 were $781.65 million, a $68.53 million, or 10%, increase over 2007 average loans, and average investments were $428.20 million, a $102.34 million, or 31%, increase over 2007 averages. Average interest bearing liabilities increased to $1.07 billion at an average interest cost of 2.33% for 2008, compared to $931.59 million at an average cost of 2.83% for 2007.Loans ended 2008 at $847.13 million, a $115.62 million, or 16%, increase over 2007 ending balances. Quarterly average loans were $825.40 million for the fourth quarter of 2008, a $94.71 million increase over the fourth quarter of last year. Merchants experienced strong growth across all loan categories during 2008; year-end 2008 commercial loans were 39% higher than year end 2007, residential real estate loans were 11% higher and commercial real estate balances were 17% higher. We continue to find opportunities with solid, longstanding, creditworthy businesses throughout Vermont. We have also experienced a 32% increase in home mortgage originations for 2008 compared to 2007; this is a direct result of the fact that we have not originated home mortgages for sale for more than ten years. Our customers like having their mortgages held and serviced right here in Vermont, commented Tuttle.Merchants investment portfolio increased to $431.61 million at December 31, 2008 from $365.59 million at December 31, 2007, an 18% increase. Investments purchased during the last year have consisted exclusively of government agency mortgage-backed securities. With the exception of one AA-rated security, all securities in Merchants investment portfolio were either Agency guaranteed or rated AAA at December 31, 2008. Merchants wrote the AA-rated security down to its estimated fair value during the fourth quarter of 2008 and recorded a pre-tax other than temporary impairment charge of $369 thousand.Deposits ended 2008 at $930.80 million, a $63.36, or 7% increase over 2007 ending balances. Quarterly average deposits were $946.53 million, a $72.13 million, or 8%, increase over the fourth quarter of last year. Time deposits were the fastest growing category of deposits during 2008, increasing 16% during 2008 to $385.12 million from $332.77 million at year end 2007. Time deposits represented 41% of Merchants total deposits at December 31, 2008, compared to 38% of total deposits at December 31, 2007.Merchants recorded a $600 thousand provision for credit losses during the fourth quarter of 2008 and $1.53 million year to-date, compared to a $300 thousand provision for credit losses during the fourth quarter of 2007, and $1.15 million for 2007. The increase in the provision for 2008 was primarily a result of strong loan growth during 2008, as well as increased nonperforming loans and net charge-offs during the year. Nonperforming loans ended the year at $11.64 million, compared to $9.23 million at December 31, 2007. Nonaccruing loan totals at December 31, 2008 were flat compared to September 30 of this year, as reductions, and transfers to Other Real Estate Owned ( OREO ), of existing accounts totaling approximately $1.7 million were matched by equal amounts of additions during the quarter. Tuttle commented, We continue to make good progress on reducing existing non-accrual loans, but expect to see some of this offset by additions in the current economic environment. At December 31, 2008, the allowance for loan losses was $8.89 million, 1.05% of total loans and 76% of non-performing loans, compared to the December 31, 2007 balance of $8.00 million, 1.09% of total loans and 87% of non-performing loans. Net charge-offs for 2008 totaled $564 thousand, compared to net charge-offs of $81 thousand for 2007. One loan accounted for almost all of the charge-offs during 2008, this loan was fully reserved at the end of 2007. Merchants had $803 thousand in OREO at December 31, 2008, and $475 thousand at December 31, 2007. Nonperforming assets as a percentage of total assets were 0.93% at December 31, 2008, compared to 0.83% at December 31, 2007.Merchants noninterest income decreased by $686 thousand to $8.66 million for 2008 compared to 2007 and by $805 thousand to $1.82 million for the fourth quarter of 2008 compared to the same period in 2007. As mentioned previously, Merchants recorded a $369 thousand other than temporary impairment charge related to one of its investment securities during the fourth quarter. Additionally, Merchants sold an investment in a limited partnership during the fourth quarter of last year and recognized a reduction in equity in losses of real estate limited partnerships of approximately $260 thousand. Excluding all security transactions and the gain just mentioned, noninterest income decreased by $176 thousand to $2.19 million for the fourth quarter of 2008 compared to 2007, and by $236 thousand to $8.95 million year to date. Trust company income has suffered in the current difficult market conditions, decreasing by $110 thousand for the fourth quarter of this year compared to last, and by $126 thousand year to date.Total noninterest expense increased $1.10 million to $9.24 million for the fourth quarter of 2008 compared to 2007, and $2.81 million to $35.10 million year to date. Salaries and employee benefits increased $899 thousand to $4.88 million for the fourth quarter of this year compared to 2007, and $1.97 million to $17.60 million year to date. This increase is primarily a result of additional staff that we have hired in the corporate banking, executive and trust areas during 2008, as well as increases in health insurance costs.Merchants also announced the extension, through January 2010, of its stock buyback program, originally adopted in January 2007. Under the program Merchants may repurchase 200,000 shares of its common stock on the open market from time to time, and had purchased 143,475 shares through December 31, 2008. Although Merchants did not repurchase any of its shares during the fourth quarter of 2008, and does not expect to repurchase shares in the near future, Merchants wanted to preserve the flexibility of an active buyback program.Mr. Michael Tuttle, Merchants President and Chief Executive Officer; and Ms. Janet Spitler, Merchants Chief Financial Officer, will host a conference call to discuss these earnings results at 9:30 a.m. Eastern Time on Friday, January 30, 2009. Interested parties may participate in the conference call by dialing (888) 423-3273; the title of the call is Earnings Release Conference Call for Merchants Bancshares, Inc. Participants are asked to call a few minutes prior to register. A replay will be available until noon on Friday, February 6, 2009. The U.S. replay dial-in telephone number is (800) 475-6701. The international replay telephone number is (320) 365-3844. The replay access code for both replay telephone numbers is 967736.The continuing mission of Merchants Bank is to provide Vermonters with a statewide community bank that blends a strong technology platform with a genuine appreciation for local markets. Merchants Bank fulfills this commitment through a branch-based system that includes 34 community bank offices and 42 ATMs throughout Vermont, Personal Bankers dedicated to top-quality customer service and streamlined solutions, including: Personal Checking and Savings with Free Checking for Life®, Cash Rewards Checking, a low-cost Money Market Account, Free Online Banking and Bill Pay, Overdraft Coverage, Direct Deposit, Free Debit Card, and Free Automated Phone Banking; Business Banking with Rewards Checking for Business, Business Online Banking and Bill Pay, Business Lines of Credit and Merchant Card Processing; Small Business Loans; Health Savings Accounts; Credit Cards; Flexible Certificates of Deposit; Vehicle Loans; Home Equity Credit; and Home Mortgages. Visit mbvt.com for more information. Merchants stock is traded on the NASDAQ National Market system under the symbol MBVT. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.Some of the statements contained in this press release constitute forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements relate to expectations, beliefs, projections, future plans and strategies, anticipated events or trends and similar expressions concerning matters that are not historical facts. The forward-looking statements reflect Merchants current views about future events and are subject to risks, uncertainties, assumptions and changes in circumstances that may cause Merchants actual results to differ significantly from those expressed in any forward-looking statement. Forward-looking statements should not be relied on since they involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that are, in some cases, beyond Merchants control and which could materially affect actual results. The factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from current expectations include changes in general economic conditions in Vermont, changes in interest rates, changes in competitive product and pricing pressures among financial institutions within Merchants markets, and changes in the financial condition of Merchants borrowers. The forward-looking statements contained herein represent Merchants judgment as of the date of this report, and Merchants cautions readers not to place undue reliance on such statements. For further information, please refer to Merchants reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The year in which it celebrates the 70th anniversary of its artistic activity, the Ensemble of Folk Dances and Songs of Croatia LADO is preparing the program “Let the sun shine on everyone where there is still our family”, fully dedicated to songs and dances of Croats abroad. An opportunity to show our guests our cultural and historical heritage. Inform your guests about LADO or better yet, as a host in family accommodation take them to a celebratory concert and be proud of our tradition, history and heritage. Zadar – wake up, it is quality and authentic content that tourists want to see and experience. It is a story we must tell our tourism. Photo: LADO The celebratory concert will be held in Zadar on April 26, 2019 at the Arsenal Zadar. Find out more about the concert HERE “During their turbulent past, especially in the period between the 15th and 17th centuries, Croats from the territory of today’s Republic of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina due to military activities sought refuge outside their homeland, inhabiting areas where they have remained to this day. Through all these centuries, separated from the motherland, they have preserved their identity and their traditional culture. Therefore, the Ensemble of Croatian Folk Dances and Songs LADO dedicates its seventieth birthday to them.”, Says the artistic director of the LADO Ensemble Andrija Ivančan and points out that the very name of the program calls on all peoples in the countries inhabited by Croats to love, peace, tolerance, respect and building bridges between peoples and their cultures. Lado are the guardians of our tradition, heritage and customs, and by their actions they take care that they do not disappear into oblivion. For more than seven decades, Lado has been performing on stages all over the world, and with over 5.000 performances in Croatia and 48 countries around the world, he tells the story of our customs and identity, the story of Croats. Lado certainly deserves the title of ambassador of Croatian tourism. LADO has a holdings with more than 1.200 sets of folk costumes of exceptional value and beauty, some of which are over 100 years old, so we can freely call it a traveling museum that is extremely valuable and important for preserving and nurturing our identity, culture and customs. I keep emphasizing how we should be and sell what we are – Croats. That is the very essence of tourism. Tourists want to hear, see and taste our history, our culture, our way of life.
Secretary-general Tigor Tanjung acknowledged that the absence of a chief figure would hamper the funding disbursement process from the government to the association in relation to athletes’ preparations and training programs for the Olympics.“We are going to organize a national training camp in the immediate future. Thus, Zacky’s presence is pivotal for the association as we are going to need government funding to run those programs,” Tigor said as quoted in the association’s statement on Thursday.Commenting on his new position, Zacky acknowledged that this time is very crucial for the association as they are being asked to maintain a top performance in the middle of a funding deficit and tournament postponements.“Despite the problems, we are going to move forward with our planned schedules,” Zacky, brother of one of the country’s most senior lawyers, Nono Anwar Makarim, said.Sprinter Lalu Muhammad Zohri is the only Indonesian athlete to secure his place at the Olympics, thanks to his 10.03-second achievement in the 2019 Seiko Golden Grand Prix in Osaka, Japan, last year. The World Athletics body previously announced that the Tokyo Olympics qualifiers would be postponed from April to December this year.Topics : Former head of Indonesian military intelligence Maj. Gen. (ret) Zacky Anwar Makarim, 72, has been elected as acting Indonesian track and field association chief, replacing Muhammad “Bob” Hasan who died earlier this year.Zacky, who is a senior member of the association, was elected unanimously by a panel of the association’s top members. Uncle of current education minister Nadiem Makarim, Zacky is tasked with continuing Bob Hasan’s legacy and safeguarding athletes’ preparations for next year’s Tokyo Olympics and also other competitions, at least until the association’s current board completes its term in December.The association is set to appoint a new permanent chief and members of management in December through a congress.
Cincinnati Bengals running back Giovani Bernard (25) scores a touchdown on a 27-yard pass reception against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the second half of an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 16, 2013, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Tom Uhlman)by Joe KayAP Sports WriterCINCINNATI (AP) — Running back Giovani Bernard slipped through the line, caught Andy Dalton’s short pass, then turned and saw something shocking.One of the NFL’s top defenses had given him a big opening.The elusive rookie turned the catch into a 27-yard touchdown on Monday night, one of his two scores that made all the difference in the Cincinnati Bengals’ 20-10 victory over the struggling Pittsburgh Steelers.“I saw green grass,” said Bernard, a second-round pick from North Carolina. “Once you see green grass, you’ve got to take it. You don’t get many chances like that. When you do, you’ve got to take it.”He wasn’t the only rookie putting their new imprint on an old rivalry. Top pick Tyler Eifert made a 61-yard catch that set up Bernard’s 7-yard run for his first NFL touchdown. Together, they gave a preview of what the Bengals (1-1) could become with two new pass catchers in the offense.“Gio’s done a good job,” Dalton said. “We drafted him to be versatile, move around the backfield and make big plays. And that’s exactly what we’ve gotten out him.”The Bengals piled up 407 yards on one of the NFL’s toughest defenses, holding the ball for more than 35 minutes.The Steelers fell to 0-2 for the first time since 2002, done in by another game of self-destruction on offense. Pittsburgh had two turnovers in scoring range and couldn’t hold the ball long enough to give their defense a breather, failing to get a first down on seven of their 12 possessions.“There’s not a lot of positives going on right now,” said Ben Roethlisberger, who was 20 of 37 for 251 yards with one touchdown and a deflected interception. “We can’t start doubting each other. Right now, there’s a general feeling of being upset.”It was a chance for the Bengals to show they’ve supplanted the Steelers in the AFC North. They beat Pittsburgh 13-10 at Heinz Field last December to reach the playoffs, and now have moved ahead of them again with a rare Monday night win.Cincinnati is 10-20 in Monday night games.“This doesn’t define anything until you look back at the end of the year,” coach Marvin Lewis said.The Bengals put the ball in the Dalton’s hands in the first half, letting him pass away while they all but abandoned the run against one of the NFL’s top defenses. Dalton had an up-and-down game, finishing 25 of 45 for 280 yards.Cincinnati’s rookies provided the big plays.Eifert got open between cornerback Ike Taylor and safety Ryan Clark for his 61-yard catch. Bernard finished the long drive with a 7-yard run, his first touchdown in the NFL, for the early lead.The Steelers needed to get their offense moving after a horrid opener. They ran for only 32 yards and Roethlisberger was sacked five times during a 16-9 home loss to Tennessee. Worse, the Steelers lost Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey for the rest of the season with a torn knee ligament. Fernando Velasco, signed a week earlier, started in his place Monday.They weren’t significantly better in Cincinnati.Roethlisberger got Pittsburgh’s offense moving in spurts. He completed all five of his passes on a touchdown drive that pulled the Steelers into a 10-all tie at halftime, including completions of 19 and 43 yards to Emmanuel Sanders.Shaun Suisham kicked a 44-yard field goal, and the Steelers had a chance to add to the lead in the first half. But another mistake — and they’ve had a lot of those already — provided the game’s first turning point.Pinned at their 3-yard line after a punt, the Steelers drove into scoring position. Roethlisberger completed a 34-yard pass to tight end David Paulson, who fumbled the ball as he was tackled. Adam “Pacman” Jones forced the fumble and recovered it at the Cincinnati 13-yard line.Another of Roethlisberger’s passes went off Jerricho Cotchery’s hands and was picked off at the Bengals 13-yard line in the fourth quarter, essentially sealing it.The most intriguing question: Could Steeler-turned-Bengal James Harrison leave a mark on Pittsburgh’s mess of an offense?Nope. He didn’t have a sack or a tackle.Notes: The Bengals rushed for 127 yards, with BenJarvus Green-Ellis getting 75 on 22 carries. Bernard ran eight times for 38 yards. … The Bengals have consecutive wins over the Steelers for the first time since 2009. … Roethlisberger was sacked twice by a defense that failed to get one in Chicago.___AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org
The National Football League has banned the use of the ultra-popular headphones, Beats by Dre.That’s because the NFL has struck an exclusive deal with the struggling competitor Bose in a deal that was struck back before the season started. As a condition of that agreement, Bose’s headphones would be the official headphones of the league.The NFL ban reportedly goes into effect immediately.Beats Electronics has worked extensively to get athletes wearing its product, featuring stars like Colin Kaepernick in its advertising, and sponsoring numerous others.The deal will prevent players from using the headphones specifically while they’re on camera, as that is vital publicity for Bose, which ranks far behind Beats in the headphones market.Though Beats by Dre are expensive — headphones costing $100 or more — Beats dominates with 61 percent of the market share, compared to Bose’s 22.Most consumers forgot that Apple bought Beats by Dre back in May for a whopping $3 billion, citing the company’s headphones and music streaming service as reasons for the acquisition.TechCrunch later updated its story to say Beats would be gradually rolled into iTunes instead. Another important thing to note is this isn’t the first time a major sporting body has decided to ban Beats.FIFA tried a similar tactic as the NFL’s ahead of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, but prominent players, including Mario Balotelli and Neymar defied that ban and visibly wore the headphones.