Local Forces Launch Daring Assault Behind Enemy Lines in Syria

WASHINGTON, March 22, 2017 — Local forces in Syria launched a multi-pronged offensive that included a daring air assault behind enemy lines to liberate Tabqa Dam, located 25 miles upstream from the city of Raqqa, the Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve public affairs officer said today.

Army Col. Joseph E. Scrocca conducted a teleconference live from Baghdad with the Pentagon press corps to detail the operation planned and carried out by the Syrian Defense Forces and their Syrian Arab Coalition partners with support from the international coalition to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

The SDF liberation of Tabqa is critical to isolating Raqqa and the next step toward annihilating ISIS in Syria, Scrocca said, adding that the dam, city and airfield are critical to ISIS for importing and harboring foreign fighters and exporting terror.

The Tabqa locations are ISIS’s last link to their territory west of the Euphrates River, he said.

Isolating Raqqa

Scrocca said Tabqa Dam has been used as an ISIS headquarters, a prison for high-profile hostages and a training site for ISIS leaders. Tabqa also has housed fighter-terrorist training camps and has served as a control center for terrorist attacks against the West since ISIS took control of the location in 2013.

“Seizing Tabqa dam will isolate Raqqa from three sides and give the SDF a strategic advantage and the launching point they need to liberate the city,” he said.

A key element of the coalition’s strategy against ISIS is to work by, with and through committed and capable local partner forces fighting to liberate their people and their land, Scrocca said.

“The SDF and the local Syrian Arab Coalition fighters have proven to be the most effective ground force against ISIS in Syria, he added, “and they have proved it once again with this daring operation.”

The international coalition supported the offensive with air movement and logistical support, precision airstrikes, close-air support by Apache helicopters, Marine Corps artillery and special operations advice and assistance to SDF leadership, Scrocca said.

Fighting ISIS in Syria, Iraq

Over the last four months the coalition has conducted more than 300 airstrikes around Tabqa and to the west of Raqqa, and has killed hundreds of enemy fighters and destroyed more than 200 fortifications and more than 50 ISIS vehicles, the OIR spokesman said.

“But make no mistake about it,” Scrocca said. “It is SDF on the ground putting their lives at risk and valiantly engaging the enemy. … It is the Syrian Democratic Forces, like the Iraqi security forces, who are making the sacrifices so that other coalition nations do not continue to suffer the threat of ISIS terrorism inside their own borders.”

Turning to Mosul in Iraq, Scrocca said that while Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi was meeting yesterday at the White House with President Donald J. Trump, Iraqi forces continued to pressure ISIS on multiple axes of advance in or around the western part of the city.

“It is grueling, bloody, tough fighting against a brutal and entrenched enemy who cares nothing about the local citizens and deliberately targets them as the [Iraqis] try to evacuate them from the front lines,” the OIR spokesman said, “… but the [Iraqis] are not backing down.”

Scrocca added, “This is what building partner capacity looks like on the ground. This is what the coalition has strived to instill in these soldiers and police through our training. The ‘by, with and through’ strategy is working, and we know that because we’ve seen what these forces are doing every day against a truly evil enemy.”

(Follow Cheryl Pellerin on Twitter: @PellerinDoDNews)

Acting Assistant Attorney General Alan Hanson of the Office of Justice Programs Delivers Remarks at the Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Program Symposium

Thank you, Tracey [Trautman].  I appreciate the opportunity to welcome everyone to this symposium.  I want to thank Tracey, Betsi Griffith, Alissa Huntoon and our terrific team from the Bureau of Justice Assistance for all the hard work they’ve put into organizing this meeting, and for all they do to manage the Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Program.

I’d also like to thank Maurice Jones and his team at LISC, our training and technical assistance provider.  I know Maurice has been a strong supporter of the BCJI program, and we appreciate his outstanding leadership.  I’m also grateful to Julia Ryan, who oversees LISC’s BCJI team.  She and her colleagues have stood by us throughout this effort, drawing from their decades of experience to help us build and strengthen the BCJI model.  Thank you all.

It’s a privilege to host so many outstanding law enforcement professionals and community leaders who labor on behalf of the safety of our citizens.  We know this isn’t an easy job – it often seems like a thankless job – but I speak for all of us at the Office of Justice Programs when I say how much we appreciate your commitment to public safety in America.

As with any new Administration, I know there are lots of questions about priorities.  The President just released his budget last week, and you can see that the White House is clearly focused on reducing crime in America’s communities.  That’s good news for all us who care about public safety.  I think it’s also important for everyone here to know – and this will come as no surprise – that for our Attorney General, the safety of our communities, and of those who protect them, is paramount.

Attorney General Sessions has made it clear that he’s willing to do what it takes to help cities reduce crime and violence.  And having worked very closely with Jeff Sessions during his time in the Senate, I can tell you those are not empty words.  For anyone who cares about making sure our neighborhoods are places of promise and opportunity – where citizens can live, work and thrive – you can be sure you have an ally in our Attorney General.

In his short time in office, he has already set up a task force on crime reduction and public safety.  The goal of this task force is to work with federal, state and local law enforcement and community organizations to identify effective public safety strategies.  As part of this effort, the Department plans to host a National Summit on Crime Reduction and Public Safety at the end of June.  We hope to learn at that summit about local strategies that work and determine how we at the federal level can support those efforts.

The Attorney General is also taking action to respond to the President’s executive order on preventing violence against law enforcement.  Officer safety is a critical element of our mission at OJP, and under the direction of Attorney General Sessions, we are looking at ways we can expand this part of our portfolio.  We fully understand that keeping officers safe, protecting their health and sustaining their morale are vital to community safety.

Through initiatives like the Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Program, OJP has been doing a great deal to support local efforts – and the work all of you are doing in your cities and neighborhoods is making a big difference.

As you know, the BCJI program offers a unique approach to public safety and neighborhood revitalization.  It’s place-based, community-oriented, driven by data and research and grounded in partnerships across agencies and across disciplines – all the elements you would expect in a successful public safety program.

The BCJI model builds on programs like Project Safe Neighborhoods that rely on coordination between federal, state and local law enforcement and prosecutors and on collaboration with researchers.  It focuses on crime hot spots, and on distressed areas where resources are most urgently needed.  Perhaps most importantly, it brings community leaders and law enforcement to the table together, which guarantees that this work isn’t being done in a vacuum.

This approach is not one we see often enough – which is a shame, because we know it works.  In Evansville, Indiana, for example, from 2013 to 2015, reported crime dropped 42 percent in the BCJI target neighborhood of Jacobsville.

Five hot spots in Milwaukee’s target area saw a 23 percent drop in violent crime over the same period.  That’s compared to a 1 percent increase in the city as a whole.

And in Austin, Texas, during the 16 months of BCJI operation in the Rundberg neighborhood, violent crime dropped 15 percent.

These are impressive numbers, and they’re especially notable when many other cities are seeing a trend in the opposite direction.

But your efforts are affecting more than crime rates.  You’re improving overall quality of life for the citizens of your communities.

In Providence, Rhode Island, BCJI partners took out eight of the most crime-infested properties in the city and converted others into affordable housing.  And in Charleston, West Virginia, a local bar known for attracting drugs and prostitution was shut down and replaced by a popular eatery.

Even beyond improving public safety and raising living standards, BCJI partners are demonstrating that police and citizens can work together to strengthen their neighborhoods.  More than 100 residents were part of a community task force in Seattle that targets youth crime hot spots.  And in Syracuse, partners initiated 20 different projects that brought people out of their homes to interact and build rapport with public safety officials.

All told, our Bureau of Justice Assistance has awarded more than $42 million to 65 BCJI sites, and thanks to all of you, that investment has yielded dividends.  Which is why I’m pleased to let you know that we are working on another round of grants.  We expect to make up to 10 new BCJI awards in the coming months.

As I become familiar with the programs supported by OJP and hear success stories like the ones I’ve mentioned, it’s clear to me that law enforcement professionals and community leaders across the nation are doing the good work that needs to be done.  If you are at all representative of what’s happening in the country at large, then we have every reason to be optimistic.

This work – the work that you’re doing – is more important than ever.  Crime rates remain near historically low levels, but there’s no question that some cities are seeing troubling recent surges in violence – in some cases, dramatic increases.  This is a time for vigilance, not complacency, because, as the Attorney General said, “When crime rates move in the wrong direction, they can move quickly.”

But we don’t have to worry about complacency with this group.  You have all shown yourselves to be devoted to the cause of a safe and more just America, and I am proud that OJP has been able to contribute to your success.  I look forward to continuing our partnership and to sharing with the Attorney General the remarkable progress that I know you will make in the months ahead.

Thank you for your time, and I wish you all the best as you work to protect your citizens and your communities.

Press Releases: Statement by Ministers of the Global Coalition: Meeting on the Defeat of ISIS

The following is the text of a statement by the Ministers of the Global Coalition: Meeting on the Defeat of ISIS.

Begin text:

1. Foreign Ministers of the Global Coalition met in Washington today at the invitation of U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to review and accelerate the campaign for the lasting defeat of ISIS. We remain firmly united in our outrage at ISIS’s atrocities and in our determination to eliminate this global threat and overcome its false, destructive narrative. We reiterate our commitment to an integrated, multidimensional, and comprehensive approach to defeat ISIS and its global networks, fully recognizing this will require sustained, focused efforts.

2. We welcome the decisive milestones to date in reducing ISIS’ territorial control and degrading its leadership, access to resources, and global networks. We commend the efforts of our Iraqi partners, who have liberated more than 60 percent of their territory once held by ISIS and made significant progress recovering Mosul. We are gratified that Syrian partners have cleared ISIS from more than a third of the territory it once controlled in Syria. Now ISIS is on the defensive in Raqqa. We commend the efforts of Coalition and Syrian opposition forces who, via Operation Euphrates Shield, have successfully cleared ISIS from al-Bab, Dabiq, Jarabulus and other areas. Overall, the number of ISIS fighters has been reduced by half. They have been scattered in Libya and pressed on multiple fronts elsewhere, including Afghanistan and Africa. Outside of Iraq and Syria, we have put greater pressure on ISIS’ branches and global networks. Coalition partner information sharing, diplomatic engagement, and military strikes have put pressure on ISIS finances. Multinational cooperation has disrupted potential attacks worldwide, degraded ISIS’ ability to operate across international borders and diminished its on-line influence.

3. We recognize that the gains against ISIS have not been without cost. We honor the sacrifices of our partners, notably those in Iraq and Syria, but also in Libya, Afghanistan, Turkey and elsewhere in Africa and the Middle East, who have been on the front lines of this effort. We also recognize and deplore the suffering of countless civilians because of ISIS, exemplified by its violence against men, women and children, enslavement and trafficking of women, recruitment of child soldiers and persecution of minority communities.

4. Looking ahead, we are committed to denying ISIS sanctuary and to preventing ISIS from dispersing its fighters, weapons, or resources within Iraq and Syria or elsewhere. Our Coalition is committed to supporting local forces as they move to liberate Mosul, Raqqa and other ISIS strongholds and work toward its final defeat. We also stand ready to help liberated communities recover from the damage and suffering inflicted by ISIS. We underscore the need for safeguarding civilians, as well as full and immediate humanitarian access, especially for UN agencies and their partners, in order to address the basic needs of the communities liberated from ISIS, as well as displaced persons and others in need in besieged and hard-to-reach areas of Syria.

5. ISIS cannot be allowed to re-emerge in areas it once held in Iraq and Syria or spread to the wider region. While the primary responsibility lies with national and local governments, support for stabilization and public safety in liberated communities continues to be a top priority for our Coalition. Successful stabilization and long-term recovery will stem from good governance, the provision of services, and security arrangements that benefit all communities. We welcome the pledges by Coalition partners to assist with stabilization, demining, humanitarian and public safety requirements in liberated areas of Iraq and Syria. We are gratified that ‎partners have already pledged more than two billion dollars for such assistance in 2017 and continue to provide other vital support, notably for the Italian-led police training program in Iraq. Such contributions will create the conditions necessary for local reconciliation and for affected families to return home voluntarily, safely, with dignity, and at a time of their choosing. We welcome efforts to help Syrians promote stability in liberated communities and resist inroads by extremists. In all liberated areas, we support efforts to promote community-level reconciliation and accountability for ISIS’s crimes. We stand ready to support further development of Iraq’s comprehensive plan for the stabilization of Mosul and the coordination of international support.

6. We strongly support Prime Minister Abadi’s vision for an Iraq free of ISIS and his government’s work to enhance public services, reinforce inclusive governance, reduce corruption, decentralize certain federal authorities, and ensure the equal rights of all Iraqis irrespective of their ethnicity, gender, religion, or belief, in line with the Iraqi Constitution. We applaud the Government of Iraq for protecting civilians in conflict zones. We reaffirm our unwavering support to Iraq and its unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity. We encourage the Government of Iraq to persevere in its work toward national and local reconciliation, stabilization and reconstruction of liberated areas.

7. The Coalition stands with the Syrian people in support of a genuine political transition based on the 2012 Geneva Communique and UNSCR 2254, aimed at establishing an inclusive, pluralistic, and non-sectarian government that represents the will of all Syrians. To this end, we support the mediation efforts of UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura. A negotiated political resolution to the conflict is essential to bring about the defeat of ISIS, achieve peace in Syria, and preserve the sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of Syria. We recognize the contribution of the Astana meetings in paving the way for the resumption of UN-sponsored talks in Geneva. We condemn all indiscriminate violence and violence targeting civilians, whether by the regime and its supporters, ISIS, al-Qaeda affiliated groups, or other armed actors. We are united in our call for a genuine commitment to a sustained ceasefire and for full, unobstructed humanitarian access. We express concern for the plight of refugees and internally displaced persons and stress the imperative of building conditions for their safe return, consistent with the principle of non-refoulement and in accordance with applicable international law and taking into account the interests of host countries. The Coalition welcomes the “Conference on Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region” in Brussels on 5 April 2017 as a positive step to benefit the people of Syria.

8. We commend Libyan Prime Minister Sarraj and the forces aligned with the Government of National Accord (GNA) for the liberation of the city of Sirte from ISIS. We pay tribute to those Libyans who have lost their lives or have been wounded confronting ISIS in Sirte, Benghazi, and in other parts of the country. However, the continued political and security instability in Libya risks undermining the strategic objectives of political reconciliation and countering terrorism. We call on all parties including the relevant security actors to commit to the Libya Political Agreement and resolve their differences through dialogue and national reconciliation. We also remain vigilant against the threat of ISIS in other parts of the country and continue to support efforts to deprive it of finances, fighters, and avenues of recruitment and influence.

9. We commend the efforts of the Government of Afghanistan, along with its National Defense and Security Forces, in the fight against ISIS and in implementing its National Strategy against ISIS.

10. We recognize and support efforts by Nigeria and its partners to defeat ISIS affiliates and stabilize affected areas in the Lake Chad basin region.

11. Coalition members are actively disrupting ISIS networks that move individuals, material and funds to enable external attacks. Information sharing, enhanced traveler screening and law enforcement cooperation – including collection of evidence admissible in courts of law – are essential to this effort, as is the ability to prosecute and penalize foreign terrorist fighters and others providing material support to ISIS. We encourage information sharing through INTERPOL and other collective law enforcement channels, such as EUROPOL, as well as through financial intelligence unit (FIU) channels. We encourage members to contribute and screen against records of lost and stolen passports, foreign terrorist fighter profiles and biometric filters maintained in INTERPOL’s global criminal investigative databases. We likewise encourage establishing access between INTERPOL’s I-24/7 system and all borders and ports of entry to prevent, interdict and deter foreign terrorist travel. We underscore our support for international frameworks – including, but not limited to, UN Security Council Resolutions 2178 and 2253 – along with institutions such as the Global Counterterrorism Forum, the Financial Action Task Force, and the Egmont Group of FIUs, to curb foreign terrorist fighter travel, financing, trafficking and illicit trade, including in controlled materials. We support greater international cooperation to repatriate artifacts stolen by ISIS and others as a source of income for terrorist activities, consistent with obligations established by applicable UN conventions and resolutions.

12. The Coalition supports enhanced efforts to prevent radicalization and recruitment into ISIS and its branches by addressing the factors underpinning its emergence and continued appeal. Success against ISIS’s radicalization and recruitment efforts includes strengthening social cohesion and enhancing the resilience of communities – including teachers, social workers, religious leaders, women and youth – to recognize and respond constructively to these challenges. We recognize that returning ISIS fighters may pose a threat to their home countries and that we must address the issue by various means that may include reintegration and rehabilitation, as well as monitoring, investigation, and prosecution.

13. We will intensify our efforts to confront ISIS in the digital battlespace and reshape the public narrative around ISIS to one of failure. Members will continue their collaboration to discredit ISIS’s propaganda, emphasizing credible, authentic voices that provide alternative narratives to challenge ISIS’s world view. We will work with the private sector to develop long-term, sustainable initiatives that make communities, especially youth, more resistant to ISIS’s message. We welcome private sector initiatives to prevent ISIS and its supporters from exploiting social media platforms. These include technical means to facilitate removal of material which violates terms and conditions for users.

14. We are gratified by the momentum collectively generated by the Coalition and its partners and express our determination to intensify and accelerate our efforts to eliminate ISIS. We recognize the need for sustained coordination of the Coalition across all its lines of efforts. The working groups of the Coalition are essential to this coordination, and we remain committed to their continued progress. With this in mind, we look forward to the next meeting of the Small Group and working groups of the Global Coalition in July 2017.

End text.

Panama Develops Long-Term Plan to Diversify its Financial Platform

PANAMA CITY, March 22, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — As part of the Panamanian Government’s commitment to uphold international transparency standards and strengthen its service-sector offerings, the Ministry of Economy and Finance announced today that it is developing a long-term plan to diversify its financial services platform. As part of this new plan, 11 new financial products will be established in-line with the principles of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), and based on feedback from the private sector.

Among the initiatives being discussed, the plan includes a proposal for establishing a Panamanian „Bank of Banks” to provide currency payment and settlement services in Panama, and to emphasize not only the geographical location but also other comparative advantages such as the dollarized economy and the absence of a central bank.

Zubieta also added that the plan will include provisions on FinTech to improve Panama’s implementation of technology on its services platform.

SOURCE Panama Ministry of Economy and Finance

Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. Appoints LaVerne Srinivasan to Board of Directors

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Mar. 22, 2017– Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ:TTWO) today announced that LaVerne Srinivasan has been appointed to the Company’s Board of Directors effective March 17, 2017. In addition, Ms. Srinivasan has been appointed to Take-Two’s Corporate Governance Committee.

Ms. Srinivasan is Vice President of the National Program and Program Director for Education at the Carnegie Corporation of New York, employing creative strategies and innovative thinking to strengthen urban education. Since 2014, she has overseen grant making and other activities aimed at engaging parents and communities, improving teaching and leadership for learning, advancing innovative learning environment designs, providing K-12 pathways to college and career success, and fostering integrated approaches to innovation and learning in the field of education.

From 2012 through 2014, Ms. Srinivasan was the Co-Founder of Fiero Now, an education technology company. Prior to Fiero Now, she worked at various educational technology, urban district change, and non-profit education reform companies, including Time to Know, Education Champions for All and New Leaders for New Schools. From 2003 through 2006, Ms. Srinivasan served as Deputy Chancellor for the New York City Department of Education. In addition, from 1993 through 2003, she served in various roles at BMG Entertainment, including as Senior Vice President and General Counsel. Ms. Srinivasan serves on the board of Young Audiences New York and the national advisory board of College Promise Campaign, and was a founding member of the Consortium for Policy Research in Education’s task force on Strategic Management of Human Capital.

Ms. Srinivasan holds an A.B. in sociology from Harvard College and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.

“We are pleased to broaden the skills of our Board of Directors through the appointment of LaVerne Srinivasan,” said Strauss Zelnick, Chairman and CEO of Take-Two. “Her strong leadership skills, extensive experience in leveraging technology in the education and entertainment industries, and marketing acumen will be an asset to our board as we strive to enhance further our organization’s strong foundation for continued success.”

„Take-Two is a renowned industry leader whose entertainment experiences are synonymous with creativity and innovation,” added LaVerne Srinivasan. „I look forward to working with the Company’s board and management as Take-Two continues to grow its business throughout the world.”

About Take-Two Interactive Software

Headquartered in New York City, Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. is a leading developer, publisher and marketer of interactive entertainment for consumers around the globe. The Company develops and publishes products through its two wholly-owned labels Rockstar Games and 2K. Our products are designed for console systems and personal computers, including smartphones and tablets, and are delivered through physical retail, digital download, online platforms and cloud streaming services. The Company’s common stock is publicly traded on NASDAQ under the symbol TTWO. For more corporate and product information please visit our website at http://www.take2games.com.

All trademarks and copyrights contained herein are the property of their respective holders.

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

The statements contained herein which are not historical facts are considered forward-looking statements under federal securities laws and may be identified by words such as „anticipates,” „believes,” „estimates,” „expects,” „intends,” „plans,” „potential,” „predicts,” „projects,” „seeks,” “should”, „will,” or words of similar meaning and include, but are not limited to, statements regarding the outlook for the Company’s future business and financial performance. Such forward-looking statements are based on the current beliefs of our management as well as assumptions made by and information currently available to them, which are subject to inherent uncertainties, risks and changes in circumstances that are difficult to predict. Actual outcomes and results may vary materially from these forward-looking statements based on a variety of risks and uncertainties including: our dependence on key management and product development personnel, our dependence on our Grand Theft Auto products and our ability to develop other hit titles, the timely release and significant market acceptance of our games, the ability to maintain acceptable pricing levels on our games, and risks associated with international operations. Other important factors and information are contained in the Company’s most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K, including the risks summarized in the section entitled „Risk Factors,” the Company’s most recent Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q, and the Company’s other periodic filings with the SEC, which can be accessed at www.take2games.com. All forward-looking statements are qualified by these cautionary statements and apply only as of the date they are made. The Company undertakes no obligation to update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

View source version on businesswire.com: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20170322005117/en/

Source: Take-Two Interactive

Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. Investor Relations Henry A. Diamond, 646-536-3005 Senior Vice President Investor Relations & Corporate Communications Henry.Diamond@take2games.com or Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. Corporate Press Alan Lewis, 646-536-2983 Vice President Corporate Communications & Public Affairs Alan.Lewis@take2games.com

PCI SSC Members: Vote for Netsurion and EventTracker’s John Christly for Board of Advisors

FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. and COLUMBIA, Md., March 22, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Netsurion and EventTracker today announced that John Christly, Global CISO and an information security industry veteran, is running for the PCI Security Standards Council (SSC) Board of Advisors. The election period will be open from now until April 17. The primary business contact for each Participating Organization and Affiliate Member is invited to submit a ballot for the election via the PCI SSC portal at https://programs.pcissc.org/.
Christly is well-qualified as a board representative and already heavily involved in the PCI SSC. Today, he serves as a voice for SMBs and multi-location merchants with the PCI SSC Small Merchant Task Force. Deeply involved with small merchants in day-to-day security operations, Christly has his fingers on the pulse of the SMB operations world. He draws on this experience to provide insights and leadership to help make merchants become safer from the threats of data breaches and hackers.Christly currently leads cybersecurity and compliance efforts for Netsurion and EventTracker, managed security services providers focusing on firewall and SIEM services for multi-location businesses. In this role, he provides support to in-house corporate teams, customers, and partners. This post enables him to consistently gain real-world insights into small merchant compliance pain points and needs, making him a valuable addition to the task force.Christly has more than 25 years of experience in technical and cybersecurity-related operational, project, and program management, as well as vast knowledge of industry regulations, including PCI DSS, HIPAA, HITECH, and more.He formerly served as the CISO and HIPAA security officer for Nova Southeastern University in Florida. He was also the co-founder and CEO for OMC Systems, a Florida-based cybersecurity advisory firm. In addition, he served as the HIPAA security officer for Memorial Healthcare System, a multi-hospital public healthcare system.“The PCI Security Standards Council is doing wonders to strengthen and maintain security standards in the payment industry,” said Christly. “To be elected to a spot on the Board of Advisors is a great honor, and I feel, if elected, I can make a very valuable contribution to this important industrywide standards initiative.”For more information on the PCI SSC Small Merchant Task Force, please visit https://www.pcisecuritystandards.org/pci_security/small_merchant.

Military Strikes Continue Against ISIS in Syria, Iraq

SOUTHWEST ASIA, March 22, 2017 — U.S. and coalition military forces continued to attack the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria yesterday, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.

Officials reported details of yesterday’s strikes, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.

Strikes in Syria

In Syria, coalition military forces conducted 23 strikes consisting of 25 engagements against ISIS targets:

— Near Abu Kamal, a strike destroyed a wellhead.

— Near Shadaddi, a strike suppressed an ISIS tactical unit.

— Near Raqqa, 18 strikes engaged two ISIS tactical units and an ISIS staging area; destroyed four command-and-control nodes, three tanker trucks, three ISIS-held buildings, an oil storage tank, a vehicle-borne bomb, an ISIS headquarters, a fighting position and an ISIS media facility; and damaged four supply routes.

— Near Dayr Az Zawr, three strikes destroyed two wellheads and an oil inlet manifold.

Strikes in Iraq

In Iraq, coalition military forces conducted six strikes consisting of 35 engagements against ISIS targets, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

— Near Beiji, a strike engaged an ISIS tactical unit and destroyed an ISIS-held building.

— Near Mosul, three strikes engaged two ISIS tactical units; destroyed 11 tunnels, 10 fighting positions, three mortar systems, a rocket-propelled-grenade system, an artillery system and a heavy machine gun; damaged 12 supply routes, three fighting positions, three tunnels and a vehicle; and suppressed four ISIS tactical units.

— Near Tal Afar, two strikes engaged two ISIS tactical units and destroyed an ISIS headquarters and a vehicle-bomb facility.

Part of Operation Inherent Resolve

These strikes were conducted as part of Operation Inherent Resolve, the operation to destroy ISIS in Iraq and Syria. The destruction of ISIS targets in Iraq and Syria also further limits the group’s ability to project terror and conduct external operations throughout the region and the rest of the world, task force officials said. 

The list above contains all strikes conducted by fighter, attack, bomber, rotary-wing or remotely piloted aircraft; rocket-propelled artillery; and some ground-based tactical artillery when fired on planned targets, officials noted.

Ground-based artillery fired in counterfire or in fire support to maneuver roles is not classified as a strike, they added. A strike, as defined by the coalition, refers to one or more kinetic engagements that occur in roughly the same geographic location to produce a single or cumulative effect. For example, task force officials explained, a single aircraft delivering a single weapon against a lone ISIS vehicle is one strike, but so is multiple aircraft delivering dozens of weapons against a group of ISIS-held buildings and weapon systems in a compound, having the cumulative effect of making that facility harder or impossible to use. Strike assessments are based on initial reports and may be refined, officials said.

The task force does not report the number or type of aircraft employed in a strike, the number of munitions dropped in each strike, or the number of individual munition impact points against a target.

Military Strikes Continue Against ISIS in Syria, Iraq

SOUTHWEST ASIA, March 22, 2017 — U.S. and coalition military forces continued to attack the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria yesterday, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.

Officials reported details of yesterday’s strikes, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.

Strikes in Syria

In Syria, coalition military forces conducted 23 strikes consisting of 25 engagements against ISIS targets:

— Near Abu Kamal, a strike destroyed a wellhead.

— Near Shadaddi, a strike suppressed an ISIS tactical unit.

— Near Raqqa, 18 strikes engaged two ISIS tactical units and an ISIS staging area; destroyed four command-and-control nodes, three tanker trucks, three ISIS-held buildings, an oil storage tank, a vehicle-borne bomb, an ISIS headquarters, a fighting position and an ISIS media facility; and damaged four supply routes.

— Near Dayr Az Zawr, three strikes destroyed two wellheads and an oil inlet manifold.

Strikes in Iraq

In Iraq, coalition military forces conducted six strikes consisting of 35 engagements against ISIS targets, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

— Near Beiji, a strike engaged an ISIS tactical unit and destroyed an ISIS-held building.

— Near Mosul, three strikes engaged two ISIS tactical units; destroyed 11 tunnels, 10 fighting positions, three mortar systems, a rocket-propelled-grenade system, an artillery system and a heavy machine gun; damaged 12 supply routes, three fighting positions, three tunnels and a vehicle; and suppressed four ISIS tactical units.

— Near Tal Afar, two strikes engaged two ISIS tactical units and destroyed an ISIS headquarters and a vehicle-bomb facility.

Part of Operation Inherent Resolve

These strikes were conducted as part of Operation Inherent Resolve, the operation to destroy ISIS in Iraq and Syria. The destruction of ISIS targets in Iraq and Syria also further limits the group’s ability to project terror and conduct external operations throughout the region and the rest of the world, task force officials said. 

The list above contains all strikes conducted by fighter, attack, bomber, rotary-wing or remotely piloted aircraft; rocket-propelled artillery; and some ground-based tactical artillery when fired on planned targets, officials noted.

Ground-based artillery fired in counterfire or in fire support to maneuver roles is not classified as a strike, they added. A strike, as defined by the coalition, refers to one or more kinetic engagements that occur in roughly the same geographic location to produce a single or cumulative effect. For example, task force officials explained, a single aircraft delivering a single weapon against a lone ISIS vehicle is one strike, but so is multiple aircraft delivering dozens of weapons against a group of ISIS-held buildings and weapon systems in a compound, having the cumulative effect of making that facility harder or impossible to use. Strike assessments are based on initial reports and may be refined, officials said.

The task force does not report the number or type of aircraft employed in a strike, the number of munitions dropped in each strike, or the number of individual munition impact points against a target.

The American Kennel Club Posthumously Honors Last Surviving 9/11 Dog

NEW YORK, March 22, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The American Kennel Club (AKC®), the nation’s largest purebred dog registry and leading advocate for dogs, posthumously presented the last surviving 9/11 search and rescue dog, Bretagne, with the 2017 Empire State Award for Canine Excellence (ACE) on Tuesday, March 21st. This award recognizes canine heroes who have significantly impacted the community while serving in the Empire State.

Bretagne, a 16-year-old Golden Retriever, owned and handled by Denise Corliss, was the last surviving 9/11 search and rescue dog before her passing in June of 2016, at the age of 16. As members of Texas Task Force 1 Search and Rescue Organization, the pair responded to the World Trade Center tragedy in New York shortly after the September 11th attacks in 2001. At age two, as a newly certified FEMA Search and Rescue Dog, searching through the debris and rubble of Ground Zero was Bretagne’s first ever deployment.

Denise Corliss accepted the prestigious award on behalf of her fallen partner, Bretagne at a press conference on Tuesday at the American Kennel Club’s new pet care space, AKC® Canine Retreat. Bretagne was a devoted dog as well as a source of comfort for the human teams working the tragic scene.

„Bretagne was a dedicated, courageous and loyal working dog whose commitment and bravery has not gone unnoticed,” said AKC Vice President Gina DiNardo. „She and handler, Denise Corliss, worked tirelessly day in and day out after the September 11th attacks, and the impact they have made on the Empire State is truly inspirational. We are proud to honor their contributions.”

Bretagne retired as a disaster search and rescue dog at age nine but continued serving her community, working as a goodwill ambassador and reading assistance dog. In addition to their significant work at Ground Zero in the aftermath of 9/11, Bretagne and Denise Corliss deployed as a search team in response to Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Rita, Hurricane Ivan and many other disasters.

Since September 2001, The AKC has supported search and rescue organizations through its „DOGNY, America’s Tribute to Search and Rescue Dogs” initiative which raised over $3.5 million. These efforts helped rescuers in the aftermath of 9/11.

For downloadable images of Denise and Taser, click here.

The American Kennel Club, founded in 1884, is a not-for-profit organization which maintains the largest registry of purebred dogs in the world and oversees the sport of purebred dogs in the United States. The AKC is dedicated to upholding the integrity of its registry, promoting the sport of purebred dogs and breeding for type and function.  Along with its more than 5,000 licensed and member clubs and its affiliated organizations, the AKC advocates for the purebred dog as a family companion, advances canine health and well-being, works to protect the rights of all dog owners and promotes responsible dog ownership. More than 22,000 competitions for AKC-registered purebred dogs are held under AKC rules and regulations each year including conformation, agility, obedience, rally, tracking, herding, lure coursing, coonhound events, hunt tests, field and earthdog tests. Affiliate AKC organizations include the AKC Humane Fund, AKC Canine Health Foundation, AKC Reunite and the AKC Museum of the Dog.  For more information, visit www.akc.org.

AKC, American Kennel Club, the American Kennel Club seal and design, and all associated marks and logos are trademarks, registered trademarks and service marks of The American Kennel Club, Inc.

To become a fan of the AKC on Facebook, go to http://www.facebook.com/americankennelclub. To follow the AKC on Twitter, go to http://www.twitter.com/akcdoglovers.

 

SOURCE American Kennel Club

The American Kennel Club Posthumously Honors Last Surviving 9/11 Dog

NEW YORK, March 22, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The American Kennel Club (AKC®), the nation’s largest purebred dog registry and leading advocate for dogs, posthumously presented the last surviving 9/11 search and rescue dog, Bretagne, with the 2017 Empire State Award for Canine Excellence (ACE) on Tuesday, March 21st. This award recognizes canine heroes who have significantly impacted the community while serving in the Empire State.

Bretagne, a 16-year-old Golden Retriever, owned and handled by Denise Corliss, was the last surviving 9/11 search and rescue dog before her passing in June of 2016, at the age of 16. As members of Texas Task Force 1 Search and Rescue Organization, the pair responded to the World Trade Center tragedy in New York shortly after the September 11th attacks in 2001. At age two, as a newly certified FEMA Search and Rescue Dog, searching through the debris and rubble of Ground Zero was Bretagne’s first ever deployment.

Denise Corliss accepted the prestigious award on behalf of her fallen partner, Bretagne at a press conference on Tuesday at the American Kennel Club’s new pet care space, AKC® Canine Retreat. Bretagne was a devoted dog as well as a source of comfort for the human teams working the tragic scene.

„Bretagne was a dedicated, courageous and loyal working dog whose commitment and bravery has not gone unnoticed,” said AKC Vice President Gina DiNardo. „She and handler, Denise Corliss, worked tirelessly day in and day out after the September 11th attacks, and the impact they have made on the Empire State is truly inspirational. We are proud to honor their contributions.”

Bretagne retired as a disaster search and rescue dog at age nine but continued serving her community, working as a goodwill ambassador and reading assistance dog. In addition to their significant work at Ground Zero in the aftermath of 9/11, Bretagne and Denise Corliss deployed as a search team in response to Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Rita, Hurricane Ivan and many other disasters.

Since September 2001, The AKC has supported search and rescue organizations through its „DOGNY, America’s Tribute to Search and Rescue Dogs” initiative which raised over $3.5 million. These efforts helped rescuers in the aftermath of 9/11.

For downloadable images of Denise and Taser, click here.

The American Kennel Club, founded in 1884, is a not-for-profit organization which maintains the largest registry of purebred dogs in the world and oversees the sport of purebred dogs in the United States. The AKC is dedicated to upholding the integrity of its registry, promoting the sport of purebred dogs and breeding for type and function.  Along with its more than 5,000 licensed and member clubs and its affiliated organizations, the AKC advocates for the purebred dog as a family companion, advances canine health and well-being, works to protect the rights of all dog owners and promotes responsible dog ownership. More than 22,000 competitions for AKC-registered purebred dogs are held under AKC rules and regulations each year including conformation, agility, obedience, rally, tracking, herding, lure coursing, coonhound events, hunt tests, field and earthdog tests. Affiliate AKC organizations include the AKC Humane Fund, AKC Canine Health Foundation, AKC Reunite and the AKC Museum of the Dog.  For more information, visit www.akc.org.

AKC, American Kennel Club, the American Kennel Club seal and design, and all associated marks and logos are trademarks, registered trademarks and service marks of The American Kennel Club, Inc.

To become a fan of the AKC on Facebook, go to http://www.facebook.com/americankennelclub. To follow the AKC on Twitter, go to http://www.twitter.com/akcdoglovers.

 

SOURCE American Kennel Club