Comments are closed. “Looking for an appropriate image to convey the necessity of deep integration across core HR (whose system’s name is HRMS) and talent management (whose system’s name is usually abbreviated TM), I remembered this really terrific graphic from Josh Bersin. Giving tremendous credit where it’s due, this graphic is from an equally terrific post by Josh entitled: “Workday 10: Talent Management And HRMS Converge and dated in March, 2010 (and doesn’t it seem almost quaint to be referencing Workday 10?). I won’t speak for Josh, but I’ve been preaching the need for tight integration across H”Read full article Applications Integration — Core HR And Talent Management«In Full BloomShared from missc on 15 Apr 2015 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.
Neighbors Carolyn Logan, foreground, and Margaret McGonigle look at a stump from one of the trees that were cut down. By Donald WittkowskiMany of the cedar, cherry and pear trees that had lined a split-rail fence on property overlooking the marshlands along 52nd Street in Ocean City are now gone. Their stumps are all that remain.“To be honest with you, I was stunned when I counted 42,” Carolyn Logan, a resident of Bark Drive, just off 52nd Street, exclaimed of the number of stumps.Logan estimated some of the trees were 15 to 20 feet tall. But they weren’t the only things that were chopped down. Phragmites, bayberry bushes and other native plants that were part of what Logan and her neighbor, Margaret McGonigle, of Anchorage Drive, described as an environmentally sensitive area have disappeared, too.“Before they cut everything down, you could not see through here at all. This was lush,” McGonigle recalled of the thicket of trees, bushes and marsh reeds. “But now, I can see all the way to Super Liquors.”The Super Liquors store she referred to is some three miles across the expanse of marshlands in the neighboring town of Marmora.In late December, a contractor hired by Ocean City cut down trees and vegetation along a nearly half-mile stretch of 52nd Street as part of a maintenance program to keep the tall growth in check, but in doing so, has drawn the anger of some of the neighbors.Trees, bushes and marsh reeds along the fence line on 52nd Street have been chopped down.Logan and McGonigle complained about the tree cutting to Mayor Jay Gillian during a meeting Saturday organized by Councilman Bob Barr for residents of the Fourth Ward. Gillian expressed his regrets for what he said appeared to be an “overzealous” cuttingoperation by the city contractor.“I apologize for that. I own that one,” Gillian told the audience of about 60 residents who attended the meeting at the Ocean City Free Public Library.Most of the meeting focused on a $6.5 million drainage and road project that will help reduce flooding in the Fourth Ward between 28th and 34th streets. But Logan and McGonigle pressed the mayor for answers about the tree-cutting operation when he opened the floor for questions.Gillian said the maintenance project has split the neighborhood “50-50,” noting that half of the residents objected to the loss of so many trees and bushes, while the other half enjoyed getting back their unfettered view of the marshlands.At the same time, Gillian promised to come back to the Fourth Ward residents with a plan for future cutting operations, as well as a strategy to protect the neighborhoods surrounding 52nd Street from floodwaters that come from the marshlands.“That’s on the front burner,” he said.Echoing Gillian’s comments, Barr, who represents the Fourth Ward on City Council, told the residents that the project will remain on “the front page.”Barr has proposed that city officials consult with Ocean City’s Environmental Commission and the Shade Tree Commission on ways to replace some of the trees and bushes that were chopped down.Mayor Jay Gillian promised residents of the Fourth Ward that he is looking into the tree cutting.Logan and McGonigle grumbled that the cutting of so much vegetation has left the area looking barren and stark, depriving the wildlife of valuable shelter and food in the process.“It’s a refuge for butterflies, migrating birds and turtles. It once was a beautiful area. It had been undisturbed before they did this,” Logan said, gazing at the denuded landscape.McGonigle said on the first day of cutting in December, the contractor trimmed just a little bit of the vegetation. She was stunned by what happened on the second day.“Then they came back the next day and it was all gone,” she said. “They came back and cut many, many more feet along the fence line.”During a City Council meeting in January, when residents first complained to city officials about the cutting operation, City Business Administrator Jim Mallon explained that the area was becoming overgrown with phragmites, poison ivy and poison sumac.“The objective of this brush removal will provide improved and clearer access to a historically grassy area,” Mallon said during the Council meeting. “The path near the split-rail fence is commonly used by neighborhood pet owners to walk their animals, and nearby homeowners appreciate the city keeping the area maintained.”Besides complaining about the altered aesthetics, Logan and McGonigle expressed fear that the loss of so many trees and bushes has removed a natural barrier protecting the neighborhoods from the wind-blown flooding that comes from the marshlands.“That was a block, at least, that gave us some flood protection,” McGonigle said.During Saturday’s meeting with Fourth Ward residents, Gillian said he believes the flooding is mainly caused by a deteriorated dirt embankment that was once part of the track for a railroad that served Ocean City years ago. Still visible on top of the embankment are the remnants of old wooden railroad ties that carried the track over the marshlands.The mayor believes that flooding from the marshlands around 52nd Street is caused by an old, deteriorated railroad embankment, seen in background.An engineering consultant for the city is in discussions with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection on a flood-prevention plan. Gillian said he would share the plan with the Fourth Ward residents when it is ready.In an interview, Logan said she appreciates that the mayor has pledged to look into the matter and consult with residents.But in the meantime, Logan and McGonigle are not pleased with the newly created, wide-open view of the marshlands – without the trees, bushes and tall reeds that were once there.“If I had binoculars, I could count the number of cars in the parking lot at Super Liquors,” Logan said ruefully.
With Christmas over, the next treats to appear on bakery shelves are hot cross buns, according to Gb Plange UK (Runcorn, Cheshire).”Increasingly we’re seeing bakers add their own touch to hot cross buns – for example, twists of fresh orange and lemon zest in addition to the traditional sultanas, raisins and currants,” says Marie Parnell, managing director of Gb Plange. “Or they can use nuts, which add ’crunch’ to the product.”Gb Plange’s Energie Spiced Bun Concentrate includes spices for extra flavour. It is available in a 12.8kg pack.
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has published guidance for businesses to accompany The Weights and Measures (Specified Quantities) (Unwrapped Bread and Intoxicating Liquor) Order 2011.The amendment to the current law would see all restrictions on the quantities that may be used for the sale of unwrapped bread lifted, provided that any new quantities are indicated on a ticket or notice. It aims to introduce greater flexibility for bakers, enabling them to offer new sizes and respond to consumer demand.The current regulations only allow the sale of unwrapped loaves weighing more than 300g to be made up in quantities of 400g or multiples of it.Subject to parliamentary approval, the order would come into force on 1 October 2011. For more information and to view the guidance document click here.>>Craft bakers welcome unwrapped bread ruling
To ensure every child has access to a good school place, the Government is on track to create a million new school places by the end of this decade – the largest increase for at least two generations.Standards have also risen since this time, with 1.9 million more children attending good or outstanding schools compared to 2010, representing 85% of children, compared to just 66% in 2010, and that is in part down to our reforms.Last summer, more children across the country met the expected standard at the end of primary school in all of reading, writing and mathematics – totalling 64% of pupils in 2018 compared to 61% in 2017.This follows the introduction of the Government’s phonics screening check in 2012, with 163,000 more 6-year-olds on track to become fluent readers compared to seven years ago, and England’s recent rise up the international PIRLS rankings puts the success of the Government’s reforms on a global scale.Alongside progress in children’s reading abilities, the teaching of maths in primary school has been transformed, in line with the principle of the maths ‘mastery’ pedagogy. This technique of teaching is successfully practised by world leaders in mathematics, Shanghai and Singapore, and is now being introduced to schools in England.Thanks to £41 million investment there are already over 2,500 schools across the country involved in this approach, and the Government recently announced an additional £27 million to further expand the programme to reach 11,000 primary and secondary schools in total by 2023. Wherever they live and whatever their background, children deserve the best in education. Since 2010 we have created more school places and seen school standards rise, meaning there is a greater opportunity for pupils across the country to go to a good or outstanding school. This means that, despite rising pupil numbers and the highest number of applications at secondary level for twelve years, the vast majority of parents sending their children to school this September received one of their top three preferences of either primary or secondary school. Our school system has improved beyond recognition in the last nine years, which means that even the small minority of parents who didn’t get one of their top choices this year can feel confident their child will still get a world-leading education. More than nine out of 10 parents got one of their top three choices of primary or secondary school for their children this year.The success in the number of parents securing one of their top three choices comes despite an increase in the overall school population of over 635,000 pupils since 2010, and a rise of over 20,000 applications at secondary level this year alone.Stats published today from the Department for Education show that 97.5% of primary, and 93% of secondary school children, secured a place at one of their top-three picks of school in 2019.School Standards Minister Nick Gibb said:
A team of experts in mechanics, materials science, and tissue engineering at Harvard has created an extremely stretchy and tough gel that has potential as a replacement for damaged cartilage in human joints.The new material, a hydrogel, is a strong hybrid of two weak gels. Not only can it stretch to 21 times its original length, but it is also tough, self-healing, and biocompatible — attributes that open up new opportunities in medicine and tissue engineering.The material, its properties, and a simple method of synthesis are described in the Sept. 6 issue of Nature.“Conventional hydrogels are very weak and brittle — imagine a spoon breaking through jelly,” said lead author Jeong-Yun Sun, a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS). “But because [these gels] are water-based and biocompatible, people would like to use them for some very challenging applications like artificial cartilage or spinal disks. For a gel to work in those settings, it has to be able to stretch and expand under compression and tension without breaking.”The researchers used a razor blade to cut a 2-cm notch across the gel. In the image above (left), the gel has been stretched very slightly so that the notch is visible. This damaged gel was still able to stretch to 17 times its initial length without breaking. Photo courtesy of Jeong-Yun SunSun and his co-authors were led by Professors Zhigang Suo, Joost J. Vlassak, and David J. Mooney.To create the new hydrogel, the researchers combined two common polymers. The primary component is polyacrylamide, known for its use in soft contact lenses and as the electrophoresis gel that separates DNA fragments in biology labs; the second component is alginate, a seaweed extract that is commonly used to thicken food.Separately, these gels are both quite weak — alginate, for instance, can stretch to only 1.2 times its length before it breaks. Combined in an 8-to-1 ratio, however, the two polymers form a complex network of cross-linked chains that reinforce one another. The chemical structure of this network allows the molecules to pull apart very slightly over a large area instead of permitting the gel to crack.The alginate portion of the gel consists of polymer chains that form weak ionic bonds with one another, capturing calcium ions (added to the water) in the process. When the gel is stretched, some of the bonds between chains break — or “unzip,” as the researchers put it — releasing the calcium. As a result, the gel expands slightly, but the polymer chains themselves remain intact. Meanwhile, the polyacrylamide chains form a gridlike structure that bonds tightly with the alginate chains.If the gel acquires a tiny crack as it stretches, the polyacrylamide grid helps to spread the pulling force over a large area, tugging on the alginate’s ionic bonds and unzipping them here and there. The research team showed that even with a huge crack, the hybrid gel can still stretch to 17 times its initial length.The researchers pinned both ends of the new gel in clamps and stretched it to 21 times its initial length before it broke. Photo courtesy of Jeong-Yun SunImportantly, the new hydrogel is capable of maintaining its elasticity and toughness over multiple stretches. Provided the gel has time to relax between stretches, the ionic bonds between the alginate and the calcium can “re-zip.” The researchers have shown that raising the ambient temperature can accelerate this process.The researchers’ combined expertise in mechanics, materials science, and bioengineering enabled them to apply two concepts from mechanics — crack bridging and energy dissipation — to a new problem.“The unusually high stretchability and toughness of this gel, along with recovery, are exciting,” said Suo. “Now that we’ve demonstrated that this is possible, we can use it as a model system for studying the mechanics of hydrogels further, and explore various applications.”Beyond artificial cartilage, the researchers see potential for the new hydrogel in soft robotics, in optics, in artificial muscle, and as a protective covering for wounds.
Photo: Darbie Granberry These greenhouse bell pepper transplants show dramatically the benefit of compost. The transplants on the right were grown with a medium with 20 percent compost. The ones on the left were grown without compost. Why not use the noncomposted organic matter?Weed-free, Pathogen-freeCompost and noncomposted organic materials both contain high levels of organic matter. But only compost is free of weed seed and pathogens.Besides organic matter, manure and products containing manure, such as animal litter, may also contain harmful weed seeds and disease germs that can harm humans, plants and animals.The heat generated during composting kills these weed seeds and germs.Holding NutrientsCompost and noncomposted organic matter both contain essential plant nutrients such as nitrogen, sulfur and phosphorus. But compost holds the most nutrients in a leaching-resistant, slow-release form.Many of the water-soluble nutrients in animal manures may quickly move into the soil and supply injurious levels of nutrients to plants, or they may leach down below the root zone and no longer be available to plants.However, most of the nutrients in compost are in a complex organic form and must be mineralized in the soil before they can be leached or become available to plants.For example, only about 10 percent to 15 percent of the total nitrogen in compost is typically available during the first cropping season.Healthy SoilCompost and noncomposted organic matter both contain many microbial species. But the highest numbers and most diverse beneficial microbes are found in compost.Most gardeners are well aware of the old axiom, “Healthy soil is alive.” That can be taken a step farther: “The more alive, the healthier the soil.”An incredible diversity of organisms lives in healthy soil. They range in size from the tiniest one-celled bacteria, fungi, algae and protozoa to the more complex nematodes and earthworms.Soil organisms support plant growth as they decompose organic matter, cycle nutrients, enhance soil structure and compete with or in other ways inhibit the growth of harmful microbes. High-quality compost is literally swarming with beneficial microbes.When? How Much?Eight to 10 weeks before planting, broadcast the compost and incorporate it into the soil. Small amounts are helpful, but for the best results, the first application should be 20 to 30 pounds of compost per 100 square feet of garden soil.After that, annually applying 8 to 10 pounds per 100 square feet should be enough.Best TransplantsMany gardeners grow their own vegetable transplants. Growing their own enables them to have transplants of special varieties they couldn’t get otherwise. And it lets them have the transplants when they need them.Of special interest to those who grow their transplants, recent research compared conventional transplant growing media without compost to media amended with compost (20 percent of the volume).Bell pepper transplants grown in compost-amended media were better transplants. They had larger stems and more roots. And after being transplanted to the field, the transplants grown in the compost-amended media produced 20 percent more peppers (by weight) than the transplants grown in nonamended media. Many gardening activities are still a few months away. But some things need to be done before spring’s sunny days arrive. Compost, an excellent amendment for garden soils, needs to be applied several weeks before seeding or transplanting.Compost is decayed manures, animal litter, leaves and other organic matter. More precisely, it’s the product that results from composting, the process in which microorganisms convert these organic raw materials into organic residues such as humus.Composting transforms the original manure, leaves, etc., into a much more desirable and more valuable soil amendment.Why Apply Compost?Organic matter improves most garden soils because it: Supplies important plant nutrients.Helps soils better retain nutrient.Improves soil aeration.Helps prevent soil compaction.Makes water more able to move into soil and stay longer.Makes soil easier to work.
Learn the basics of composting on April 19 at Rock Eagle 4-H Center’s Saturday at the Rock event.Clarke County University of Georgia Extension agent Amanda Tedrow will explain the ingredients that make up successful composting while demonstrating different methods ranging from vermicomposting (composting with worms) to simple backyard compost piles. Participants learn the steps from beginning to end, trash to treasure, through hands-on demonstrations and information on building up, watering and turning piles. The session will also cover how to turn kitchen and yard scraps into nutrient-rich soil for home gardens and landscape beds. The class is appropriate for all ages and costs $5 per person. The program begins at 9:30 a.m. and concludes at 11:30 a.m. and includes an optional visit to Rock Eagle’s Diane Davies Natural History Museum following the composting lesson. Advanced registration is required. For more information or to register, contact Laura Kent at (706) 484-2881 or [email protected] Saturday at the Rock programs are held each month, excluding December. A complete list of sessions may be found online at www.rockeagle4h.org/ee/community/SaturdayattheRock.html.
First, clean your lenses. Start by rinsing off debris and grit in the sink. Then use a toothbrush and toothpaste to gently scrub away facial oils, fingerprints, and grime. Pat dry and buff with a soft towel. Store masks in individual plastic containers or bags to keep them clean and prevent scratches. Riverside, spray a few pumps of Quick-Spit onto your mask’s interior lenses. Tilt it from side to side, coating the glass totally. Then dip it into the water, washing away the solution completely. Repeat for the external lenses. TIP: If your face or fingers touch the glass, the point of contact will fog. So, bring along a cleaning kit just in case. GET EQUIPPED Then it hit me: Could we make it work in nearby rivers? I quickly added quality masks and snorkels to our tubing rigs and we hit the water. The response was an enthusiasm that—to my astonishment—dethroned skiing and snowboarding as my kids’ favorite outdoor to-do. Antifog SprayWithout it, lenses fog within seconds. Jaws brand Quick-Spit spray costs about $6 a bottle and should be applied on-site, each time you go out. Here’s how to do it right. Proper equipment is the foundation of great river snorkeling experiences. Luckily, quality gear is remarkably affordable. Here’s a list of essentials, with tips for choosing. Neoprene diving gloves protect water-softened fingers and hands from sharp rocks and debris. They’re great for grabbing boulders, pushing off rocks while swimming downstream, and more. Webbed gloves are like fins for your hands. Both options run around $30. FINDING SPOTS Use a similar approach for downstream trips. Begin with short journeys (.5 miles or so) in gentle currents with manageable depths and build from there. SnorkelsBuying a quality snorkel brings confidence that helps kids and adults adjust to the peculiarities of breathing while swimming underwater. Matching with mask brands ensures compatible connection systems and minimal obtrusiveness. Fins increase mobility and swimming efficiency, helping you dive deeper, slice through currents, and better follow fish. They also protect your feet. Look for a pair with short fins, closed pockets, and rugged grippy soles. Head Volo Ones do the trick for about $30. Pair them with neoprene water socks to avoid blisters (under $20). When my two kids were small, family canoe trips were easy. Then they got older and things like who sits in front, where to stop and swim, accidental paddle-splashes, or simply passing a bag of chips, led to near-constant bickering. Next came gripes about sitting still. My spouse soon refused to participate. • Be careful when rivers are high. Luckily, post-storm turbidity makes for bad snorkeling. Still, there are occasions when receding waters turn clear, but leave dangerously powerful currents. Check river gauges ahead of visits for depths and never swim in conditions that exceed any member of your party’s abilities. Another important factor: Light. Dense, bank-hugging forests bring excess shade and occluded viewing opportunities. Other considerations include skirts and buckles. The former should be high-grade silicone. For the latter, a frame-anchored quick-release system is best. Though slightly more expensive, they simplify adjustments considerably. But we learned quickly. And my kids have since become zealous advocates—urging friends and pretty much anyone we meet on the river to give the activity a try. I too wanna spread the message. Below is a guide to help you and your family get started. Innertube and Cooler RigLonger downstream swims bring considerations like portable hydration, snacks, and possible kiddie fatigue. Waterproof coolers and hydration packs can be lashed to sturdy innertubes with bottom-liners. The latter offer relief if someone needs a momentary break. Another option is to call outfitters. They know the local rivers well and are typically happy to make suggestions. They also offer cheap shuttles for point-to-point trips. Some, like North Carolina’s Oxbow River Snorkeling & Backcountry Adventures, do guided experiences. What to do? Tubing trips brought their own problems. Kayaks required buying a tow vehicle and trailer. I started longing for the simple, infectious Zen of family snorkeling trips in Hawaii and the Caribbean. The activity bundled exercise, summer swimming, quiet, and immersive nature experiences like no other. • Pollution. Sections of waterways near former or current industrial sites, power plants, cities, and so on, can sometimes be unsafe to swim in. When visiting new areas, first check for closures with your state’s department of game and inland fisheries (or equivalent agency). • Floating Downstream. Navigating riffles and small rapids while snorkeling takes some getting used to. Start by assessing areas and picking lines ahead of time. Deeper spots are easy enough to swim. Tackle shallower areas by crawling along head first (in a superman position), picking your way from rock to rock. Drag your feet and grab boulders to control speed. Wearing gloves will boost confidence and protect your hands and fingers. What Makes a Good Location?Freshwater snorkeling comes in three main forms: Exploring swimming holes and still-water areas, skulking upstream, and floating for longer distances downstream. So, deciding where to go depends on what you want to do. Good news aside, there was a substantial learning curve. We wasted outings on botched antifog treatments. Our first long trip nearly got us stranded by nightfall. Outings centered around isolated, densely forested sections brought near-zero visibility. The list goes on. Start SlowBegin with a trial run in an area with clear water and easy conditions. A swimming hole with negligible current, rocky bottoms, and walkable shallow areas that give way to depths of about eight feet is ideal. Fins & Gloves Gloves and fins are nice, but nonessential. (Ditto for wetsuits in summer conditions.) That said, they do enhance experiences. So, a word. Like mountain biking, skiing, and snowboarding, river snorkeling brings inherent dangers. Taking a few easy precautions minimizes risks. Masks While bargain packages may work passably in swimming pools, they will leak and fail in rivers. Instead, invest in upper-midrange or high-end offerings from professional brands like Cressi or TUSA. A premium mask will slash learning curves and maximize good times. Initially, it’s best to start with shorter distances—say, a mile or less. Pick spots where, should you finish too quickly, it’s easy to shuttle up for a repeat. Because, if the spot is good, second runs are desirable. River snorkeling is a great way for families to get outside, stay active, and explore nature. Small kids can wear life vests and catch interesting sights from the surface while learning to stay partially submerged and breathe through their snorkel. Older children can get familiarized with diving by belly-crawling in chest-deep water. That way, if they panic or get scared, they can simply stand up. Once they’re confident, they can move on to progressively deeper waters. Planning Calculating timing and mileages for downstream river snorkeling trips can be tricky. Some areas inspire lingering. Others, window-gazing as the current does its thing. There are a few requisites for choosing. First is a reliable dry guard that bars water from entering the tube when you dive. Second is flexible construction—allowing for mobility that won’t compromise your mask’s seal. Next is a comfortable, properly sized, high-grade silicone mouthpiece. Lastly, a purge valve for blowing out saliva and water. The Cressi Alpha Ultra Dry is great and costs about $40. The key to great family river snorkeling trips lies in finding good spots. That said, criteria for assessment will vary from group to group—depending on geography, kiddo swimming abilities, and so on. These tips and tricks will help attune your thinking and point you in the right direction. Next comes lenses. Tempered glass is a necessity. For younger kids, consider a dual-lens setup: Frames make them sturdier, less likely to fog, and easier to adjust. Adults and conscientious teens will enjoy frameless, single lens models—which offer a wider field of sight and better peripheral vision. The award-winning Cressi F1 sells for around $35. They delighted in exploring segments of rivers they’d complained relentlessly about having to paddle. Looking for fish and wildlife in underwater boulder fields, rocky crags, and gentle rapids brought endless amusement. They begged to stay despite fading sunlight and the need for dinner. At home, they consulted online freshwater guidebooks to discover what they’d seen. • Swim with buddies and stay close. Pay particular attention in areas with stronger currents and deeper waters. SAFETY & GETTING STARTED • Protective footwear. Unfortunately, irresponsible fishermen, litterers, and floods create dangerous hazards in rivers. Stepping on a fishing hook, shard of broken glass, or jagged rocks can ruin a trip and spell a visit to the emergency room. Best Practices But picking takes consideration. First and foremost is fit—a hair too big and you’ll get constant leakage. Visiting dive shops makes fittings easy. When buying online, take facial measurements and use sizing charts. Locate New AreasUnfamiliar with regional waterways? Try checking the website of your state’s department of game and inland fisheries (or equivalent agency). Virginia, for instance, lists rivers by region and offers canoeing and kayaking info for many sections—including fishing hotspots, which are often great for snorkeling. But there are common ingredients. Above all, fun snorkeling experiences hinge on underwater eye-candy, so clear water, rocky bottoms, and interesting ecosystems are the ticket. Mountain rivers that feed major tributaries are typically a good place to start. Features like long, relatively slow-moving sections filled with big boulders are havens for fish. Riffles also offer interesting pockets of rocks and wildlife. In Virginia, for instance, the headwaters of the Maury River at Goshen Pass are exemplary. Cover photo courtesy of Oxbow River Snorkeling & Backcountry Adventures, an outfitter offering guided trips in North Carolina.
By Dialogo May 26, 2009 it is good to visit areas where people do not get any medical services. thanks to all doctors team who regularly visit them and respect their profession in true manner with true services to all. The US Navy Hospital Ship “Comfort” will dock next Monday, for the purpose of conducting a humanitarian assistance mission throughout the Caribbean, Central America and Colombia. Representatives from the Panamanian Ministry of Health (Minsa) and from the U.S. Embassy in this country indicated today during the press conference that the ship will be anchored in the Port of Cristóbal in the city of Colón, in the Panamanian Caribbean. The primary objective of this visit, which was conducted for the first time in 2007, is to provide free medical assistance and to improve some of the health infrastructure of this Central American country. The “Comfort” will have a crew comprised of 925 members from France, Canada, Holland, Spain and the United States; 121 of the crew members are physicians, each one of them being able to examine up to 60 patients each, as explained by the Southern Command’s Surgeon General and Ship’s Captain, Miguel Cubano. The ship, which will be in Panama for 7 days, is 275 meters long, has 12 hospital wards and the space capacity for up to 1000 hospital beds. According to Cubano, all types of general surgery, pediatric and orthopedic operations will be performed on the ship, except for neurosurgical interventions and vascular surgery. Last April 1st, the ship “Comfort” set sail from Norfolk, Virginia (Unites States), and it visited Port-au-Prince (Haiti), Antigua and Barbuda, and afterwards it went from Panama towards Colombia, El Salvador and Nicaragua. The Clinical Supplies Director for the Panamanian Ministry of Health, Mario Rodríguez, stated that the ship did not come to Panama due to the increase in the number of cases of Influenza Type A. “The arrival of the ship is a coincidence, an activity that we had been coordinating for several months before the epidemic occurred. It did not happen because Panama had requested the US help with the influenza epidemic. It just arrived in a moment of humanitarian emergency,” Rodriguez said. In 2007, the American vessel conducted a mission throughout 12 Latin American countries, where more than 169,000 patients were assisted and 1500 operations were performed. A total of 20 million dollars was earmarked in order to cover the expenses of this two year mission, according to information provided by the US Embassy.