By Taciana Moury/Diálogo July 13, 2017 The Brazilian Air Force’s (FAB, per its Portuguese acronym) C-105 Amazonas, H-60 Black Hawk, and A-29 Super Tucano aircraft could be deployed on United Nations (UN) peacekeeping missions. UN representatives were in Brazil to visit FAB air units, where they ascertained readiness of the available assets and elevated the country to level two on the United Nations Peacekeeping Capability Readiness System (UNPCRS). However, in order to effectively begin operations, it must reach level four, which could happen before the end of 2017. “When we receive a UN invitation to take part in a certain mission, and when we begin drawing up relevant agreements, we will be elevated to level three,” said Air Force Colonel Gerson Cavalcanti de Oliveira, the head of the International Cooperation Systems Section of the FAB Joint Staff. He said that the UN is expected to extend the invitation sometime in the second half of this year. “Only after the agreements are signed will the country be elevated to level four, and then it will have 90 days to deploy its assets on the assigned mission,” said Col. Cavalcanti. However, there is a long way to go before air assets can be effectively deployed. “After the visit, the UN submits a request to the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Relations (MRE, per its Portuguese acronym) for the use of Brazilian air assets on a certain mission. MRE analyzes the request and, if it agrees, it informally consults with the Brazilian Ministry of Defense (MD, per its Portuguese acronym) in order to analyze the operational feasibility of the mission,” he added. Col. Cavalcanti also explained that after the consultation, MD submits a request to FAB to evaluate the mission and issue an opinion to MRE, which would include the costs of deployment. MRE, in turn, will ask the Brazilian Ministry of Planning and Lower House of Representatives whether the necessary funding exists. If approved, MRE will then formally reply to the UN request. After voting and approval by the Lower House, the formal documentation is submitted for the president’s approval. “If the process goes smoothly, the plan is for these aircraft to be deployed in the second half of 2018,” he said. Air units visited Three air units were inspected: the 7º/8º GAV (H-60L Black Hawk), the 1º/9º GAV (C-105 Amazonas) in Manaus in the state of Amazonas, and the 2º/3º GAV (A-29 Super Tucano) in the city of Porto Velho in the state of Rondônia, both located in the northern region of the country. Personnel from the MD, Joint Peacekeeping Operations Center in Brazil, the Readiness Command, and the Brazilian Air Force Joint Staff also participated in the visits, which were held at the end of April. During the visit, Pakistani Army Colonel Humayun Chohan Zia, the leader of the UN delegation, stated in an interview with the Air Force Agency that it is quite probable that Brazil will deploy its air assets to Africa and other missions. “Brazil has already made a considerable contribution to the United Nations with its support in Haiti (to the MINUSTAH), and it also has had significant individual representations on several missions as staff and observers,” he said. Col. Cavalcanti explained that the air units to be visited were chosen because of the geographical proximity among them, which facilitated the inspection process. “That does not mean that the aircraft to be used will only come from the visited squadrons. Both aircraft and crews may be drawn from any FAB unit that operates those particular pieces of equipment.” Aircraft One of the aircraft models offered by FAB to participate in UN peacekeeping missions is the H-60 Black Hawk, which is used in more than 80 countries worldwide. These aircraft can transport up to 12 people and can get security troops to areas that are otherwise difficult to access. They can carry an external payload of up to four tons and have a complete team and the necessary equipment for aeromedical assistance and evacuations, search-and-rescue missions and, if necessary, even aerial defense. According to FAB, two squadrons operate the aircraft in Brazil. In addition to the Harpia Squadron (7º/8º GAV), the Pantera Squadron (5º/8º GAV), which is based in Santa Maria in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, also deploys the helicopter. This means that a grand total of 16 aircraft with 65 pilots are capable of operating on UN peacekeeping missions. The A-29 aircraft is used on air defense missions by four squadrons: Grifo (2º/3º GAV); Escorpião (1º/3º GAV), located in Boa Vista in the state of Roraima; Flecha (3º/3º GAV), in Campo Grande in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, and Joker (2º/5º GAV), in Natal in the state of Rio Grande do Norte. The tactical and weapons capabilities were some of the advantages of the aircraft presented by FAB during the inspection. “These aircraft could provide the peacekeeping forces with vital information, thus increasing their situational awareness,” Lieutenant Colonel Luiz Ângelo de Andrade, the commanding officer of the Griffin Squadron, said to the Air Force Agency. The C-105 Amazonas, on the other hand, could be deployed for tactical and strategic airlifting, air dropping of paratroopers and payloads, and medical evacuations. They can also perform search and rescue missions, drop vaccines, food, and potable water into hard-to-reach areas, transport the sick and wounded, and provide support during natural disasters. According to FAB, Brazil operates 11 C-105 aircraft, and 51 pilots are trained to fly them. Col. Cavalcanti emphasized the operational gains FAB would obtain by deploying its air assets during UN peacekeeping missions. “Many of the basic aerial roles and missions that FAB is trained for could be executed during peacekeeping missions,” he said, adding that such missions will enable it to increase its logistical and operational capabilities within what is established for strategic FAB operations. “The UN covers the cost of fuel and maintenance for the aircraft and their deployment. Furthermore, peacekeeping missions involve simultaneous operations with several other air forces,” he concluded.
Dec 12, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – With this year’s US influenza epidemic barely getting started, there are already signs of increased viral resistance to oseltamivir (Tamiflu), the most widely used antiviral drug, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said today.In its flu surveillance report for Nov 30 to Dec 6, released today, the CDC said 45 of 46 influenza A/H1N1 viruses tested so far have shown resistance to oseltamivir.All the H1N1 viruses were susceptible to zanamivir (Relenza), the other antiviral drug in the neuraminidase inhibitor class, the agency reported. All tested influenza A/H3N2 and B viruses were susceptible to both oseltamivir and zanamivir. Sixty-three percent of all the viruses tested came from only two states.The CDC said all the H1N1 viruses also were susceptible to the adamantanes (amantadine and rimantadine), the older class of flu antivirals. However, 5 of 5 H3N2 viruses tested were resistant to the adamantanes (which do not work against type B viruses). The CDC has been recommending against using the adamantanes since January 2006 because of high resistance rates in H3N2 viruses.With only three states reporting more than scattered flu cases so far, the CDC said it’s too early to assess how common resistance to either class of drugs will be.”Limited data on antiviral resistance, as well as the uncertainty regarding which influenza virus types or subtypes will circulate during the season, make it too early to make an accurate determination of the prevalence of influenza viruses’ resistance to oseltamivir or the adamantanes . . . nationally or regionally at this time,” the report said.Increased H1N1 resistance to oseltamivir cropped up during the last flu season in the United States and a number of other countries. By the end of the season, 10.9% (106 of 969) of H1N1 viruses tested had shown the mutation associated with resistance, the CDC reported in May. All the isolates remained sensitive to zanamivir.After the resistance problem emerged last winter, the World Health Organization said there was no evidence that the resistant H1N1 viruses caused more severe illness or spread more easily than susceptible H1N1 viruses.In its update today, the CDC said only Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Texas reported local flu activity in early December. Another 24 states, with Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico, reported sporadic cases, and 23 states reported no flu activity.In addition, only 1.3% of patient medical visits reported through the CDC’s Outpatient Influenza-like Illness Surveillance Network were due to flu-like illness, which is well below the national baseline of 2.4%, the agency said.The CDC said it has tested 36 isolates so far to determine how well they match up with the strains used in this year’s flu vaccine. The 20 H1N1 and 3 H3N2 isolates tested were all found to be similar to the corresponding strains in the vaccine.Of the 13 type B isolates tested, 4 belonged to the Yamagata lineage, the type used in the vaccine. However, the other 9 B isolates—8 of which were from one state—belonged to the Victoria lineage, the CDC said.The agency said “limited to no protection” may be expected when the circulating and vaccine strains belong to different lineages. However, it said the data available so far must be interpreted cautiously because so few isolates were tested and most of them came from only two states. Also, the report said, the results may not correlate with clinical protection conferred by the vaccine because the testing involves ferret serum.The B strain in the seasonal vaccine was changed from the Victoria lineage to the Yamagata lineage for this season. The switch was prompted by a mismatch last year, when most of the type B viruses in circulation were of the Yamagata lineage.See also: CDC flu surveillance report for Nov 30 through Dec 6http://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/CDC flu surveillance report for the week ended May 10http://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/weeklyarchives2007-2008/weekly19.htmFeb 1 CIDRAP News story “Europe says Tamiflu-resistant virus seen in 9 countries”Feb 14 CIDRAP News story “WHO advises total makeover for 2008-09 flu vaccine”
These workers roam around the vicinity of the Kalibo International Airport. JUN AGUIRRE/PN KALIBO, Aklan – As the threat of the coronavirusdisease 2019 (COVID-19) persists, more airline companies have announced furtherreduction of their operation at the Kalibo International Airport (KIA),according to the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP). CAAP-Kalibo chief Engr. Eusebio MonserateJr. said KIA will have no more international flights beginning March 8 thisyear. Monserate added the global scare of theCOVID-19 has prompted various carriers operating at the KIA to halt their services.Some of the airlines that will expand their suspension of flights includeAirAsia and Pan Pacific. “The CAAP central office has noadvisories against any travel ban for now. The cancellation of flights was thedecision of the airline companies themselves,” Monserate explained. Monserate, however, clarified that the suspensionis indefinite. “There are also chartered flightsscheduled on March 23 and 25. From then, we will await for advisories if whenthe international flights would resume,” he added. On March 1, a flight was expected toarrive to KIA from Taiwan but was cancelled. The last international flights to bringpassengers to the KIA will be coming from Incheon and Busan – both cities fromSouth Korea on March 7. Monserate noted that the KIA willcontinue to operate their three domestic flights from and to Manila, Cebu andClark./PN
The termination VFA, which is central to one of Washington’s most important alliances in Asia, was due to take effect in August and was Duterte’s biggest move yet towards delivering on longstanding threats to downgrade ties with the Philippines’ former colonial ruler.On Feb. 11, Duterte ordered the abrogation of the VFA after the US revoked the visa of former Philippine National Police chief and now senator, Ronald Dela Rosa, his close ally.Locsin said many countries in the region and the world find the Philippine government’s decision reassuring.“Let me assure you that this action alarms no countries in Asia and the rest of the world. On the contrary it greatly reassures everyone,” Locsin said.The US welcomed the Philippine government’s decision in a statement released after Locsin’s social media post.“Our long-standing alliance has benefited both countries, and we look forward to continued close security and defense cooperation with the Philippines,” a US Embassy statement said.Meanwhile, Defense secretary Delfin Lorenzana welcomed the development saying this could mean more US assistance at the time the country is facing the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.The VFA governs the treatment of US servicemen in military units and defense personnel who are in the Philippine territory for short periods for joint military exercises approved by both the Philippine and US governments.It entered into force on May 27, 1999 , eight years after the closure of US military bases in the Philippines in 1991. It was negotiated and signed during the time of President Fidel V. Ramos and ratified during President Joseph Estrada’s time.Over the years, the US military also assisted the Armed Forces of the Philippines in combating extremist groups by providing technical assistance and enemy surveillance to Filipino troops battling the militants. (With Reuters/PN) United States Marines arrive in an amphibious assault vehicle during the amphibious landing exercises of the US-Philippines war games promoting bilateral ties at a military camp in Zambales province, April 11, 2019. ELOISA LOPEZ/REUTERS/FILE ‘Superpower tensions,’ pandemic led Duterte to backtrack MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte has suspended his decision to terminate a two-decade-old troop deployment agreement with the United States (US) due to “political and other developments in the region.” Foreign secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. announced Tuesday that President Duterte reversed his decision to abrogate the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and ordered the suspension of the agreement for six months.“We look forward to continuing our strong military partnership with the US even as we continue to reach out to our regional allies in building a common defense towards enduring stability and peace continuing economic progress and prosperity in our part of the world,” Locsin said.