By Julieta Pelcastre/Diálogo August 18, 2017 The U.S. Department of State donated six virtual shooting ranges to the Costa Rican Ministry of Public Security (MSP, per its Spanish acronym). The technology will contribute to the training and professional development of the various public security bodies for the improvement of their emergency response capability. The donation, valued at almost $800,000, was made by the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs through the U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica, as part of the cooperation agreements between the two countries. The new equipment was presented to Costa Rica on July 7th at a ceremony at the National Police Academy in San José. The gathering was attended by Costa Rican Minister of Public Security Gustavo Mata, and the then U.S. ambassador, Stafford Fitzgerald Haney. “By [the third week of August] at the latest, we will begin officially training the first units,” Commissioner Erick Lacayo Rojas, the director of the Costa Rican National Police Academy, told Diálogo. “With this virtual system we will improve our systems for officer education, training, and specialization,” he said. “We don’t intend for this to replace firearms practice. Nevertheless, the technology will help improve the instruction of officers in stressful and delicate situations, with the goal of improving their response capacity.” Cutting edge technology Every virtual simulator includes software and three screens that recreate various 180-degree scenarios. It allows for the inclusion of outdoor conditions such as lighting, the wind, weather, distance, physical spaces, and ammunition trajectory. The personnel doing the security work will put operational protocols into practice, and reinforce their legal knowledge as well as their knowledge on the use of force and of human rights, which is required when using tools employed by police and military agencies throughout the world. “This type of technology will give them the opportunity to not only fire at different distances but also know when they don’t have to fire,” Minister Mata stated. “Using a firearm is indispensable for a police officer.” The simulation systems will provide the instructor with a detailed report on the performance of the police officer, including the number of shots fired and response time. Each trainee will also learn how they react when confronted with a dangerous situation or a criminal act. The U.S. government support will also include training on the use of the virtual shooting ranges for 10 representatives from each of the police departments comprising MSP. Personnel from the National Police Academy, the Police Force, the Air Surveillance Service, the National Coast Guard Service, the Border Police, and the Correctional Officer Force will serve as certified instructors for other officers in their respective institutions. New scenarios will also be designed relating to criminal activity facing the country, such as clandestine airstrip use, gender violence, assault, kidnapping, hostage taking, kidnapping, and carjacking. Better preparation at a lower cost The donation will contribute to the reduction of costs in the teaching and evaluation of officers. “It is easier to create a virtual reality prototype, in which different Police Force teams can participate than to create a realistic scenario. That is more costly for the training process,” Luis Álvarez, director of Álvarez Integrated Systems, a security training company collaborating with the Costa Rican MSP, told Diálogo. “The use of virtual shooting ranges results in high costs savings. In Costa Rica, a 50-round box of nine-millimeter ammunition costs around $25,” Álvarez said. “In a virtual system, 50 shots can be fired in less than 10 minutes. In a real shooting range, you need to supply the ammunition on a regular basis.” “With one dollar they can acquire the resources to operate the virtual simulator and use it 500 times,” Commissioner Lacayo said. “This way we can integrate real practice while staying under budget, and get better results in real-time decision making.” The V-180 simulator is more valuable for training than a firearms simulator with only one screen. The realistic training platform produces better decision-making in life-or-death situations, saving the lives of civilians and officers, according to information from Virtra, the company responsible for maintaining the shooting ranges. “We should use the tool in a logical, academic manner; we have had an important preview of its implementation, how evaluations will be done, and how we’ll measure the impact of our scenarios,” Commissioner Lacayo stated. “It’s not just about coming to the shooting range and firing. The trainees must go through an academic and practical training process. The more training the better the teacher,” Álvarez added. According to MSP, in addition to the six virtual shooting ranges, other equipment is scheduled to come from the U.S. government. The equipment that will arrive in November includes two 110-foot vessels, two Sky Troop airplanes, three helicopters and three tactical vehicles. “All this equipment will improve the skills, capacities, and the professionalism of our officers who look after the security of this country, day in and day out,” concluded Minister Mata.
Image courtesy of Poten & PartnersChinese LNG imports are on track to set an annual record this year due to strong policy support, with January and February imports averaging more than 4 million tonnes per month, according to the consultancy Poten & Partners.LNG imports hit a record 5.18 million tonnes in January, 51% higher than the same month last year. Official data for February shows that China imported 3.99 million tonnes in February.Based on this data, Chinese LNG demand November through February would have increased by 50% to 18.26 million tonnes, the consultancy noted in a report issued last week.To remind, in the meantime, official customs data showed that China imported 3.25 million tonnes of LNG in March, up 64.2 percent from March 2017.“In a typical year since China imported its first LNG in 2006, state-owned terminal operators would be told to ensure adequate LNG supply during the winter – November through February – because China relied on it for gas supply security during its peak energy demand,” Poten said.However, this was the first year operators have been officially ordered to guarantee sufficient LNG supply throughout the year, Poten said citing industry sources.Coal-to-gas switching policies put in place last year would continue to be enforced throughout North China this year, and there is room for more conversions to be completed, especially in Hebei province, according to the consultancy.On the infrastructure side, new terminals to be commissioned this year in China include Sinopec’s Tianjin, CNOOC’s Shenzhen Diefu, ENN’s Zhoushan and Shenzhen Gas’s small-scale facility, while CNOOC Tianjin could complete a 160,000-m3 storage tank this coming winter, Poten said.
Big Zee is in – and starting.Steven Kampfer also in, David Backes out. pic.twitter.com/SO6wIWCu43— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) June 7, 2019Chara was wearing a clear plastic wraparound chin guard on his helmet and was not in a red non-contact jersey during morning skate.Zdeno Chara. On the ice. pic.twitter.com/CrgN2mOeg8— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) June 6, 2019Unable to speak to reporters, Chara, answering questions via the Bruins, said his situation ahead of Game 5 is no different than most players in the Final.“At this time of the playoffs, everyone has injuries and there are challenges that you have to overcome to play,” Chara said. “I’m no different than any player on either team.”Asked Thursday morning about the status of Chara and fellow defenseman Matt Grzelcyk, who has been in the NHL’s concussion protocol, coach Bruce Cassidy said: “They’re on the ice now, so that’s a good sign. We’ll see how they feel around 7-7:30 tonight.”Cassidy said the initial fear was that Chara sustained a concussion, but he didn’t.”That’s toughness, that’s leadership … the guy’s a legend for a reason,” defenseman John Moore said. “The guy’s 42. When I’m 42, I’m certainly not going to be the first guy in the gym, weighing all my food, squatting the most on the team.”🎥 John Moore on Zdeno Chara taking part in morning skate: “That’s toughness, that’s leadership…the guy’s a legend for a reason.” pic.twitter.com/vpwB99iRjS— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) June 6, 2019Chara, 42, left Monday’s game at the 3:07 mark of the second period with blood dripping from his mouth in what became a 4-2 loss that evened the series at 2-2.The Bruins haven’t offered any specifics on Chara’s injury, but The Athletic’s Blues reporter and Boston’s WEEI radio reported Tuesday that Chara’s jaw was broken in the incident. Both reports cited unidentified sources.Cassidy after the game said only Chara “had some stitches, probably (will have) some dental work in the near future.”Although WEEI’s source characterized Chara as “done-ski” for the Stanley Cup Final, Chara’s taking part in Thursday’s skate raises the possibility, even likelihood, that he’ll try and play. Chara wasn’t on the ice for the team’s practice Wednesday morning in Boston (per masslive.com).“We prepare as if he’s going to play,” Blues coach Craig Berube said Wednesday (via KSDK.com). “That team will be hungry and that team will be desperate.”Fellow defenseman Matt Grzelcyk will be out. He has been down since he was injured in Game 2 after a boarding penalty by the Blues’ Oskar Sundqvist, who was suspended for Game 3 over the high hit.Veteran Steven Kampfer and youngster Urho Vaakanainen, 20, practiced Wednesday on the Bruins’ third and fourth defensive pairings.#NHLBruins practice lines:Marchand – Bergeron – PastrnakDeBrusk – Krejci – BackesJohansson – Coyle – HeinenNordstrom – Kuraly – AcciariMoore – McAvoyKrug – CarloKampfer – CliftonGrzelcyk – VaakanainenRaskHalak— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) June 5, 2019After Chara went out Monday, Boston was forced to rely on its remaining five defensemen. Charlie McAvoy led the Bruins with 25:51 of ice time and Torey Krug was second at 24:11, per NHL.com.There’s this context too: The re-energized Blues claimed after their victory that the relatively penalty-free heavy game they played to tie the series Monday took its toll on a thin Bruins back end. “I think we are wearing them down when they don’t have six (defensemen),” Sundqvist said. “Obviously, you don’t want to see a guy take puck in the mouth. It’s kind of like when you saw (Blues defenseman Vince Dunn) do it. But five D against our forecheck, I don’t think it’s that easy.” Chara was injured when Blues center Brayden Schenn’s shot hit Chara’s stick and deflected into his face. Chara fell to the ice and when he lifted his head there was blood visible. Cameras caught him with a bloodied mouth as he skated off the ice.Ouch. 😷Zdeno Chara headed straight to the dressing room after taking a puck to the mouth. #StanleyCup pic.twitter.com/q0zZWErwq3— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) June 4, 2019The defenseman returned to the bench in the third period with a full clear mask but did not get back into the game.“That’s the type of guy he is, come out and be there to support,” Bruins center Charlie Coyle said. “You never want to see that happen to anyone, especially someone on your team, someone who is such a big part of our team playing-wise, leadership-wise. It’s not an ideal situation, but it’s how you respond to adversity and you see a lot of it during this time of year.”UPDATE: Zdeno Chara has returned for the 3rd period with a full face cage. #StanleyCup pic.twitter.com/SbOvPQolhI— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) June 4, 2019Through 20 playoff games, Chara is plus-12 with a goal and four assists. He played more than 24 minutes in Games 2 and 3, but was limited by the injury to just 8:23 in Game 4, though he did pick up an assist on Coyle’s goal.The Blues were leading 2-1 when Chara went out, but the Bruins quickly scored in his absence to tie the score heading into the final period. Zdeno Chara is “a legend for a reason,” an awed Bruins teammate says.The Boston captain, who reportedly suffered a broken jaw in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday in St. Louis when he was struck in the face with a puck, is active for Game 5 and will start. St. Louis scored two unanswered goals in the third to seal the first Stanley Cup Final victory on home ice in Blues history — and turn the series into a best-of-three affair.Game 5 is set for 8 p.m. ET Thursday at TD Bank Garden.With reporting by Sporting News’ Jackie Spiegel in Boston.