By Dialogo May 07, 2012 For the first time ever, psychologists employed by the Brazilian Air Force have been sent to a United Nations peacekeeping mission overseas in order to identify and understand the stresses that affect troops doing this kind of work. Last December, a team from the Air Force Psychology Institute (IPA) shadowed a Brazilian infantry battalion from Manaus that had been deployed to Port-au-Prince as part of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). The objective: to improve the training of soldiers sent on similar missions in the future. “It was a unique professional experience,” said Lt. Fabrícia Barros de Souza, a psychologist. “Our soldiers were very receptive, and contributed in a meaningful way to the data collection. They all showed they are highly qualified and mission-driven professionals.” The Brazilian Air Force offers air support to the Brazilian contingent within MINUSTAH and more recently has begun deploying infantry troops. The first infantry units arrived in February 2011 from the northeastern Brazilian cities of Recife, Natal and Fortaleza, but were later replaced by the platoon from Manaus, which remained until the end of April. “We believe it is of that upmost importance that, along with technical and operational excellence, we consider and constantly monitor the psychosocial aspects involved in a mission of this nature,” said Maj. Luis Felipe, an Air Force spokesman. The aim is to ensure that Brazilian troops — which have been in Haiti since 2004 — perform effectively without any harm to their safety and occupational health. Mission objectives The first contingent of Air Force troops deployed to Haiti underwent psychological assessments to determine if any had personal or family-related problems that could cause problems during or after the mission. “The project addresses the issue of stress in peace operations, as a specific part of the daily work of the Brazilian military,” explained Felipe. “Since this monitoring requires a feedback loop, we included a study of professional profiles and a survey of stressors, which would provide legitimacy to the work done with each new soldier.” Lt. Col. Ana Lúcia Lopez, deputy director of the Air Force Psychology Institute, helped her team conduct individual and group interviews, lectures and videoconferences; team members also participated in the daily routines of the soldiers they observed. “The work routine was intense and its results represent only the beginning of a bold venture that seeks to gain visibility for the role of psychology in the operational realm,” said Barros de Souza. Sources of stress Perhaps because these soldiers are not fighting a full-fledged war, it’s easy to underestimate the many sources of stress peacekeepers face, and the long-term effects of that stress. These include being away from the family, living in a different culture and the local conflicts that characterize these kinds of mission. In Haiti, this stress is exacerbated by the extremely poor living conditions of the local population; verbal aggression from some Haitians; the risk of sickness or death from infectious diseases; vulnerability to acts of violence without the ability to respond with weapons; the lack of communication resources to keep in touch with friends and family back home, and — perhaps worst of all — an inability to significantly improve the lives of local people. “The complexity of peace missions has also to do with placing the military in a new situation,” explained Felipe. “It is different than in traditional war, which from the psychological point of view is identified with uncertainty and the unknown.” In this case, he said, “there is also no enemy, which turns the objective of these operations in something more complicated than merely winning. These obstacles not only compromise the performance of the mission, but affect motivation and endanger a soldier’s physical and mental health.” The way forward The aim of the individual and group interviews was to collect data, but Felipe said “we were at their disposal if there was a need for intervention.” Despite limited contact with the locals, the Brazilian team left Port-au-Prince with the distinct impression that Haitians are quite receptive to MINUSTAH’s presence — especially children, who picked up the psychologists’ names in a heartbeat. “The troops say that the smiles of those children are a motivating factor for their work and, in a way, mitigate the adverse conditions of the mission,” said Felipe.
INDIANAPOLIS >> With All-Star forward Blake Griffin recovering from a broken shooting home in Los Angeles and the sluggish Clippers needing a spark Tuesday night, Doc Rivers got exactly what he needed.A big game from Chris Paul.The All-Star guard scored 19 of his 26 points in the second half including a 19-foot pullup jumper with 33.7 seconds left in the game and J.J. Redick added 19 points to help the short-handed Clippers hold on for a 91-89 victory at Indiana.“With all the stuff in the last 48 hours, we always say it’s the game that brings a team back,” Rivers said. “You could feel that (Tuesday). That was a good win for our team.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error The Clippers (29-16) desperately needed a victory to create some semblance of normalcy on an otherwise bizarre day.Just hours before playing the game, word leaked that Griffin had broken his shooting hand after punching equipment manager Matias Testi, one of his friends, in the face. The Clippers later confirmed Griffin would miss four to six weeks with the injury and could also face additional punishment.Before the game, Rivers answered question after question about what happened before joking with reporters he appreciated questions asked about the game. There were none.For the first 21/2 quarters, it looked like the distraction had taken a toll on the Clippers.But late in the third quarter, the defense buckled down and held the Pacers scoreless for nearly eight minutes as Los Angeles scored 13 straight points to take an 81-72 lead midway through the fourth. The Clippers never trailed again thanks largely to Paul, who made three 3-pointers and was 8 of 13 from the field in the second half and finished with six rebounds, seven assists and one steal. “It’s tough, I don’t know much about it,” Paul said, noting he had spoken to Griffin once since the incident in Toronto. “But for me, I’ve got to lead this team. We’ve got games to win.”Paul did everything he could to make sure the Clippers did win Monday though it sure wasn’t easy.Paul George had 31 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Pacers (23-22) and spurred a late 14-7 run that got the Pacers within 88-86 with 1:43 left in the game. His 3 with 28 seconds left made it 91-89 and after forcing a turnover with 2.1 seconds to go, Indiana had a chance to force overtime or win the game.Instead, Jamal Crawford deflected the inbound pass from the frontcourt to the backcourt on the opposite side, running off all but 0.3 seconds. George Hill then tried to lob the ball into the paint, but it bounced off the backboard all the way past midcourt before the Clippers touched it to run out the clock.“We had lot of plays that we wish we could have taken back, just poor execution, poor spacing,” George said after the Pacers’ third straight loss. “We just did a terrible job during that (eight-minute) stretch.”
A pork-knocker was on Friday released on $50,000 bail after he denied a charge of ganja possession when he appeared at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts.Lindon Lanizon appeared before Magistrate Leron Daly and pleaded not guilty to the charge which stated that on March 6, 2019, while in the vicinity of Water Street, Georgetown, he had in his possession 11 grams of cannabis for the purpose of trafficking.The prosecution is contending that the 49-year-old man was found with seed, leaves and stems suspected to be cannabis at about 18:00h when police on patrol duties on Water Street conducted a search of his person.Police Prosecutor Christopher Morris objected to bail. The prosecution’s objection was overruled by the Magistrate. The case will continue on April 5, 2019.