From St. Kitts to Suriname, Caribbean Drug Runners Try to Evade the Law

first_imgBy Dialogo September 02, 2011 Caribbean cocaine smugglers are finding ever more brazen ways of getting drugs past customs agents — with officials in the past few weeks discovering the illicit white powder hidden in everything from iron pipes to Hindu religious objects. On Aug. 16, anti-narcotics police in English-speaking Guyana seized more than 72 kilos of cocaine stashed in the false bottoms of havan kunds — traditional metal urns filled with wood and camphor. The square, cast-iron receptacles, which are normally used to light fires during Hindu rituals, were to have been shipped to North America. Seelall Persaud, assistant commissioner at the criminal investigations unit of the Guyana Police Force, said cocaine was found in 148 of 426 kunds, and that it had a street value of $2.4 million. Persaud said the man who was arrested in the case refused to cooperate. Asked by local press whether the cocaine was prepared specifically for export, Persaud replied that “the fact of the concealment suggests that.” He declined to say whether the destination was the United States or Canada. The married couple arrested in the probe, along with two teenage children, operates a taxi service along Guyana’s East Coast Demerara region. On Aug. 29, the Dominican Republic’s National Drug Control Agency seized 97 packages of cocaine hidden inside 14 iron bars that were being shipped from the port of Haina to Barcelona, Spain, as part of a consignment of scrap metal. Roberto Lebrón, spokesman for the DNCD, said the 103 kilos of cocaine was found in one container alone, and that other freight containers in the same shipment are also suspected of carrying drugs. Lebrón said the agency’s president, Maj. Gen. Rolando Rosado Mateo, personally directed the operation — which represents the second seizure of cocaine on the docks at Haina this week. The Dominican Republic was also the source of a suspicious container seized Aug. 29 by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials in San Juan, Puerto Rico. While inspecting the M/V Sydney Express, CBP officers noticed a discrepancy between the ship’s arrival manifest and a container seal. Upon opening the container for further examination, they found four large duffel bags containing 125 packages of narcotics, including 135.2 kilos of cocaine worth $3.38 million. Later that same afternoon, two more duffel bags were found in another container on the ship. Those bags contained 49 packages of drugs, including 51 kilos of cocaine worth $1.07 million, and two kilos of heroin worth $164,800. On Aug. 17, DNCD agents seized 810 kilos of cocaine during a raid in a residential area of Santo Domingo. Some of the drugs were hidden in a closet, and the rest were found in eight sacks in a black sport-utility vehicle. Nelson Toribio Custodio, 34, was arrested, said DNCD officials, who also recovered an Uzi submachine gun, a revolver and a Municipal Police uniform from the house. On Aug. 11, police on Grand Bahama Island seized 147 pounds of cocaine worth $1.2 million. The drugs had been stashed in a shipping crate at the Freeport Container Port. “As a result of reported anomalies within a container, the container was opened, and a search was conducted which led to the discovery of two large black duffel bags containing square tape packages suspected of being cocaine,” said a statement from the Royal Bahamas Police Force. The container originated in Peru and was destined for Canada. Earlier this month, Jamaican customs authorities confiscated 65 kilos of cocaine worth $1.5 million that had originated in Suriname. This marks the second time in two months that drugs have been found aboard the M/V Vega Azurit. The latest seizure took place at the Kingston docks, in a five-hour operation involving Customs and several other agencies. The drugs were apparently hidden in a shipment of several hundred logs from the Aroalma Forest Producers Association. Less than half a year ago, Jamaican officials seized 112.5 kilos of narcotics worth $2.5 million from that same vessel. In mid-August, Surinamese authorities intercepted around 30 kilos of cocaine at Paramaribo’s Johan Adolf Pengel International Airport in three separate cases. The first involved 21 kilos discovered during a routine scan. The second resulted in the arrest of two vegetable exporters who attempted to smuggle 7.5 kilos of cocaine in a shipment of okra. In the third case, a middle-aged Dutchman was arrested with liquid cocaine in two perfume bottles and 116 pellets in his stomach. On the tiny Caribbean island of Nevis — the smaller of the twin-island nation of St. Kitts & Nevis — police discovered and uprooted 5,000 marijuana plants ranging up to 11 feet high, with a total street value of around $2 million. Kittitian lawmakers are urging Prime Minister Denzil Douglas to declare a state of emergency to deal with the country’s worsening drug-related violence. In Trinidad & Tobago, drugs and crime have gotten so out of hand that Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar on Aug. 22 did just that. The country’s “limited” state of emergency, announced by Persad in a nationally televised address, includes a 9 p.m.-to-5 a.m. curfew in key cities and towns, with 5,000 soldiers assisting police in making searches and arrests. Trinidad’s foreign minister, Surujrattan Rambachan, said the country’s sudden spike in all types of violence including homicides follows the Aug. 16 seizure of $22 million worth of cocaine — prompting gangs to seek retribution for their losses. Parliament may vote to extend that state of emergency for 90 days. Persad promised to “hunt down and bring to justice” the perpetrators of drug-related crime. “Our nation must not be held to ransom by marauding groups of thugs bent on creating havoc in our society,” she said. “The current crime spree dictates that more must be done and stronger action must be deplored now.”last_img read more

Members are best for brand advocacy programs

first_img 3SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr As a marketer, I aspire to achieve the results that brands like Apple, Samsung, Coca-Cola, and Nike have seen. Yes, they are some of the world’s most successful companies, but these brands also have some of the strongest brand followers. This is the pinnacle of marketing — when your customers will fight tooth and nail to defend, advocate, and market your brand for you. Isn’t that the dream?It happens more often than you think, though on a much smaller scale than any of these companies. It’s been proventhat referral marketing is one of the most effective forms of marketing. But how do you, as a small company that lacks a multibillion-dollar marketing budget, effectively build, grow, and leverage your customer base to create a successful brand advocacy program?The key is simple. You build a strong foundation and actively engage your customers with your brand. continue reading »last_img read more

Back to the Future – DoD reverts MLA guidance to 2016 edition

first_imgOn February 28, 2020 the Department of Defense (DoD) issued a third interpretive rule for its Military Lending Act (MLA) regulations. This adds one more finite question & answer to DoD’s list and reverts to guidance originally issued in 2016. For those not in the weeds on this issue, first we will take a walk down memory lane to help explain what this means for credit union operations.The original MLA regulations only applied to three kinds of products: payday loans; tax refund anticipation loans; and vehicle title loans, when made to certain servicemembers and their dependents (covered borrowers). Effective October 3, 2016, the DoD expanded the scope of these rules to include most consumer credit products, with certain statutory exceptions including vehicle purchase loans and residential loans. Credit cards became subject to the MLA on October 3, 2017. The MLA includes disclosure requirements and limitations such as a 36% Military Annual Percentage Rate (MAPR) cap. NAFCU members can find comprehensive guidance in our MLA Compliance Guide and our many Compliance Blogposts on this topic can be found here.Implementing the MLA posed many challenges for credit unions from 2015 to 2017. This was in part because of ambiguities in the rules. As a result, the DoD issued interpretative rules in August 2016 and December 2017, attempting to provide some clarity. Both times, the interpretative rules were helpful in some aspects, yet also created new questions as well. ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr continue reading »last_img read more

Proposed budget cuts state biodefense funds, boosts drug stockpile

first_img In discussing the CDC’s state bioterrorism preparedness grants, HHS’ budget report says, “The FY 2006 budget retargets some preparedness resources, making modest reductions in awards to states, and concentrating efforts in directed investments that will benefit the nation as a whole.” But the HHS report says grants from that program often duplicate other CDC programs, so it is being eliminated in the name of efficiency. The SNS increase includes $50 million for portable hospital units that could be used to treat victims of a bioterrorist attack, according to HHS. That total includes the $600 million for the SNS, $797 million for state and local preparedness, $140 million for upgrading CDC capacity and anthrax research, and $79 million for “biosurveillance.” The latter consists mainly of BioSense, a program to automatically sift electronic health data in search of potential public health problems. Commenting on the administration’s efforts to hold down domestic spending, Leavitt said, “No question, we have made some tough choices. If we had an unlimited budget, we would spend more on many programs; since we don’t, we have focused money on the most urgent priorities that will make the biggest difference in the health and well-being of all Americans.” The proposed budget includes $34 million for the CDC’s global disease surveillance efforts, an increase of $12 million, according to HHS. TFAH analysis of CDC budget Thanks mainly to the 51% increase for the national stockpile, total CDC funds for bioterrorism would be $1.616 billion, an increase of $56 million over 2005 spending, according to HHS. Feb 11, 2005 (CIDRAP News) – The Bush administration has proposed cutting funds that support state and local preparedness for bioterrorism and other health emergencies in fiscal year 2006, drawing protests from public health advocacy groups. Public health groups criticize cutsBut the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) said the proposed cuts “would weaken the ability of state and local public health agencies to respond to bioterrorism, emerging infectious diseases, or other public health threats and emergencies.” See also: One program marked to get some of the retargeted money, according to the HHS report, is the Cities Readiness Initiative, an effort to equip major cities to quickly distribute drugs and medical supplies in the event of a bioterrorist attack. HHS officials first revealed plans to divert some money from state bioterrorism grants to that program in May 2004. A $240 million reduction in spending for buildings and facilities makes up much of the decrease. HHS officials said that reduction results from the completion of major building projects, according to a Feb 8 report by Statement by HHS Secretary Leavitt However, the proposal for the fiscal year that begins next October would increase funding for the nation’s emergency stockpile of drugs and medical supplies by more than 50%. The budget was released Feb 7. CDC to take 6% reductionThe overall CDC budget would be reduced $491 million, to $7.5 billion, according to the HHS report. That amounts to about a 6.1% cut. But an analysis by the TFAH puts the reduction at $531 million, or 6.6%. CDC funding for state and local bioterrorism preparedness would drop from $927 million this year to $797 million in 2006, a 14% decrease, according to a Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) budget report. The budget would reduce overall state and local bioterrorism preparedness funds by 12.6%, according to public health groups. The money includes grants from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for state and local health agencies and funds from the Hospital Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) for hospital preparedness. Another proposed change is the elimination of the CDC’s Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant program, which is providing $131 million to states this year. The funds can be used to deal with unexpected health emergencies such as Escherichia coli outbreaks or to help prevent injuries and chronic diseases, according to ASTHO. The Trust for America’s Health (TFAH), a nonpartisan advocacy group, also expressed disappointment with the proposed cuts, as did the Infectious Diseases Society of America. HHS is proposing to spend a total of $439 million on influenza, including $120 million for pandemic influenza preparedness, a subject much on the minds of public health experts because of avian influenza in Asia. The latter amount, a $21 million increase, was applauded by the APHA and TFAH. The money is intended “to develop the year-round domestic surge vaccine production capacity that will be needed in a pandemic, including new cell culture vaccine manufacturing processes,” the department’s report says. But the proposal would increase funds for the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) of drugs and medical supplies from $397 million this year to $600 million in 2006, a 51% increase. “We’re requesting $600 million to buy additional medicines, replace old ones, provide specialized storage, and get any needed medicine and supplies to any location in the United States within 12 hours,” HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt said in a Feb 7 briefing. Since the terrorist attacks of 2001, the administration has spent or requested nearly $19.2 billion for bioterrorism preparedness, including the 2006 request, Leavitt said. Proposed HRSA funding for hospital preparedness would be $483 million, a drop of about 3% from this year’s spending level of $498 million, according to HHS figures. TFAH release The American Public Health Association (APHA) echoed that view. APHA Executive Director Georges C. Benjamin, MD, said the increased funding of the past few years has strengthened the nation’s preparedness and the public health system. “But after suffering decades of neglect, cuts will jeopardize the initial progress we made,” he added.last_img read more

6th Regional Forum of Family Accommodation in Lika: What about (corona) tourism in 2021?

first_imgGuests of the Lika Club portal panel are; Boris Šuljić, owner of the Boškinac hotel and winery from Novalja, Hrvojka Božić, director of the Homeland War Museum from Karlovac, Krešo Rogoz, director of Croatia Open Land DMC from Karlovac and Mihovil Bićanić, deputy mayor of Rakovica. The family accommodation forum, the largest gathering of household accommodation service providers – the landlords of Lika-Senj and Karlovac counties, starts at 10 am, while the panel discussion will start around 11:30 am. via a YouTube channel and a link that will be provided only to registered Forum participants (whereby subscribe free but mandatory). Guests will answer the question of how they faced this completely unpredictable season in their business, but also what are their predictions for the tourist uncertain year 2021, which is around the corner. Which are the best and which are the worst case scenarios and which measures could save the upcoming season and preserve jobs. You can sign up HERE On Thursday, November 12, as part 6th Regional Family Accommodation Forum there will be a panel discussion of the Lika Club portal on the topic “What about (corona) tourism in 2021?”. The organizer of the Forum is the Section of the Family Tourism Community for the Lika-Karlovac region, which operates at the ŽK Karlovac and Otočac, in partnership with Opportunity for the Group. The panel will host four well-known names from Croatian tourism, from the Lika-Senj and Karlovac counties, while an interesting discussion will be broadcast online via livestream, in accordance with epidemiological measures. last_img read more

Overseas buyers snap up sensational mansion

first_imgThe home at 29 Lynette Way, Daisy Hill.Mr Teo said more than 40 parties inspected the home and he received a few offers as well. “We were always going to go to auction and the owners were happy with the unconditional sale,” he said. Mr Teo said the property was unique in the Daisy Hill market, where the median house price is $499,900, according to CoreLogic. The architecturally designed builders home was inspired by the castles found throughout Europe.It has marble bathrooms, an entry point with 6m ceilings and a kitchen with hand-carved oak cabinetry and granite benchtops. The home at 29 Lynette Way, Daisy Hill.AN opulent mansion has sold under the hammer in Daisy Hill after attracting strong interest both locally and overseas. Marketing agent Johnson Teo, of Ray White Springwood, said the five-bedroom property at 29 Lynnette Way sold for an undisclosed amount. “We had four registered bidders and the auction began with an opening bid of $1 million,” Mr Teo said. “The buyers came from overseas and were here for seven or eight months looking for the right place.More from newsCrowd expected as mega estate goes under the hammer7 Aug 2020Hard work, resourcefulness and $17k bring old Ipswich home back to life20 Apr 2020“They liked the quality building and the opulence of (29 Lynette Way).”last_img read more

Man Utd make second bid for Barcelona superkid Ansu Fati

first_img Loading… The Times says United had already had a bid of around £90m knocked back for the Spanish youth international. They then upped it to £135m with “performance-related variables”. Barca, however, will demand that his £151m release clause be paid in full if they are to let their star youngster leave this summer. Club director Xavier Vilajoana said: “For us, there’s no story with Ansu, we have never spoken about selling him.Advertisement Manchester United have had a second record bid for Barcelona super kid, Ansu Fati, turned down.center_img “We won’t use players from the academy to make cash. Man United expect new Barcelona contract for Ansu Fati “In principle, we have no intention of selling the players we believe will make the first team.” Fati was back on the Barca scoresheet in last night’s 2-0 defeat of Leganes. FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail分享 last_img read more

Bill to increase child fatality information passes committee

first_imgIndianapolis, In. — Recently, a bill Jean Laising authored that would increase the amount of child fatality information available in Indiana passed the Senate Committee on Family and Children Servicesunanimously.Senate Bill 170 would require the Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS) to include in their child fatality report whether each death occurred while the child was placed in foster care or once the child, after being in foster care, was returned to a natural parent.DCS reported that during July 1, 2015, and June 30, 2016, 59 child fatalities occurred in Indiana. Of these deaths, 24 were due to abuse and 35 were due to neglect. The report also found that caregiver stressors played a role in many of the child fatalities, with insufficient income and substance abuse cited most commonly. Additionally, 46 percent of the deaths were caused by a weapon, including a body part.The number of children in Indiana dying from abuse and neglect is unacceptable. Right now, the DCS fatality report, which, by law, must be created annually, tells us how many deaths occurred and their primary cause, but before we can find solutions to this issue, we need to know where these deaths are taking place. If passed, SB 170 would give us the answers we need to approach this problem from the right angle to better protect our children.SB 170 will now move to the full Senate for consideration.Click here for more information on the bill.last_img read more

McIlroy urged to try Castle Stuart

first_img Press Association Rory McIlroy has been urged to try Castle Stuart for himself after it was confirmed the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open will return there in 2016. But it remains to be seen whether he will change his opinion of Castle Stuart to play there in 2016 ahead of the Open at Royal Troon. Castle Stuart general manager Stuart McColm said: “The disappointment for me is that Rory has never been. I don’t know how he can say something about a golf course he has never seen. “Why doesn’t he come up there and play it before making up his mind.” In addition to confirming the venues for the next two years, it was also revealed on Sunday that next year’s Scottish Open will be preceded by a new 54-hole qualifying event which will offer six places in the tournament to Scottish golfers. European Tour chief executive George O’Grady said: “Together with the Scottish Government and Aberdeen Asset Management, we are delighted to announce Gullane and Castle Stuart as the next two venues for the championship. “At Gullane we will be treated to one of the game’s most historical venues, while Castle Stuart will once again showcase a truly modern links test.” center_img Ahead of competing at Royal Aberdeen this week, McIlroy said that he had not played the Scottish Open in recent years because Castle Stuart – host from 2011 to 2013 – did not provide “a true links test” in the week before the Open Championship. The two-time major winner is likely to approve of Sunday’s confirmation that a composite course made up from 15 holes of Gullane No 1 and three from Gullane No 2 will host the tournament next year. last_img read more

Foster pens new West Brom deal

first_imgEngland goalkeeper Ben Foster has signed a new four-year deal with West Brom, the Barclays Premier League club have announced. “And that’s exactly how I felt when the club said they wanted to negotiate a new contract. “It was something I wanted to get sorted as soon as possible. I’m very happy here. “It was a very obvious and easy decision for me and my family.” Foster began his professional career at Stoke but never made an appearance for the Potters, instead going out on a series of loan moves before a 2005 transfer to United. Two seasons on loan at Watford followed and while Foster was touted by many to be Edwin van der Sar’s replacement at Old Trafford, he could never displace the Dutchman and moved to Birmingham in 2010. Relegation followed in 2011, prompting a move back to the top flight and the Hawthorns. Press Association The 31-year-old, who joined the Baggies permanently in 2012, also has an option for a further 12 months and is now effectively tied to the Hawthorns outfit until 2019. Foster has just returned from the World Cup where he won his eighth cap in the 0-0 draw with Costa Rica. “This is fantastic news for everyone connected with the club as Ben’s an extremely important player for us – both on and off the pitch,” said head coach Alan Irvine. “He’s a great personality, a great character and leads by example. “This is a magnificent signing for the club. “Ben is one of the best keepers in the country, which he showed when he played really well for England against Costa Rica at the World Cup. “Ben is extremely professional, which is infectious in training, as he demands high standards of himself and others.” Foster initially signed for Albion on a season-long loan from midlands rivals Birmingham in 2011, keeping 10 clean sheets in 37 appearances and earning himself a full-time move. And the former Manchester United stopper is now hoping he can end his career at the Hawthorns. “When I signed here permanently, I said this is the sort of club I could see myself finishing my career at,” he said. last_img read more