PM says work to address opioids is a priority as Hamilton sees

first_imgHAMILTON – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told an Ontario city hard-hit by the national opioid crisis that situations like theirs were a top priority for his government, as a municipal official called for more concrete steps to address the root causes of addiction.New figures show the city of Hamilton saw 70 opioid-related deaths between January and October last year, with an additional five deaths classified as “probable” opioid-related fatalities. That compared to 41 confirmed opioid-related deaths for the same period in 2016.The city said its opioid-death rate for last year’s period was 78 per cent higher than the provincial rate. In 2016, it said its rate was 48 per cent higher than Ontario’s.Trudeau, who was in Hamilton Tuesday as part of a tour through some of Canada’s major steel-producing communities, said the government is taking action to try and curb the deadly trend.“We know that we have to address this. This is getting to be more and more of a problem,” he said after a tour of a steel plant in the city. “We have always put this at the top of our preoccupations as we deal with this public health crisis here in Hamilton and right across the country.”Dr. Elizabeth Richardson, medical officer of health for Hamilton, said Ottawa has already made many commendable moves to help curb overdose death rates that are surging across the country, but urged the government to look at the factors that lead to addiction in the first place.The recently released federal budget earmarked $231.4 million to tackle the problem across the country, with a large chunk dedicated to measures such as public health campaigns, data tracking and border security measures.Richardson said all those measures are necessary, but urged the government to look deeper.“There needs to be continued focus on what do we do to stop people from being in a position where they are finding drugs as a way of managing their physical and emotional pain,” Richardson said. “We do need that fundamental support from the get-go … around housing, around income support, around civil society that are really important pieces to underpin it all.”Richardson said she could not account for the specific reasons behind Hamilton’s unusually high opioid-related death rate, which she acknowledged was among the highest in the province.Last week the Ontario government reported 1,053 opioid-related deaths across the province from January to October 2017, compared to the 694 deaths recorded during the same time period the year before.Of the millions set aside in the federal budget, Ottawa has designated $150 million as emergency funding to be dispersed across all provinces and territories.The balance will go toward public education campaigns, better access to public health data and new equipment and tools to allow border agents to better detect dangerous opioids like fentanyl before they enter the country.The Ontario government has pledged to spend more than $222 million over three years to tackle the issue, with money earmarked to expand harm reduction services and hire more frontline staff. The province also said it has approved funding for seven supervised injection sites.Last week it also announced that naloxone nasal spray will be available in Ontario pharmacies by the end of the month at no charge, in addition to existing naloxone kits that include an injectable version of the drug meant as an emergency treatment for opioid overdoses.The Public Health Agency of Canada has projected opioids will claim more than 4,000 lives this year.last_img read more

Stand Up To Cancer 2016 A Huge Success

first_imgThe Hollywood community once again united to support Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C), a program of the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF), which staged its fifth biennial one-hour special on Friday, Sept. 9 (8:00 – 9:00 PM ET/PT / 7:00 PM CT).(L-R) patient Mitch Carbon, actor Bradley Cooper and patient Emily Whitehead attend Stand Up To Cancer Credit/Copyright: Kevin Mazur/American Broadcasting Companies Inc via Getty ImagesAcademy Award-nominated actor and founder of the Bradley Charles Cooper Foundation, Bradley Cooper, served as executive producer along with renowned live, large-scale event producers Done + Dusted, in collaboration with the Stand Up To Cancer production team. Celine Dion attends Stand Up To CancerCredit/Copyright: Kevin Mazur/American Broadcasting Companies Inc via Getty ImagesAmong those taking part were Vice President Joe Biden, Odette Annable, Will Arnett, Mel B, Kathy Bates, Mayim Bialik, Matt Bomer, Jordana Brewster, Danielle Campbell, Marcia Cross, Brittany Daniel, Viola Davis, Shannen Doherty, Dave Franco, Josh Gad, Greg Grunberg, Tony Hale, Tom Hanks, Ken Jeong, Anna Kendrick, Sonequa Martin-Green, Jillian Michaels, Robert Patrick, Rob Riggle, Jacob Soboroff, Brenda Song, Karla Souza, Emma Stone, Eric Stonestreet, Alison Sweeney, Bree Turner, Kristen Wiig, Charlie Wilson, Rita Wilson, SU2C Co-Founder Katie Couric, and social media personalities Brandon Armstrong, Grace Helbig, Joey Graceffa, Justine Ezarik, Harry Hudson, Brittani Louise Taylor, My Nguyen, Andrea Russett, Gemma Stafford attended and participated in the inspiring live broadcast. In addition, celebrated recording artist Celine Dion performed a moving tribute in honor of all those standing up to cancer. Alessia Cara, Charlie Puth, and Gallant delivered a musical performance. The telecast included appearances by Ben Affleck, Dierks Bentley, Lena Dunham, Chris Evans, Zach Galifianakis, Jon Hamm, Kevin Hart, Ed Helms, Eva Longoria, and Matthew McConaughey.Rita Wilson and Tom Hanks attend Stand Up To CancerCredit/Copyright: Kevin Mazur/American Broadcasting Companies Inc via Getty ImagesThe telecast broadcasted from The Music Center’s Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles. ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC, along with American Forces Network, ASPiRE, AUDIENCE Network, Bloomberg TV, Bravo, Comedy Central, Discovery Life, E! Entertainment, EPIX, ESPNEWS, FM, FS2, Fusion, FXM, Great American Country, HBO, HLN, ION Television, LMN, Logo, MLB Network, National Geographic, Pivot, RLTV, SHOWTIME, Smithsonian Channel, STARZ, STARZ ENCORE, TBS, Tr3s, VH1, and WGN America donated one hour of simultaneous commercial-free primetime for the telecast. For the first time, there was a Spanish version of the Stand Up To Cancer telecast airing nationally on Galavision, HBO Latino, STARZ ENCORE ESPAÑOL and Univision Deportes, and locally on Univision Puerto Rico. In addition, the show streamed live on SU2C’s Facebook page, Yahoo, SU2C’s YouTube page, and in Spanish on USA Network aired the Stand Up To Cancer telecast on Friday, Sept. 9 at 11:00 PM – 12:00 AM ET/PT / 10:00 PM CT. The entire telecast will also become available to stream on Hulu beginning Saturday, Sept. 10.The first Canadian-inclusive SU2C telecast aired in 2014, and this year’s show once again aired across all four major English-language Canadian broadcasters: CBC, City, CTV, and Global. Additionally, Canadian services AMI, Bloomberg TV Canada, Blue Ant Media, CHCH, CHEK, Fight Network, Hollywood Suite, Joytv, NTV and TLN aired the telecast, the show streamed live on Yahoo Canada, and it will be available on-demand on shomi and TELUS Optik TV in Canada.last_img read more

A standup comic draws the line between heckling and harassment

first_img Twitter Advertisement About seven years into my standup career, I walked offstage after a particularly good set and a male comic I’d never met made a beeline for me. I thought he was coming to congratulate me. Instead he came out with, “You have a great ass and when I wasn’t looking at your ass your jokes were OK, too.”My jokes were OK, too?It was disheartening, to say the least, that my jokes were only a sideshow to the stump of fat and muscle attached to the back of my body. Even more disheartening: I was used to this. This was how “male comics” talked to “female comics” and if you didn’t like it you could . . . not be a comic? “If sexual harassment were a meal, the comedy club would be an all-you-can-eat buffet,” writes comic Rebecca Kohler. (EMMA MCINTYRE/FOR METRO) So when news of Harvey Weinstein’s horrific behind-the-screens behaviour came to light in October, I was disgusted but not surprised. Every industry has its version of Weinstein Culture. In fact, I endured some of the worst sexual harassment while working at a diner. But if sexual harassment were a meal, the comedy club would be an all-you-can eat buffet.We joke for a living, so everything — every sexist comment and uninvited touch — is a “joke.” We make jokes, we should be able to take jokes or so go the excuses. Call a man out for it and it’s, “Hey, relax, I’m just kidding!” It throws you off your instincts, and you’re not sure what’s harassment or hilarity.READ MORE Facebookcenter_img LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Advertisement Advertisement Login/Register With:last_img read more

SecretaryGeneral deplores terrorist attack at Glasgow airport

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today spoke out against recent terrorist activity in the United Kingdom and said he would discuss the matter with the prime minister during a planned visit to London next week.“The Secretary-General deplores the terrorist attack which took place yesterday at Glasgow airport in Great Britain as well as the attempt to explode car bombs in London on Friday,” a spokesman for Mr. Ban said in a statement, reiterating the Secretary-General’s longstanding view that no cause or belief can justify acts of terrorism. Mr. Ban “looks forward to his visit to London next week when he will have the opportunity to meet with Prime Minister Gordon Brown to discuss, among other issues, how the international community can best implement the global strategy against terrorism adopted last year by the General Assembly,” the spokesman said.The statement expressed Mr. Ban’s strong support for the Government and the people of Great Britain “at this time of heightened security threats in the country.” 1 July 2007United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today spoke out against recent terrorist activity in the United Kingdom and said he would discuss the matter with the prime minister during a planned visit to London next week. read more

UN concern grows over Israeli blockade of Gaza crossings

Only 512 truckloads of goods entered Gaza in the week leading up to 9 June, less than one-fifth of the shipment in early 2007 before Hamas took control of the area, reported the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).OCHA said that the entry of essential goods and services, including materials for reconstruction, spare parts for water and sanitation projects, as well as industrial and agricultural materials remain either restricted or banned outright.It noted that no petrol or diesel fuel has entered Gaza through the Nahal Oz fuel pipeline since 2 November 2008, except for limited quantities for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), and most of the petrol and diesel available on the open market for public use is smuggled in through the tunnels under the border with Egypt.In a recent report, covering the period from May 2008 to April 2009, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon wrote that increased isolation, internal Palestinian divisions and the recent three-week military offensive against Hamas led to “substantial economic and humanitarian deterioration” in the Gaza Strip.Mr. Ban pointed out that as a result of the situation in Gaza, real gross domestic product was estimated to have declined by 13 per cent from a year before, while per capita income dipped to almost 34 per cent below its level in 2000.At the end of May, Maxwell Gaylard, the top UN humanitarian official in the occupied Palestinian territory, said the fighting from December 2008 to January 2009 had destroyed some 4,000 homes and damaged another 40,000, and although donor countries have pledged billions of dollars for Gaza’s reconstruction, it cannot begin because of the blockade. 12 June 2009The ongoing Israeli restrictions on the flow of goods in and out of Gaza is hampering reconstruction and recovery efforts after the recent conflict in the Strip, the United Nations humanitarian arm said today. read more

Fair trade sale coming to Brock

The annual Ten Thousand Villages Fair Trade Sale is heading back to Brock.The sale, which includes products like jewelry and home décor products, will benefit the Brock Abroad: Namibia and Brock Abroad: Botswana programs. The sale happens in the Sean O’Sullivan Theatre lobby from Oct. 31 to Nov. 4.The schedule is as follows:Monday — 12 noon – 7 p.m.Tuesday — 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.Wednesday — 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.Thursday — 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.Friday — 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.Ten Thousand Villages is a North American fair trade organization that allows artisans from third world countries to market their handicrafts and pay for food, education, health care and housing. read more

OPP road death stats

The OPP has released its first ever report of statistics on deadly road collisions in Ontario. It’s meant to shed light on those who are at risk on the roads as well as what caused the crashes. They’ve looked at crashes during a 10 year period. The data revealed young adult males are twice as likely to die in collisions as females. Between 2005 and 2014 the OPP investigated 3091 fatal road collisions in which almost 70% were drivers and 23% were passengers. Almost 700 people died in collisions involving transport trucks and the stats show most of those killed were the drivers of the other vehicles involved. 92 truck drivers died and the majority were reported as not driving properly at the time. Police say it all boils down to four main causes. “Aggressive driving, distracted driving, impaired driving and people still not wearing their seatbelt.”While it seems many aren’t wearing their seatbelts, the numbers show adults are at least making sure their kids do. “When we looked at the deaths in 2005 involving children and people under 16 years of age that number has dramatically decreased. It is encouraging to see that people are taking care of the children they are either properly belted, buckled or in the proper car seat.” The study also showed just how vulnerable motorcyclists are on the roads. 279 died over the past 10 years, 190 were reported as not driving properly at the time, but 74 others died who did nothing wrong. 15 passengers also died. Police say passengers, whether on a bike or in a car need to also take charge and call out drivers who are taking chances with them in the vehicle. read more

Lawrence ODonnell signs deal to remain at MSNBC

NEW YORK, N.Y. – MSNBC says it has completed a deal to keep Lawrence O’Donnell in its prime-time lineup.The network wouldn’t release any details Thursday. Contract renegotiations are usually routine, but O’Donnell’s became an issue since he mused publicly about whether he was wanted. Talks went down to the wire; his old contract was due to expire this weekend.O’Donnell tweeted after his show Wednesday night that “I will be saying hi to Rachel @maddow at 10 p.m. for the foreseeable future.”He’s had a strong stretch in the ratings, at least partly due to following the red-hot Maddow in MSNBC’s weeknight lineup. by The Associated Press Posted Jun 1, 2017 8:26 am MDT Last Updated Jun 1, 2017 at 11:40 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Lawrence O’Donnell signs deal to remain at MSNBC read more

DR Congo initial findings by UN confirm human rights violations amid recent

A parallel investigation by the armed forces of DRC, known by the French acronym FARDC, has led to the arrest of nine FARDC soldiers, two in connection with the rapes, and seven in connection with lootings, the spokesperson, Martin Nesirky, told a news briefing at UN Headquarters in New York.The probes are focused on allegations of violations committed between 20 and 30 November in and around Minova, a town close to the city of Goma, the capital of North Kivu province in the eastern DRC, which fighters from the 23 March Movement (M23) armed group occupied on 19 November.According to media reports, there have been allegations that FARDC soldiers raped dozens of women in Minova during the army’s retreat from Goma.The UN investigators are with the UN Joint Human Rights Office (JHRO), a collaboration between the UN Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). Mr. Nesirky said two JHRO teams visited the Minova area this month and interviewed more than 200 people, though investigations are ongoing.“The UN Mission is supporting the (DRC) military justice procedure in conducting thorough investigations into these allegations to ensure that the perpetrators are identified and held accountable,” he said.Addressing reporters after briefing the UN Security Council on the latest developments involving the M23 on Tuesday evening, the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Hervé Ladsous, confirmed that 126 women had been raped during the M23’s offensive, and that many of the violations may have, in fact, been committed by troops belonging to the FARDC. He pointed out that due to the “allegations of terrible violations,” a UN report inquiring into the events would be released later in January. In addition, Mr. Ladsous conceded that there were concerns regarding the “many movements of various elements” in the provinces of North and South Kivu, especially the M23, which, he said, were being “followed very closely” by the UN. Nevertheless, he denied reports that up to 4,000 soldiers belonging to the mainly Hutu armed group known as the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) were closing in on Goma. “There have been movements around the area of Goma, but in the hundreds, not in the thousands,” he said, adding the MONUSCO was “very much on the alert, patrolling constantly to monitor the situation.” Meanwhile, in his comments at the news briefing earlier in the day, Mr. Nesirky noted that MONUSCO officials met today with DRC’s Vice Prime Minister Mutombo Bakafwa Nsenda, who also serves as Minister of Defence, to share initial findings. He added that MONUSCO is working with the DRC Government to identify the FARDC units in which the arrested soldiers served.According to Mr. Nesirky, identifying the units will allow MONUSCO to review the exact nature of any support in accordance with the UN Human Rights Due Diligence Policy, which contains principles to be followed on the part of any UN entity when supporting non-UN security entities.The investigations come amid continuing tensions in the region even though the M23 – made up of former national army troops who mutinied in April and named after a 23 March 2009 peace agreement that they reportedly say has not been implemented – ended their occupation of Goma after 11 days and are now in political talks with the DRC Government in the Ugandan capital of Kampala.Media reports have said the M23 also face allegations of killing and raping civilians and looting towns during the clashes that took place last month. The reports also highlight that several other armed groups in the area have been involved in the wider regional violence.According to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), almost 400 women and girls were sexually assaulted amid the regional fighting and advance on Goma. “Women and girls in the displacement camps are living in constant fear of being attacked or sexually molested,” a UNICEF spokesperson, Marixie Mercado, said in an interview with UN Radio.Separately, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) today issued an alert about the presence of armed groups in and around a camp west of Goma hosting up to 15,000 of the estimated 177,000 civilians driven from their homes amid the M23 advance.The armed groups were “fuelling worries” among the inhabitants of the Mugunga III camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs), said a UNHCR spokesperson, Adrian Edwards, who added that the agency saw their presence as a “serious concern.”Already this month, armed men have staged at least three attacks, Mr. Edwards said. In one, they raped several women and looted supplies in the camp, while in another, three people were shot and wounded when gunmen looted several homes around Mugunga III and demanded goods or money.A third attack left two people inside the camp injured by gunfire after four armed men “apparently looking for aid items, including plastic sheeting” entered, according to Mr. Edwards.While Mugunga III is one of 31 established IDP sites throughout North Kivu province, Mr. Edwards told the UN News Centre that the precarious regional security situation meant that UNHCR had access to “very few.”“Civilians must be kept out of harm’s way and any deployment of armed men in densely populated areas should be avoided,” he said at the briefing in Geneva, adding that the presence of armed men at any refuge was a “threat to the civilian character of the camps,” and something UNCHR had “repeatedly urged all sides to respect.”“It exposes IDPs to risks of violence in violation of their fundamental rights, including the right to physical safety and integrity,” Mr. Edwards noted.He added that fighting farther north in the eastern DRC has caused about 4,000 people to flee into South Sudan, where – before the latest influx – there were 18,408 DRC refugees.“Most of the new arrivals are women with small infants and separated or unaccompanied children,” he said. “UNHCR is prioritizing identification of the unaccompanied children to ensure that those most at risk, particularly adolescent boys, are protected.” read more

Garmin Forerunner 110 Hands On

first_imgThere’s a reason Garmin has a virtual lock on the GPS watch market: Garmin watches just work. When you’re getting ready to head out on a run, you want to be able to just turn on your watch, let it sync while you stretch, and go. No watch I tried out allowed for that–except for the Garmin Forerunner 110 ($249.99 direct).Though it was the smallest of the watches I tried out by far, the Garmin still had plenty of room on the screen for all the essential stats: distance, time elapsed, and pace. Unlike the Timex’s wide range of views, the only other options for the Garmin are heart rate and time. I was sent the more expensive grey and pink women’s version of watch (The price goes up $50, because it comes with a heart-rate monitor), but there is also a red and black “male” version as well as a less expensive black and grey unisex model. I didn’t mind the faint floral design on the bezel, but many of my running companions complained that it was a little too girly for their taste.Like the display options, the functionality of the Garmin watch is pretty bare bones. I appreciated its simplicity, but this watch can’t differentiate between athletic activities like the triathlete-friendly Timex or provide more detailed geographic information like the hiking-geared Suunto. Pressing the menu or start buttons will launch the search for satellite connection. From there, operation is simple–start, pause, and stop the watch with the start/stop button on the top right. There’s also an illumination button on the top left for night running and an option to record splits with the lap button on the bottom right. Unless you press the lap button, the watch automatically starts a new lap each mile, briefly displaying your average pace for the past mile.As I mentioned earlier, the real selling point for the Forerunner 110 is how simple it is to sync with satellites. While finding a GPS signal was a bit of a challenge with every watch (testing among the tall buildings in New York added an extra layer of difficulty), the Garmin still usually synced in mere minutes, sometimes less. The watch also synced with the included heart rate monitor with no difficulty. The Forerunner 110 boasts three weeks of battery life in power-save mode and eight hours in training mode. I only had to charge it roughly once a week to cover all of my training needs.Before I even set up my Garmin Connect account, I had a chance to familiarize myself with the basic dashboard via links posted by friends on DailyMile, a popular running social network. The default privacy settings on Garmin Connect are public, because the site is geared toward easy sharing. Each workout displays an impressive amount of information. The basic statistics include the overall time, distance, elevation gain, and calories, and each are broken down further. For instance, the timing section also includes moving time, average pace, average moving pace (so you can see how fast you ran without factoring in the pace lost when you have to stop), and the best pace you hit during your run. Your pace and elevation change are also visualized in charts, which you can manipulate via drop-down menus. Including the breakdown of your pace by mile, the dashboard is a great way to sum up your workout in a glance.When it came time to decide which unit to wear during the Philadelphia Marathon, the choice was easy. For me, a GPS watch should augment my workout, not take away from it, and the Garmin Forerunner 110 does just that. It just works, with minimal fuss and waiting, and gives me the information that I need at a glance. It’s no wonder Garmin is king of the GPS watch market.last_img read more

LG Shurkien 18 Ivy Bridge Ultrabook demoed at IDF 2011

first_imgIntel’s Ivy Bridge chips may have been delayed slightly, but that’s not preventing manufacturers from showing off next-gen hardware running the successor to Sandy Bridge. At IDF 2011, LG has one of its prototypes on display, the gloss-black Shuriken 18 Ultrabook.Not much has been revealed about the Shurkien 18’s internals, but they’d likely change between now and launch date anyway. It’ll sport a processor from the Ivy Bridge range, at least 2GB of RAM, and both HDMI and mini DisplayPort hook-ups will provide video output. Unlike some of the Ultrabooks we’ve seen so far, this one sports a single physical button below the touchpad area — instead of opting for a buttonless clickpad. As for its display, the Shuriken 18 sports a 13.3″ panel (making me think that Shuriken 13 might be a more logical name for the Ultrabook).The bezel is extremely thin, and makes the Shuriken 18 look a bit like Samsung’s Series 7 laptop — which packs a 14″ display into a 13″ bezel. It’s safe to say that future Ultrabooks won’t just be getting thinner and lighter, but they’ll also be shooting for nearly edge-to-edge displays. The trade-off, of course, is a very generous wrist rest and a touchpad that looks a wee bit undersized by comparison.With Ivy Bridge chips set to debut in Q2 2012 and Windows 8 due around the same time, there’s a good chance that the Shuriken 18 could be one of LG’s first Windows 8 laptops to hit retail shelves. With Ivy Bridge power and efficiency under the hood, and a brand new Windows OS on board, the Shurkien 18 could be quite the hot piece of hardware next year.More at Softpedia and Liliputinglast_img read more

Donacos US190 million Singapore court case against Thai vendors delayed

first_img Donaco to file multiple appeals after arbitrator rules in favor of Thai vendors in Star Vegas land lease dispute Donaco ready to reset after horror year sees losses widen in FY19 on Cambodia impairment charge Donaco noted that, because the Singapore arbitration proceedings are confidential, it is unable to provide further details about the cause of the delay but plans to press ahead with its claim “with maximum efficiency and diligence.”The company also observed that the length of the proceedings are not in keeping with standard practice, referencing a 2016 study by the Singapore International Arbitration Centre which revealed that the mean duration for an arbitration claim before a single arbitrator is 13 months, with a median duration of 11.3 months from filing of an arbitration claim to the making of an award. Donaco’s claim has already lasted 18 months.Donaco is seeking US$190 million in damages after the Thai vendors continued to run gaming operations at Star Paradise, located adjacent to Star Vegas in Poipet, in defiance of non-compete provisions.The vendors, Lee Bug Leng, Lee Bug Huy and Lee Bug Tong, had previously been granted permission to host gaming facilities under the management of Donaco in a deal that saw the latter paid a monthly management fee of THB5 million (US$151,000), but that agreement expired in 2017 with no new management arrangements put in place.After they continued to run gaming operations in defiance of non-compete provisions, the vendors – who also own the land upon which Star Vegas sits – threatened in June to terminate Donaco’s 50-year land lease.Cambodia’s Banteay Meanchey Court of First Instance subsequently granted an injunction against the vendors preventing such termination pending further legal hearings. Donaco is also in the midst of legal proceedings against the vendors in Australia where the NSW Supreme Court has issued a freezing order preventing the vendors from selling any of their 17.9% stake in the company. A Singapore court case brought by Donaco International Limited against the Thai vendors of its Cambodian casino, Star Vegas, in pursuit of US$190 million in damages has been delayed by four months, the company revealed on Wednesday.The arbitration claim will now recommence on 25 November 2019 after an initial oral evidentiary hearing was held over a two-week period starting in late July. RelatedPosts Load More Chinese court seizes bank accounts of online card game developer Boyaalast_img read more

New World student art on display in Miami courthouse garage

first_imgMIAMI (WSVN) – Art created by students of the New World School of the Arts is now on display in the City of Miami’s courthouse garage.The Miami Parking Authority hosted a ceremony, Tuesday, to unveil the artwork. Two of the pieces depict the evolution and transformation of Miami over the years.South Florida is all about art this week.If you’re planning to head to any Art Basel events, click here for ways to avoid the traffic, including special ferrys and transit hours.Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img read more

Couples tie the knot during special Valentines Day ceremony in Fort Lauderdale

first_imgFORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) – Several couples took advantage of the Valentine’s Day celebrations to tie the knot during a special ceremony in Fort Lauderdale.Brenda D. Forman, the Broward Clerk of Courts, officiated more than 30 marriages at the Broward County Courthouse, Thursday.One couple used the opportunity to renew their vows as they waited for the arrival of their new bundle of joy.“It was more than I expected out of getting married at the courthouse. It was great, actually,” said Nicole Grilo, who is expecting.“It blew my expectations, so I’m really happy about it,” added Ryan Collins, Grilo’s husband.Officials transformed an empty jury room into a wedding wonderland for the occasion.Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img read more

Putin directed cyber campaign to help Trump US

first_imgRussian president Vladimir Putin ordered an effort to help Republican Donald Trump’s electoral chances by discrediting Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential campaign, US intelligence agencies said in an assessment on Friday.Russia’s objectives were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate former Secretary of State Clinton, make it harder for her to win and harm her presidency if she did, an unclassified report released by the top US intelligence agency said.“We assess Russian president Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election,” the report said. “We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for president-elect Trump. We have high confidence in these judgments.”The report, although it omitted classified details, was the US government’s starkest public description of what it says was an unprecedented Russian campaign to manipulate the American body politic.Reports of Russian interference in the already divisive election have roiled Washington, even as the US Congress on Friday certified Trump’s victory in the Electoral College. Clinton won the popular vote by nearly 3 million ballots.The report’s conclusions, though lacking details of how the Russians may have relayed the material to WikiLeaks and others, will give ammunition to Democrats and Trump’s fellow Republicans in Congress who want tougher action against Russia, setting the scene for a potential showdown with Trump.It could also give a boost to members of Congress seeking an independent, bipartisan investigation of Russian hacking.Trump, who has developed a rocky relationship with US spy agencies and at times disparaged their work, defended the legitimacy of his election victory after receiving a nearly two-hour briefing Friday on the report.The report neither assessed “the impact Russian activities had on the outcome of the 2016 election” nor did it provide details on the evidence underpinning its conclusions, a fact likely to keep alive the controversy over what Moscow may have done.Russia denies the US government’s allegations of hacking during the election campaign.Russian Military Intelligence AgencyThe report said US intelligence agencies believe Russian military intelligence, the GRU, used intermediaries such as WikiLeaks, and the Guccifer 2.0 “persona” to release emails that it had acquired from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and top Democrats as part of the effort.The release of the emails led to embarrassing media coverage for Clinton and triggered the resignation of the DNC’s chief.WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has said he did not receive emails stolen from the DNC and top Clinton aide John Podesta from “a state party.” However, Assange did not rule out the possibility that he got the material from a third party.Russian actors were not found to have targeted US systems that are involved in tallying votes, the report said. The report was produced by the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Security Agency.Also on Friday, the US Department of Homeland Security designated US election infrastructure as critical infrastructure, widening the options the government has to protect voting machines from cyber-attacks.While the report found Russia had conducted cyber-attacks on both the Democratic and the Republican parties, it made clear that the primary aims were to harm Clinton whether or not she won the election and evolved over time.“When it appeared to Moscow that Secretary Clinton was likely to win the election, the Russian influence campaign began to focus more on undermining her future presidency,” it said.“We also assess Putin and the Russian Government aspired to help president-elect Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him,” it said. The CIA and FBI had high confidence in this judgment and NSA moderate confidence, the report said.Neither the Russian Embassy in Washington, nor Clinton aides immediately responded to requests for comment.The report suggested Putin was motivated in part by personal animus toward Clinton.“Putin most likely wanted to discredit Secretary Clinton because he has publicly blamed her since 2011 for inciting mass protests against his regime in late 2011 and early 2012, and because he holds a grudge for comments he almost certainly saw as disparaging him,” it said.‘Troubling chapter in ongoing story’In a statement after his intelligence briefing, Trump did not squarely address whether he was told of the agencies’ belief Russia carried out the hacking.Instead, he said: “Russia, China, other countries, outside groups and people are consistently trying to break through the cyber infrastructure of our governmental institutions, businesses and organizations” including the DNC.“There was absolutely no effect on the outcome of the election including the fact that there was no tampering whatsoever with voting machines,” Trump said.The businessman, who is to be inaugurated as president on Jan. 20, also said he would appoint a team to give him a plan within 90 days of taking office on how to prevent cyber-attacks but suggested that he would keep their recommendations secret.The report did not reveal how the intelligence agencies collected the evidence underpinning their conclusions or the evidence itself, including the means by which Russian military intelligence “relayed” the materials filched from the DNC and other hacking targets to WikiLeaks and others, omissions likely to leave the report open to criticism.Representative Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence who was briefed on the report on Friday, took issue with Trump’s comments.“The president-elect’s statement that the Russian hacking had ‘absolutely no effect on the outcome of the election’ is not supported by the briefing, report, or common sense,” Schiff said.“It is one thing to say that there was no tampering with vote tallying – which is true – it is another thing to say that the daily dumping of documents disparaging to … Clinton that was made possible by Russian cyber operations had no effect on the campaigns,” he said. “The consequence of these disclosures was hugely beneficial to the president-elect and damaging to the Clinton campaign, just as the Russians intended.”Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, a North Carolina Republican, said his panel would continue to compile “facts surrounding Russia’s active measures,” adding: “This is a troubling chapter in an ongoing story.”last_img read more

Cambridge Analytica Facebook and You A Privacy Primer

first_img270,000 users did so, and in turn allowed the app to not only download their own Facebook likes and profile information, but also similar data from users they were connected to. Altogether, Cambridge Analytica and its partner were able to gather data on 50 million U.S.-based Facebook users this way. Combined with data from other public sources, the company was able to assemble what it calls “psychographic profiles,” designed to determine what kind of political messaging users were susceptible to.Facebook learned of this all the way back in 2015, and at the time demanded that the researcher and Cambridge Analytica delete the data. Cambridge Analytica said it did, but the New York Times reported that the data still exists on the company’s servers.Isn’t that illegal? That’s still to be determined. Facebook says that Cambridge Analytica violated its policies. Several U.S. attorney generals and federal regulators have also begun to look into whether Facebook has violated any laws or regulations, including a 2011 federal consent decree governing privacy protections for Facebook user data.Does Cambridge Analytica have my data? Did you download and use a personality test called “thisisyourdigitallife” on Facebook back in 2014? Then yes, Cambridge Analytica had your data at one point, and may very well still have it. It’s much harder to determine if one of your friends did so, and that way gave the company a chance to access your data as well. Facebook did at one point release a tool to let users test whether they interacted with Russian propaganda on its platform leading up to the 2016 election, but there is no word on whether the company will do the same this time around.Could this happen again? Not in this exact way. Cambridge Analytica’s research partner made use of Facebook policies that allowed apps to access huge amounts of data from users’ friends who hadn’t consented to share this type of data with third parties. These policies were changed in 2015. However, apps can still coax users to give up lots of their own data. ×Actors Reveal Their Favorite Disney PrincessesSeveral actors, like Daisy Ridley, Awkwafina, Jeff Goldblum and Gina Rodriguez, reveal their favorite Disney princesses. Rapunzel, Mulan, Ariel,Tiana, Sleeping Beauty and Jasmine all got some love from the Disney stars.More VideosVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9Next UpJennifer Lopez Shares How She Became a Mogul04:350.5x1x1.25×1.5x2xLive00:0002:1502:15 Popular on Variety To control which information Facebook collects on you for ad targeting purposes, go to Facebook’s ad preferences page. There, you’ll be able to review the things Facebook thinks you are interested in, as well as the categories that Facebook uses for broad targeting. Tweaking these may make ads more or less relevant, but won’t change the information Facebook collects on you.To rein in Facebook’s data collection on third-party websites, select “Ads based on your use of websites and apps” and turn the switch to off. You can also opt out of using the things it knows about you to display targeted ads on third-party websites and apps under “Ads on apps and websites off of the Facebook Companies.”What if I want to delete Facebook altogether? That’s certainly possible as well. Facebook gives users two options for this: deactivating the account, which comes with the possibility to reactivate it at a later point, or permanently deleting it. Links to both options, and an explanation of the differences, can be found here.center_img There has been a lot of attention on the data Facebook is collecting from its users following this weekend’s revelations that Trump campaign-linked Cambridge Analytica siphoned private data from 50 million Facebook users to target them for political campaigns. So what data did Cambridge Analytica actually get its hands on, who else has access to this data, and what can Facebook users do to protect themselves? Check out our primer to find out.What’s the deal with the Cambridge Analytica data? Cambridge Analytica is a data mining and targeting company that at one point counted Steve Bannon among its board members. It has done work for Ted Cruz’s and Donald Trump’s presidential campaigns, and struck a partnership with an outside researcher in 2014 to get its hands on Facebook user data. To to so, the researcher built a simple survey app, and then paid users small amounts of money to install the app on Facebook and answer the survey. What can I do keep my data safe on Facebook? One easy first step to prevent similar data exposures is to review the apps you have accessed on Facebook, which can be done on the service’s third-party app settings page.  There, you’ll find the apps that you have granted access to your Facebook data, most likely when you signed up for their services and didn’t want to bother with manually entering all kinds of personal information.A good rule of thumb is to delete all the apps that you don’t recognize, or don’t feel comfortable with having access to your Facebook data. Just be aware that this may result in having to reset your password or edit your account settings the next time you use those apps on your phone, or visit their website.Alternatively, you can edit the permissions for individual apps, and for example decide that a certain app shouldn’t have access to your friends list, even if you have granted this in the past. And in the future, consider signing up for a third-party service just with your email address instead of giving it access to your Facebook account, or review app permissions closely at sign-up.Also pay attention to the “apps others use” category on the same page. Here, you can decide which of your data third-party apps installed by your Facebook friends can access. And finally, you can even disable all third-party app access under the “Apps, Websites and Plug-ins” section by turning platform use off. However, chances are that a bunch of apps you may be using on your phone won’t work anymore until you find an alternative login method. Some apps may even refuse to work at all.I’ve reviewed my app settings. Now I’m fine, right? If it only was that easy. Cambridge Analytica promised its clients very specific pshychological targeting for their campaigns, which included information on whether they’d be susceptible to fear-based messaging. There are some doubts about whether this actually worked. However, more traditional targeting is a key component of online advertising, and Facebook is really good at it, collecting tons of data on its users to help its advertisers fine-tune their messaging. The company is even tracking users when they are visiting other websites, which is why you’ll see ads on Facebook that match your latest online shopping binge.last_img read more

The 10 most important gaming moments of 2012

first_img 1 2 3 2012 is coming to an end, and even though we still haven’t received word regarding new consoles from Sony and Microsoft, and nothing drastically changed in the realm of PC gaming hardware, a few gaming-related events still took the year by storm. From start to finish, 2012 ended up being a pretty awesome year for gamers.Here is’s list of the biggest developments in gaming in 2012. Some catapulted the industry forward while others showed how difficult it is for the industry to change. Regardless of their effect, each was very big news.Double Fine KickstarterBefore Kickstarter, indie developers had a much harder time raising funds. When Tim Schafer’s (of adventure gaming fame) Double Fine studio took to Kickstarter for an upcoming adventure game, it became (at the time) the first real video game success to hit the crowdfunding engine. It essentially started the trend of video games getting successfully crowdfunded — and at a high monetary value — paving the way for video game projects that ended up smashing its funding record.New consoles2012 saw the release of three new consoles: The PlayStation Vita$388.88 at Amazon, the Nintendo 3DSBest Price at Amazon, and the Wii U. Unfortunately, the Wii U was hit with a host of issues at launch, and the 3DS and PS Vita are not only struggling in the face of the rise of the phone and tablet gaming industry, but are dealing with a lackluster and relatively sparse software library. However, consoles tend to face adversity upon launch anyway, and the sooner they release, the sooner they’ll be able to prosper. Thanks largely to Nintendo, 2012 marked the beginning of the eighth console generation.Museum of Modern Art officially adds video games to collectionIn a move that most likely irritated Roger Ebert, MoMa added fourteen video games to its collection, officially recognizing video games as art. As for the picks, MoMa really seemed to know what it was doing, adding games as obscure as Dwarf Fortress, ones as hardcore as EVE Online, and old and new classics like Pac-Man and Portal. MoMa also announced it wasn’t stopping there, looking to acquire other classics, like Tim Schafer’s Grim Fandango and Markus Persson’s Minecraft. Thanks to MoMa, this is the year we could finally call games art and have a prominent art organization agree.Next page: Steam for Linux, Bioware’s struggles, and more…last_img read more

GE CEO Calls BS on Job Automation Fears

first_imgStay on target The idea that factories will be run by robots in five years is “bullshit,” according to outgoing General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt.It will probably take at least six or seven years.Joking aside, Immelt has joined Alphabet Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt in dispelling rumors of total automation.Humans and computers must work together—not in opposition—to be more productive, Schmidt argued at last week’s VivaTech convention in Paris.As reported by CNBC, the former Google chief cited a study suggesting 90 percent of jobs are not fully automatable; while some routine tasks may be mechanized, humans are still indispensable.“So what that tells me is that your future is you with a computer, not you replaced by a computer,” Schmidt said.Convinced there will be a shortage of jobs; the exec implored businesses to fill positions with “people plus computers.”“The computers will make people smarter,” he continued. “If you make the people smarter, their wages go up. … And the number of jobs go up, not down.”Schmidt’s theory is contrary to data released last month by MIT and Boston University: Researchers discovered that an increase in automation tends to negatively impact local employment.Just how likely are you to get the boot from your boss? Ask Web-based tool “Will Robots Take My Job?” The site is based on a 2013 report examining how susceptible 702 occupations are to computerization.“According to our estimates, about 47 percent of total US employment is at risk,” developers said four years ago.Immelt, however, takes this news with a grain of salt, calling bullshit on fears that grinning robots will soon be handing out pink slips to human workers.“There’s 330,000 people that work for GE, and none of them had a productive day yesterday, none of them had a completely productive day,” Immelt told the VivaTech crowd.“So my own belief is that when it comes to digital tools and things like that, that first part of the revolution, is going to be to make your existing workforce productive,” he said last week, according to CNBC.Thinking about a career change? This might be the right time to hang up the whistles (sports officials), put away the energy boards (manicurists/pedicurists), and return the uniform (waiters) in favor of something more secure.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. Get Used to ‘Fortnite’s’ Powerful Mech SuitsRobots to Compete in Underground Challenge in Mining Tunnels last_img read more

Indians clinch first World Series berth since 1997 The golden year of

first_img Advertisement In Game 5, the Indians jumped on the board in the first inning, when Mike Napoli drove in a run with a double and largely quieted the Toronto crowd before they could become a factor. Carlos Santana and Coco Crisp added solo shots, which proved to be all the scoring the Indians needed.Cleveland rookie pitcher Ryan Merritt, who had only one previous major league start, shut down the Blue Jays through 4 1/3 innings, when Tito Francona handed the ball to the bullpen and Andrew Miller to slam the door on Toronto’s season.While the Cubs and the Dodgers have garnered most of the attention in the MLB postseason, the Indians have easily been the most dominate team, dispatching the Red Sox and Blue Jays, while only losing one game during their playoff run.The Indians will welcome the NLCS winner to Cleveland for Game 1 of the World Series, a city currently drunk with winning professional sports franchises, and delicious beer. Game highlights from last night’s ALCS clinching Cleveland win.center_img The Cleveland Indians punched their ticket to the World Series for the first time since 1997, after smothering the Blue Jays 3-0 in Game 5 of the ALCS, and clinching the series 4-1. Cleveland’s last World Series title came in 1948, when Bob Feller and Lou Boudreau were leading the team, and you could buy a house for about the cost of a Macbook Pro.The Indians will host Game 1 of the World Series on October 25, the same night that the Cavaliers open their season and receive their championship rings. Times they are a changin on the banks of the mighty Cuyahoga.Cleveland middle reliever Andrew Miller, also known as the human incarnation of Satan for Playoff opponents and Toronto Blue Jays fans, was named ALCS MVP.In the series, the versatile 6’7” lefty buzzsaw, acquired from the Yankees before the trade deadline, pitched 7 2/3 innings of scoreless relief with an inhuman 14 strikeouts. So far in the playoffs, Miller has been a one man middle relief bridge to the 9th inning, and the place where middle inning rallies go to die. In an era of specialized relievers, Miller is a throwback, capable of grabbing the pill and cruising through two or more innings. He’s Mariano Rivera disguised as Paul Bunyan.last_img read more

Reagan administration CIA complicit in DEA agents murder say former insiders

first_imgPlumlee said he worked undercover as a CIA contractor for the civilian aviation company SETCO, flying between points in Mexico, South and Central America and the United States, delivering arms for the Contras.Various investigations, including one by the CIA’s Inspector General, established that SETCO was an airline controlled by Honduran drug trafficker Juan Matta Ballesteros, and also was the principal company used to traffic arms to the Contra rebels.Matta Ballesteros is currently serving time in a U.S. federal prison.Plumlee said he flew a C-130 transport plane in and out of Caro Quintero’s ranch in Veracruz, Mexico, to Bogotá and Medellín, Colombia, to Ilopango Air Base in El Salvador, and to a secret airstrip on the Santa Elena Peninsula in Costa Rica, among other locations, carrying arms south from the U.S. to the Contras and cocaine north to U.S. military installations, including El Toro Marine Air Base in southern California and Homestead Air Force Base in Florida.Plumlee estimated that among them, the four pilots smuggled about 40 tons of cocaine in the operation.The pilot said he had no worry about being caught by civilian aviation or military authorities because he carried “coded transponders” that identified his plane as a “spooky” flight warning off any official scrutiny. The transponders permitting such flights could only have come from the White House, Plumlee said.The programs were code-named “Grasshopper,” for the El Toro route and “Roosterhop,” for the Homestead route, Plumlee added.Berrellez said he’s convinced the drugs were taken from the airbases by traffickers with connections to the Contras and sold on the streets.In fall 1984, Plumlee met at the Oaxaca Café in Phoenix, Arizona, with agents from the Phoenix Organized Crime Detail and the Arizona Tri-State Task Force, including Camarena, to discuss his SETCO flights.When Plumlee told the agents the flights were sanctioned by the U.S. government, “Kiki said, ‘That’s horseshit. You’re lining your pockets,’” Jordan recalled. “He could not believe that the U.S. government could be running drugs into the United States.”Alarmed by Camarena’s threats to bust the operation, Plumlee went to Bennettee and told him about Camarena’s warning, saying that he had no intention of going to jail and would blow the whistle if indicted.Bennettee told Plumlee not to worry. “Camarena isn’t going to do anything,” he reassured the pilot. About five months later, on Feb. 7, 1985, Camarena was kidnapped in Mexico by agents of the Federal Security Directorate (DFS by its Spanish acronym), which the former DEA agents say were both the eyes and ears of the CIA in Mexico and at the same time at the beck and call of Mexico’s powerful drug cartels.According to Plumlee, the DEA agent had written a series of memos complaining about official lethargy in bringing the gunrunning operation under control.“Kiki said, ‘What do we have to do, does someone have to get killed to do something about this?’” Plumlee said.Jordan added that the use of a drug dealer’s property by the CIA for the purpose of helping the Contras didn’t sit well with the DEA agents.“That’s the way we’re brought up, so to speak,” he said. “When we see someone running drugs, we want to bust them, not work with them.”Three weeks after he disappeared, Camarena’s decomposing body was found on a ranch. He had been tortured, it was later learned, in a brutal three-day ordeal that ended in his death. Officials blamed Caro Quintero, who, they said, had exacted revenge on Camarena for busting Caro Quintero’s multimillion-dollar marijuana plantation in Chihuahua, Mexico.But Berrellez charges the CIA with complicity in the murder, based on the cozy relationship between the CIA and DFS, and between the DFS and the Guadalajara drug cartel, the timing of Camarena’s threat to Plumlee, and the fact that the CIA was able to produce two or three of the tapes of Camarena’s interrogation, but failed to provide three or four other similar tapes.“Kiki was sacrificed because it was thought that he was on to them,” Berrellez said.Plumlee said the White House was concerned about a leak that might have incriminated officials in the illegal arming of the Contras. He said he knows this because he was given access to intelligence reports and briefing materials during his testimony in 1990 to the Senate committee chaired by then-Senator and now-Secretary of State John Kerry. Much of Plumlee’s testimony was given in closed session and remains sealed as a national security secret, the pilot said.“They wanted to talk to Kiki about the arms, not drugs,” Plumlee said.The alleged support for the Contras by Mexican drug kingpins, including Caro Quintero and Miguel Félix Gallardo, is not new. The Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post reported on the relationship between the Reagan government and the drug lords in 1990, according to the book “Cocaine Politics: Drugs, Armies and the CIA in Central America,” by Peter Dale Scott and Jonathan Marshall.But the alleged connection between the Reagan Administration’s Contra policies and Camarena’s murder has only surfaced after the release in July of Caro Quintero from prison – where he served 28 years of a 40-year jail term – and has been widely reported in the Mexican and Central American press.Some in the Mexican press went so far as to say that the CIA, not Caro Quintero, killed Camarena. Mexican former drug cartel boss, Rafael Caro Quintero, was serving his conviction at Puente Grande prison in Guadalajara when he was released last July. The U.S. government is offering a $5 million reward for information leading to his capture and prosecution in the United States.AFP Reporter Gary Webb wrote the “Dark Alliance” series linking Contra drug running to the proliferation of crack cocaine in Los Angeles. He committed suicide in 2004, although the cause of death has been highly disputed. Screenshot from interview by School of Authentic Journalism 2002 seminar in Merida, Mexico DEA agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena, who was tortured and murdered in 1985. Courtesy of U.S. Justice Department. The fact that witnesses have placed CIA operatives at the scene of Camarena’s kidnapping and interrogation tells Jordan that the CIA operatives should have told their handlers ahead of time and stopped it.“If it were the other way around and it were DEA operatives with knowledge of a possible kidnapping of a CIA agent, the DEA would never allow it to happen,” Jordan said.Plumlee said he is talking now because he wants to cover himself now that the issue has come into public view, and also to set the record straight, as some news sources, especially in Mexico, have blamed the CIA directly for murdering Camarena.Plumlee produced a letter dated Feb. 11, 1991, written by former Sen. Gary Hart to then-Sen. Kerry saying that Plumlee had been in contact with his office about the arms and drug trafficking between 1983 and 1985, and that Hart’s staff had informed the Senate Foreign Relations and Intelligence Committees but “no action was initiated by either committee.”Bill Holden, Hart’s national security adviser and now a county commissioner in Arapaho County, Colorado, said he met with Plumlee several times.“I have no reason not to believe Plumlee,” Holden said. National Security Council adviser Lt. Col. Oliver North “was involved in a lot of nefarious activities that led the Reagan Administration into Iran-Contra.”Iran-Contra was the scandal that rocked the Reagan Administration when it was revealed that the government had sold arms to Iran and used the proceeds to finance the Contras.Berrellez said the 76-year-old pilot is risking a lot to speak out, as he could still be prosecuted for the drug trafficking and even as an accessory to murder for flying Caro Quintero from Veracruz across the border to Guatemala when the drug lord made his escape from Mexico en route to a short-lived stay in Costa Rica in March 1985.Even before the Iran-Contra scandal broke, two reporters from the Associated Press, Brian Barger and Robert Parry, had published a series of articles reporting on alleged drug trafficking by Contra rebels.The articles focused on companies that served as fronts for both aiding the Contras and running drugs, but did not hint at drug running on the scale alleged by Plumlee.In 1996, Gary Webb, reporting for the San Jose, California-based Mercury News, broke a story linking Contra drug running to the proliferation of crack cocaine in Los Angeles that had bred addiction and gang-related violence.Though the “Dark Alliance” series was based on a case that had already been aired, the series hit a nerve by implying that the a U.S. government-backed rebel group (the “CIA’s army” as the series repeatedly stated) was responsible for a crack epidemic that began in L.A. and spread to other communities, especially black communities, across the country.Soon thereafter, The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Los Angeles Times all published articles shooting down Webb’s reporting, saying that the amount of drugs run by the ring in Webb’s article could not by itself have sparked an epidemic on a scale experienced by U.S. cities.center_img First in an exclusive Tico Times series in two parts Two former U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents and a former U.S. Central Intelligence Agency contract pilot are claiming that the Reagan Administration was complicit in the 1985 murder of DEA agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena at the hands of Mexican drug lord Rafael Caro Quintero.The administration’s alleged effort to cover up a U.S. government relationship with the Mexican drug lord to provide for the arming and the training of Nicaraguan Contra rebels, at a time when official assistance to the Contras was banned by the congressional Boland Amendment, led to Camarena’s kidnap, torture and murder, according to Phil Jordon, former head of the DEA’s El Paso office, Hector Berrellez, the DEA’s lead investigator into Camarena’s kidnapping, torture and murder, and CIA contract pilot Robert “Tosh” Plumlee.“We’re not saying the CIA murdered Kiki Camarena,” Jordan said. But the “consensual relationship between the Godfathers of Mexico and the CIA that included drug trafficking” contributed to Camarena’s death, he added.“I don’t have a problem with the CIA conducting covert operations to protect the national security of our country or our allies, but not to engage in criminal activity that leads to the murder of one our agents,” Jordan said.Camarena had discovered the arms-for-drugs operation run on behalf of the Contras, aided by U.S. officials in the National Security Council and the CIA, and threatened to blow the whistle on the covert operation, Jordan alleged.Berrellez said two witnesses identified, from a photo lineup, two or three Cuban CIA operatives who participated in Camarena’s interrogation.Plumlee said he and three other pilots ran tons of cocaine into U.S. military bases on return trips from delivering weapons to Contra rebels in Central America, and was warned by Camarena that he would be busted. Plumlee has a long and colorful history of working for the CIA, beginning with flying arms to Cuba before Fidel Castro’s takeover in the 1950s.Jordan said the cover story Plumlee had been told by his CIA “handler” William Bennetee – that his cocaine flights into U.S. military bases were part of a drug interdiction program to penetrate and dismantle the cocaine routes of Colombian drug lords Pablo Escobar and Jorge Ochoa – was unimaginable, since the DEA, which would have had to approve the program, had no knowledge of it.“I don’t know of any DEA administrator that I worked for who would have sanctioned cocaine smuggling into the United States in the name of national security, when we are out there risking our lives,” Jordan told The Tico Times.The CIA reacted indignantly to the allegation of complicity in Camarena’s murder. “It’s ridiculous to suggest that the CIA had anything to do with the murder of a U.S. federal agent or the escape of his killer,” an agency spokesman told Fox News.The DEA said only that U.S. justice has gotten to the bottom of the Camarena case.“DEA believes that the individuals responsible for the torture and murder of Special Agent Kiki Camarena have been identified and indicted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California. They include Rafael Caro-Quintero and 15 others,” said the agency in a statement.An agency spokeswoman declined to elaborate. The Contra’s Southern Front, April 22, 1983. Mario Castillo/La República/Tico Times The particular ring written about by Webb, headed by Nicaraguan drug traffickers Norwin Meneses and Danilo Blandon, was not big enough to have fueled the crack epidemic and provided relatively little money to the Contra cause, the news reports said.Berrellez admitted that he can’t make a firm connection between the Contra drug flights into southern California, but said he is convinced the Meneses-Blandon drug ring had access to cocaine flown into El Toro Marine Air Base, adding that the ultimate buyer of the drug for street sales in Los Angeles, “Freeway” Ricky Ross, dealt in tons of cocaine and had Meneses and Blandon as his suppliers.“I was working in Los Angeles at the time, and I can tell you we knew of no interdiction program at El Toro,” Berrellez said. “The Contras were running drugs from Central America and the Contras were providing drugs to street gangs in Los Angeles. That’s your connection.”Initially supportive, Webb’s editors, in the face of the criticism, backed off the story, saying the articles had overreached. Webb was demoted to a backwater suburban beat and eventually quit the newspaper. Unable to find work at another major daily, he committed suicide in December 2004.But outrage over Webb’s allegations prompted the CIA to assign the agency’s inspector general, Fredrick Hitz, to investigate the extent of the CIA’s knowledge of cocaine trafficking by the Contras.The Hitz report found no evidence the CIA was involved in the trafficking, but did ascertain that individuals and companies related to Contra operations were involved in the trafficking, and that the CIA did not act in an expeditious manner to stop it.As for Caro Quintero, since his release, the U.S. government has offered a $5 million reward for information leading to his capture and prosecution in the United States.Said Jordan: “From my own opinion, he has to worry more about CIA operatives than he does the Mexican government or the CIA.”Coming up in part 2 of the series, the role of Costa Rica’s secret northwestern airstrip. Facebook Comments Related posts:27 years later, CIA pilot tells of using secret Costa Rican airstrip to traffic guns, cocaine Reports: CIA present during U.S. drug agent’s torture, murder Doctors complicit in torture at CIA, military prisons: study Torture report revives CIA’s rogue imagelast_img read more