United States Freezes Assets of Alleged MS-13 Gang Leaders

first_imgDetails of two MS-13 extortion schemes were revealed during two recent judicial proceedings that ended with six gang members receiving lengthy prison sentences. “One of my employees received a call one day on a cellphone that’s owned by the office,” a business owner in the municipality of Mejicanos testified on February 22nd before a tribunal of the Supreme Court of Justice. “[The caller] sounded like a young person and used gangland slang to tell him he belongs to Mara Salvatrucha and that he wanted $1,000 that same day as a ‘monthly rental fee.’” The U.S. Department of the Treasury imposed economic sanctions on two suspected leaders of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), a transnational criminal gang and a threat to U.S. national security. The Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) stated on February 16th that the U.S. assets of alleged MS-13 leaders Roberto Orellana and Dany Balmore Romero García have been frozen and U.S. entities are now prohibited from engaging in any financial or commercial transactions with the two individuals. The OFAC accused Orellana and Romero of leading MS-13 cliques and orchestrating assassination campaigns against Salvadoran law enforcement, Military, and government officials. MS-13 leaders use younger members, who are often recruited with threats, to inform business owners how much they have to pay to prevent from becoming victims of violence. “In El Salvador, MS-13 has zones under its control, as if they were Military spaces,” Rivas stated. “It is understandable that investments are required to maintain the criminal structure. This step taken by the OFAC allows them to block the financial networks that support the gang.” MS-13 engages in a wide array of crime in El Salvador, including drug trafficking, kidnapping, human smuggling, homicide, and extortion, according to Salvadoran and U.S. authorities. “MS-13 gang leaders have built up their enterprises to such a great degree that currently they manage every type of investment within the economy of Central America,” explained José Rivas Soriano, dean of the College of Juridical Sciences at Universidad Nueva San Salvador. A judge sentenced Josué Eduardo Parada Díaz, Vidal Armando Ramos Arabia, and William Alberto Castro Díaz to 12 years in prison for extorting the business owner, whose name is being withheld under victim and witness protection laws. For example, the gang uses bakeries and convenience stores in El Salvador and Guatemala as legally established front companies to justify their savings accounts, Rivas added. This is how they launder money and perform the financial transactions that allow them to purchase weapons and sustain their criminal activities. The U.S. Department of the Treasury protects the security of the United States by imposing economic and commercial sanctions targeting external threats to the country’s foreign policy or national security. In 2012, the U.S. government designated MS-13 as a transnational criminal organization. There are at least 30,000 MS-13 members in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico, plus another 8,000 in the United States. Hi,We are a Europe based Marine Construction firm and we need an attorney to assist us in drafting a purchase and Sales agreement with a buyer in your area. Are you able to take this matter? If not, a referral will be appreciated. Ray KenOperations Manager BAM INTERNATIONALPrinses Beatrixlaan 52595 AK The HagueTel:+32465765969E-mail: [email protected] [email protected] The victim, who also has protection as a victim or witness, filed a complaint, and, in coordination with the Office of the Prosecutor General for the Republic, coordinated the delivery of the money. At that point, authorities captured José Wilfredo Rodríguez Membreño and Erick Alexander Argumedo Pacheco, who have each been convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison. By Dialogo March 08, 2016 Criminal enterprises The OFAC’s sanctions are supported by the National Gang Intelligence Center, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Criminal Investigations Division, and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations because these cases, among others, involve gang members obtaining money illegally. “[This is] part of a larger effort by the Treasury Department to collaborate with authorities in Central America to combat the activities of MS-13,” OFAC Acting Director Smith said in a press release. OFAC Acting Director John E. Smith said that Orellana and Romero have led “local operations … orchestrating assassination campaigns […and…] have sought to disrupt Salvadoran government efforts to combat MS-13 activity.” The gang consists of “cliques” led by senior leaders who make decisions regarding moving into new territories and recruiting members, according to the OFAC. In a separate case, another business owner in the municipality of Chalchuapa in the department of Santa Ana was told by MS-13 to pay $5,000 in exchange for the gang not interrupting the business’ commercial activities. Extortion schemelast_img read more

Ulster claim impressive away win

first_imgUlster secured one of the most memorable away Heineken Cup wins as they comprehensively beat last season’s quarter-finalists Montpellier 25-8 in southern France. Andrew Trimble crossed for Ulster’s only try on 11 minutes before Ruan Pienaar paved the way for victory with 15 points from his boot. Paddy Jackson also added five points. Ulster had waited 15 matches in the Heineken Cup to beat a French side on their own soil when they edged Castres 9-8 to reach the last-eight last season, but this was a far more impressive triumph to show how much they have grown. The score cut the gap to two points, but the conversion attempt failed to level the scores. That could have been the springboard for a major revival from the Montpellier side, but they were never able to get on top of the dogged Ulster pack. They wasted one glorious try-scoring opportunity, but generally made far too many mistakes for their own good. All the while Pienaar made them pay as he kicked three penalties to stretch the visitors’ lead to 22-8 before Jackson added the coup de gras with a sixth penalty with the final kick of the game to leave his side in very good shape after two rounds. Not only did this win move Ulster two points clear of Leicester Tigers – who they beat last week – in Pool Five, but it also prevented Montpellier a point of their own Yves du Manoir stadium. The French side were in good form heading into the match having opened their own European campaign with a useful away win over Benetton Treviso while they sit level on points at the head of Top 14 with Toulon and Toulouse. They were also unbeaten at home this season but trailed at half-time after Trimble’s try. A brilliant counter-attacking move involving four back-line players, which started on their own 10-metre line, ended with a score to remember for the Irish winger. Jonathan Pelisse gave the home side an encouraging early lead with a penalty, but that was much less than their early endeavour should have brought. Ulster rode the expected early storm and came thundering back into the contest with Trimble’s try. A long kick down field was gathered on his 10-metre line by Jarad Payne. His long pass opened up an avenue on the left touchline and Trimble took a pass from Darren Cave on the outside, passed inside to Tommy Bowe and then took a return ball from his wing partner before cutting inside to score a try which Jackson converted. There were three missed penalties from Ulster, and a wayward drop-goal attempt from home fly-half Francois Trinh-Duc before half-time and the game was evenly balance at 7-3 at the break. Pienaar then opened the second half with a long-range penalty before TMO Gareth Simmonds confirmed there had not been a knock-on in a build-up to a breakaway try for winger Yoan Audrin. Press Associationlast_img read more

QuASA brings color to campus with first-ever Pridefest

first_imgFor Christian Santana, Friday’s inaugural USC Pridefest was more than just another festival held in the McCarthy Quad.USC’s first-ever Pridefest took place Friday and featured free HIV testing, a clothing donation drive, a bounce house and other activities. Tyler Kowta | Daily Trojan“I’m pretty open about my sexuality, but it took a long time to get here,” said Santana, a senior majoring in psychology who attended the event. “And as someone who was once in that position where you may not feel 100 percent comfortable, even just walking by something like this, it’s empowering.”USC Pridefest brought color and vibrance to McCarthy Quad, supplying students with free crêpes from Crêpes Bonaparte, ice cream sandwiches from a Coolhaus food truck and a wide array of activities of expression. A large rainbow flag was spread across the grass, and attendees sported miniature flags on their hats and backpacks.Hal Pan, the assistant director of the USC Queer and Ally Student Assembly, helped organize this USG and QuASA co-sponsored event.“It’s a very common practice in queer communities to have a Pridefest, but those usually happen in the summer when people are away from school and perhaps back in communities where they’re not as out and they can’t have as many friends to celebrate with,” said Pan, a sophomore majoring in arts, technology and the business of innovation. “So we wanted to provide them with an opportunity to just celebrate identity and have that Pridefest experience here on campus.”Pridefest also featured bounce houses and over a dozen tables of arts and crafts activities, including button-making, portrait-drawing, temporary tattoos and wax creations by USC Lambda LGBT Alumni Association. The festival also set up information booths from LGBTQ student groups on campus, such as the LGBT Resource Center, Queer People of Color and First-Year Advocacy Board.“We’re very much in the feminist community and the LGBTQA community,” said Sara Noe, who was running a booth for the online clothing store Kidd Bell. “We’re all about equality.” Kidd Bell sells shirts, pins, hats and condoms with strong messages of feminism and equality. Another addition to Pridefest was an appearance by Jeffrey Liang, a health educator at Asian Pacific AIDS Intervention Team. At the event, Liang helped facilitate free HIV testing for students. According to Liang, QuASA reached out to APAIT to bring their van onto campus, where testing occured. “A lot of people don’t really have access to HIV testing, so the more we can do to provide access to that, to educate, to work on eradicating the stigma that is around HIV testing and really promote that no matter what your status is, your status is sexy and taking care of yourself is the most sexy thing you can do,” Liang said.To Pan, an event like USC Pridefest serves as a celebration of identities not only on campus, but also throughout the Los Angeles community.“Pridefest [is] a moment of visibility, and it’s important … to savor the good moments and see how far we’ve come, and also perhaps mingle, find new people and see the queer community on campus come out and be strong,” Pan said.last_img read more

Legislative Page Torsten Spieler

first_imgFacebook14Tweet0Pin0Submitted by House Democratic CaucusTorsten Spieler, a student at Avanti High School, served as a page this week in the Washington State House of Representatives. Sponsored by State Rep. Steve Tharinger (D-Sequim), Torsten is the son of Jen Waldref and Thilo Spieler of Olympia and Lacey. Pages assume a wide variety of responsibilities, from presenting the flags to distributing amendments on the House floor. Pages support the efficient operation of the Legislature while also receiving daily civics instruction, drafting their own bills, and participating in mock committee hearings.last_img read more

Chiefs sweep Kootenay Ice in weekend BCMMHL action

first_imgHome ice didn’t pay off this weekend for the Kootenay Ice in BC Major Midget League action in the West Kootenay.The Vancouver Northeast Chiefs skated away with a pair of one-side wins Saturday in Nelson and Sunday morning in Trail.The Chiefs, third overall in BCMMHL standings with a 15-7-2 record, out scored the Ice 16-4 in the two-game series.Vancouver dumped Kootenay 9-1 Saturday at the NDCC Arena in Nelson before rallying from a 3-0 deficit to beat the Ice 7-3 Sunday at the Cominco Arena in Trail.Kyle Johnson scored three times for the Chiefs in the opener while Parker Colley had four assists. Blake Sidoni of Trail scored the lone goal for the Ice, which trailed at the period breaks 3-0 and 7-0.Sunday, Kootenay led 1-0 after one period on a goal by Aigne McGready-Bruce of Nelson.Kootenay then scored twice early in the second period.Sidoni, with his second in two games, and Matthew Alderson of Trail put Kootenay up by three goals five minutes into the middle frame.But the Chiefs rallied to score four times in the final 11 minutes of the period before putting the game away with three goals in the third period.Devon Stafford scored three times to lead the Chiefs.Solomon Burk of Castlegar and Jason Mailhiot of Trail tended goal for the Ice.Kootenay, dropping to 3-18-3 on the season, hosts cellar–dwelling Thompson Blazers Saturday (5:45 p.m.) and Sunday (9:45 a.m.) at the NDCC Arena.The Blazers enter the game with one win in 22 games.last_img read more

Nguni Juices: a winning local mix

first_imgCreator of Nguni Juices Norman Mpedi in his factory. Workers collect fruit in the veld for processing. The umviyo fruit is rich in vitamin C and fibre. (Images: Norman Mpedi) MEDIA CONTACTS • Norman Mpedi +27 82 267 3053 [email protected] ARTICLES • Paying it forward with goat farming • Teaching people to work with nature • South African wine farms invest in biodiversity • SA’s burgeoning berry industry Emily van RijswijckThanks to canny survival skills learnt in the bush, former Umkhonto we Sizwe soldier Norman Mpedi has made a drastic career change and launched successful organic juice manufacturing operation Nguni Juices, using wild indigenous fruit harvested in Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal.It all started when Mpedi could not find work in the South African National Defence Force following the disbanding of Umkhonto we Sizwe. At this stage he often used to think back to times when he and his fellow comrades survived solely on what was available in the Angolan bush. Sometimes this only amounted to edible wild fruits growing in abundance.He recalls: “We ate this fruit, the umviyo, sometimes for up to three weeks at a time and we survived.”Untapped potentialUmviyo is the isiZulu name for the wild medlar or Vangueria infausta, a wild fruit similar to the better-known marula (Sclerocarya caffra) or Mnguni in isiZulu. Nutritionally, it’s as rich in vitamin C and natural fibre as the latter.In juice form it is an almost unrivalled high-energy natural supplement. Knowing this, Mpedi knew there was untapped potential in this source and started to investigate it further.“No-one had this idea before,” he says.This was back in 2003 and Mpedi began tackling the challenges of researching various indigenous fruits and their potential for juicing, and finding financial assistance for his start-up venture. He also had to register his product and patent his juice with the Companies and Intellectual Property Registration Office.With the help of specialists in the field from the University of Johannesburg and Pretoria, his final product was tested for nutritional quality and taste, and finally given the thumbs-up.“All my products are organic and completely free of chemicals,” says proud Mpedi. His products are currently only available at selected tourist and health shops, at some fruit and vegetable outlets and certain petrol stations.Mpedi is still looking for additional capital to fund expansion.RecognitionIn the meantime, his efforts have not gone unnoticed. In February 2011 Mpedi got a personal mention in Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s annual budget speech.Gordhan related how Mpedi, Mlondolozi Kosi – with his ICT training centre in Willowvale in the Eastern Cape, and Antonio Pooe – with Exactech Fraud Solutions in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban – are small business operators setting an inspiring example for others.“Small businesses are an important source of jobs. Businesses that employ fewer than 50 workers account for 68% of private sector employment,” Gordhan said at the time.Mpedi employs about 12 workers at his factory in Mokopane in Limpopo. As the fruit ripen in summer, his busiest times are from January until March when he employs additional local people to help with harvesting.In 2007 he was a finalist in the small companies category of the Department of Trade and Industry’s Technology Awards, and in 2008 he was recognised by the Industrial Development Corporation for his research on indigenous foods.In the new year Mpedi hopes to branch out into other products, such as alcoholic ciders from the same fruit.In addition to umviyo, he harvests monkey oranges and a plant known as utshwala benyoni, also known as white birds brandy, because when birds eat it they “become very noisy and lively”, Mpedi says.This plant is used as a natural enhancer in the fruit juice as it has a minty flavour.“Next year my business will grow even more, for sure,” he adds.last_img read more

Brand South Africa’s South African Competitiveness Forum and the Pan-African University Dialogue overview with Dr Kobby Mensah

first_imgBrand South Africa and the University of South Africa (UNISA) successfully partnered to host the South African Competitiveness Forum (SACF) and the Pan-African University Dialogue in a two-day programme on the 11th -12th September 2018 and wrapping up the South African visit with a day-tour in and around Johannesburg and Soweto on the 13th September 2018.The conference brought together academics, and industry representatives from South Africa, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, and Nigeria to provide expert input on key issues that impact the competitiveness and reputation of the Pan-African brand. Additionally, to collaborate on finding a way forward in the Pan-African Marketing and Nation Brand research in the era of the Continental Free Trade Area.Further to this, it was important to determine inclusive solutions to the future of education in Pan-African brand marketing for students and educators across the continent.Dr Kobby Mensah from the University of Ghana Business School, a lecturer in the fields of tourism and marketing and one of the panellist at the dialogue, unpacks the two-day programme and his contribution to the dialogue.In a one-on-one conversation, Dr Mensah shared his key highlights on the dialogue, “There is a need for us to collaborate on a number of things, especially as academics, sharing of ideas in areas of study and collaborative research on the identity of Africa, Pan-Africa brand identity. To have a homogenous approach to building and maintaining Pan-African brand identity.”Dr Mensah’s presentation took on the topic of Pan-African identity and some of the ideas he reflected in the presentation was that “As Africa, we are suffering from the problem of autonomous sources of information – news, documentaries and textbooks which do not reflect the truth of who we are. We need to take charge, especially in technology to promote positivity about our countries and the Pan-African identity”As a lecturer he makes sure to challenge his students to advance in digital tourism were they share pictures of their communities, where they blog about their beautiful hidden gems, to influence the African narrative and change perception.When asked about the possibility of a future for a Pan-African brand. Yes, he said; “I definitely see the future and there must be clarity as to what it is we want in terms of a Pan-African Brand. How do we develop a brand that can be accessed within the African space and be able to push into the world?”Dr Mensah was amazed by the information shared by other colleagues and presentations it was “refreshing to see and hear”. This reaffirmed the imperative need for collaborative efforts and changing the principal learnings of what Nation brand is for a country and Pan-Africa.Rounding off the intensive yet informative dialogues, delegates were treated to a tour in and around Johannesburg and lunch served in the popular Lebo’s Backpackers.Dr Mensah encourages Africans to travel their continent and with Ghana, “travellers will be enthralled by the cultural diversity, and the colourfulness of the Ghanaian people and their kente garments”.last_img read more

Ohio Soil and Water Conservation Commission: Special meeting notice

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Notice is now given that a special meeting of the Ohio Soil and Water Conservation Commission will be held on Aug. 30, 2018 at 10:30 a.m. at the Ohio Department of Agriculture, Auditorium, Bromfield Building, 8995 E. Main St., Reynoldsburg, Ohio, for the following purpose:The Ohio Soil and Water Conservation Commission, Western Lake Erie Basin Watershed In Distress task-force/subcommittee will meet to evaluate the recommendation for declaring eight watersheds within the Western Lake Erie Basin as watersheds in distress.The Ohio Soil and Water Conservation Commission is a seven-member commission which ensures Ohio counties are served by effectively administered and adequately supported soil and water conservation districts.The meeting is open to the public.last_img read more