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Thursday, 31 July 2014

Super Rich Foreigners soar by 21% in demand for homes over 500,000 euros

Posted On 21:43 by stargate 0 comments

The demand for housing over half a million euros, from which granted Spanish citizenship if foreign buyers increased by 21% in the last three months , according fotocasa.es . The search for these homes are especially located in Madrid, Catalonia, Andalusia, the Balearic Islands, the Basque Country and Valencia. These areas coincide with the preferred regions of foreigners to settle. Given the realized purchases, foreigners purchased a flat in 2013 spent on average 381,860 euros . The more money spent on the purchase of property were Russians (678,424 euros), followed by Germans (338,716 euros), Belgians (346,728 euros), English (190,633 euros) and French (171,644 euros). On the other hand, the area claimed by foreigners investing in Spain is the coast of Alicante, which arouses interest especially the British and the Russians.


A woman who works as a professional sex toy tester rakes in £15,000 a year having 15 orgasms a week - all in the name of work.

Posted On 19:42 by stargate 0 comments

A woman who works as a professional sex toy tester rakes in £15,000 a year having 15 orgasms a week - all in the name of work.

Cara Houiellebecq has an office crammed with more than 2,000 toys that she test drives for adult companies - before being paid to review each one on her blog.

The mother-of-two from Lincoln, who became an erotic blogger five years ago, spends seven hours every week testing the toys.

 

 
Now that's a niche job! Cara Houiellebecq is a professional sex toy tester - and rakes in £15,000 a year from brands who send her their products to review
 
 
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Now that's a niche job! Cara Houiellebecq is a professional sex toy tester - and rakes in £15,000 a year from brands who send her their products to review

The 33-year-old has sex toys delivered to her door four or five times a week and the toys have now become part of her everyday life.

Speaking about her job, Cara said: 'Toys have always been a part of my private sex life - it gave me the idea to start writing about my sex life and I had the idea to start testing sex toys.

 

 

 

'It’s a great job, I’ve worked in a bank before but I’d never go back to that now - it’s never boring.'

Cara started her own blog with her toy reviews and began to get more and more hits. 'Gradually my reviews became more and more prolific and I was noticed by a sex toy company who wanted me to work for them,' she said.




Aqwa Mist, the ultimate Puerto Banús super club is proud to announce their latest coup, cementing its reputation as the hippest dance venue in Southern Spain.

Posted On 15:24 by stargate 0 comments

Sunday 3rd August 2014

Top Recording Artist & Dancer to Play 1 of 3 European Sets in Marbella this Summer

Aqwa Mist, the ultimate Puerto Banús super club is proud to announce their latest coup, cementing its reputation as the hippest dance venue in Southern Spain.

Chris Brown, one of the world’s hottest and most-talked about R&B and hip-hop stars will be performing a one-night-only set at Aqwa Mist on Sunday 3rd August.

The Award-winning American musician, whose video for his recent track Loyal has had 100 million views, will be rousing the club’s party crowd with a unique, one-off performance in Europe this summer. The talented 25 year-old, will be playing some of his best tracks live to the thrilled public of Chris Brown fans in the early hours of Sunday morning.

The self-taught musician was discovered at 13 and by age 14 had developed a prolific recording career. His first album, entitled simply Chris Brown, debuted at number two in the Billboard charts. With six studio albums under his belt before the age of 25, among the accolades awarded to Chris Brown to date are the American Music Awards, BET Awards and two NAACP Image Awards.


Ryanair plans to launch budget flights to the Middle East and Russia

Posted On 15:17 by stargate 0 comments

Forget the Costa del Sol, Ryanair announces plans to launch budget flights to the Middle East and Russia CEO Michael O'Leary said airline wants to use Cyprus as a base Will allow carrier to fly to destinations including Israel and Jordan Has put in bid for Cyprus Airways but is 'not particularly interested'


SHOCK WEATHER FORECAST: Hottest August in 300 YEARS on way as jet stream BOILS Britain

Posted On 08:13 by stargate 0 comments

SHOCK WEATHER FORECAST: Hottest August in 300 YEARS on way as jet stream BOILS Britain BRITAIN will roast in the hottest August EVER with temperatures set to hit an unbearable 100F within weeks.


Ebola: UK border staff 'unprepared' says union leader

Posted On 08:02 by stargate 0 comments

Border, immigration and customs staff feel unprepared to deal with people coming to the UK with possible cases of the Ebola virus, a union leader says. Immigration Service Union general secretary Lucy Moreton said her members needed more information on the threat. Almost 700 people have died since the first case was detected in west Africa in February. Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has said the UK government is taking the current outbreak "very seriously".


Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Savile charity 'to fight against payouts for victims'

Posted On 16:56 by stargate 0 comments

A charity set up by Jimmy Savile is to challenge a compensation scheme for victims of the sex attacker. The Jimmy Savile Charitable Trust will take its case to the Court of Appeal later this year, victims' lawyers said. It wants to overturn an agreed scheme, under which the Savile estate, which is separate to the trust, the BBC and the NHS are liable to compensate victims. Liz Dux, who represents 176 of the late DJ's victims, said her clients would be "angry and disappointed" by the move. The charitable trust controls £3.7m and is a separate entity to the Savile estate. Ms Dux said the estate had its own pot of funds, which is where its share of payouts are to come from. Continue reading the main story “ Start Quote The victims deserve redress and closure. They have suffered enough” Liz Dux Abuse lawyer She said she could therefore not understand why the charity trustees were taking the legal action. "For one, it's going to mean that more precious funds that should have gone to victims are being spent on legal costs, which is exactly what the settlement scheme was designed to avoid," she told the BBC. "And secondly, the charitable trust is not even responsible for compensating victims - that is for the estate to do." Unrestricted access Savile is said to have abused more than 200 people over a 60-year period. Last month, investigators found the ex-BBC DJ sexually assaulted victims aged five to 75 in NHS hospitals over decades of unrestricted access. The High Court approved a compensation scheme for victims earlier this year. The Jimmy Savile Charitable Trust was granted leave in mid-July by the Court of Appeal to challenge the ruling. Victims' lawyers were informed by the court last week. The appeal is expected to take place between September and January, Ms Dux said. Under the agreed settlement scheme, abuse victims will be able to claim against the BBC, the NHS and the Savile estate. 'In the dark' Ms Dux said all three bodies agreed they would make payouts and that claims to the BBC and the NHS would not deplete the estate's available funds. "The victims, the Savile estate, the NHS and the BBC are all acting on the same side. We all want and support the approved scheme," she said. "The scheme is a pragmatic and sensible solution to what will otherwise be protracted and hugely expensive litigation." The abuse lawyer added: "The charitable trust offered no explanation then as to why it objected to the scheme and even now we and the victims remain in the dark. No money can be paid from the charitable trust to compensate victims. "The victims deserve redress and closure. They have suffered enough. We urge the Court of Appeal to back the original scheme as previously agreed so this process can move towards a much-desired conclusion." Ms Dux said the Savile estate had funds of about £3.2m last year, but had probably been "haemorrhaging" money in legal fees.


British airlines are on alert for cases of the deadly virus, after tests revealed a man died in Nigeria from the disease, having been allowed to board an international flight from Liberia.

Posted On 16:46 by stargate 0 comments

 A British man has also been tested for the Ebola virus, putting doctors on red alert that it could be on its way to the UK. A spokesman for Hong Kong's Queen Elizabeth Hospital, said the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) will be notified if it is confirmed the patient is suffering from the Ebola virus. In Nigeria health officials said today, they are in the process of tracing 30,000 people at risk of contracting the disease after coming into contact with a Liberian man who died on Friday. Meanwhile, the British man was taken to hospital in Birmingham after complaining of feeling ‘feverish’ on a flight back to the Midlands from West Africa. He had been travelling from Benin, Nigeria via Paris, France when he became unwell on Monday. However, after undergoing a number of tests he was given the all-clear for the virus which has already killed 672 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone and infected more than 1,200 since it was first diagnosed in February. In another scare, medical staff at Charing Cross Hospital in London became concerned a man in his twenties had caught the virus this week. But his symptoms were quickly confirmed as not being linked to the bug and doctors ruled out the need for an Ebola test.


Ex-policeman on Azelle Rodney murder charge

Posted On 16:33 by stargate 0 comments

A former policeman is to be charged with murdering a man who was shot dead after a car was stopped by officers in north London nine years ago. Azelle Rodney, 24, was travelling in a car that was stopped by police, who were looking for a group they believed were on their way to an armed robbery. An inquiry last year chaired by Sir Christopher Holland ruled there was "no lawful justification" for the shooting. The CPS has now made a decision to charge the man, identified only as E7. The former police marksman will appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court for a preliminary hearing on 10 September. 'Waited a long time' Mr Rodney was shot six times - in the arm, back and head - in Edgware in April 2005. He was travelling with two other men when officers stopped the car and opened fire. His mother Susan Alexander said: "I am very pleased at the CPS's decision to prosecute the officer who killed my son. "I have waited a long time to see this day and hope this prosecution will lead to justice for Azelle. "Whilst I am disappointed at the decision not to prosecute the commissioner in relation to the failures which were found by Sir Christopher Holland regarding the planning and control of the operation, his report makes clear that there were significant failures on the part of the Metropolitan Police and we deserve an immediate and unreserved apology for those failures."


Tuesday, 22 July 2014

New Magaluf sex video: 'British tourist' caught romping in broad daylight between parked cars

Posted On 13:52 by stargate 0 comments

A shocking new video has emerged of a couple having sex in broad daylight apparently filmed on a Magaluf street. The couple's romp between two parked cars was captured on film by someone recording them through a window. The footage is too shocking to broadcast but during their two-minute encounter they are failed to be put off by passing cars. The nationality of the copulating couple is unknown, but the title of the video describes a "British Tourist". It is not clear how old they are, but they appear to be in their 30s. When he has finished he kneels on the ground as the woman slowly gets to her feet and re-arranges her mini-skirt before he passes her a tissue.


Barcelona Slaps Fine On Airbnb And Considers Taking Action To Ban Access To The Site

Posted On 11:39 by stargate 0 comments

Barcelona’s Generalitat has fined the holiday rental site Airbnb €30,000€ after detecting that the site displayed advertising for more than 11,000 ‘irregular’ properties that are not registered with the government as official tourist accommodation. Launched in 2008, the site Airbnb is one of the most popular travel sites for holiday accommodation and short stays with listings in over 34,000 cities in 190 countries around the globe. The website also offers rooms in private homes, which is illegal under Catalan legislation. According to various sources, the government of Cataluñya is also considering blocking access to the site, should Airbnb not remove the ‘illegal’ property listings from their site. Airbnb has warned that the fine imposed by the government will only slow down Barcelona’s tourism, with the city currently in the top three most popular cities on the site, only after New York and Paris. In February, Airbnb announced that it had contributed 128 million Euros towards Barcelona’s economy, as well as boosted employment with over 4,000 jobs.


After expressing misgivings about the wording of the UN resolution, the Russian ambassador ultimately raised his hand in favour.

Posted On 03:24 by stargate 0 comments

After expressing misgivings about the wording of the UN resolution, the Russian ambassador ultimately raised his hand in favour. A veto from Moscow would have provoked even more of an international outcry. US ambassador Samantha Power said it would not have been necessary had Russia used its leverage to get the separatist rebels to let international experts visit the site sooner. Raising a hand in support of a resolution at the UN is different from lifting a finger to help, and the test of this resolution will come from its implementation on the ground. Not for the first time during this crisis, the chamber of the Security Council felt more like a courtroom, with Vladimir Putin still very much in the dock.


Thursday, 17 July 2014

REVEALED: Shocking failure to police drink-spiking in Spanish resorts

Posted On 02:17 by stargate 0 comments

POLICE in Spain have apparently no official records for the crime of drink-spiking. Hospitals and town halls have also failed to give any indication of the severity of the problem, despite a terrifying 60% increase in sexual attacks in Spanish resorts last year. The shocking revelation comes as assaults from spiking begin to soar, with the summer season now well underway. “It is clearly becoming a bigger issue and particularly in the summer,” said a source at Marbella Town Hall.


Wednesday, 16 July 2014

We cannot see our greatest selves beyond giant shame trees that provides shade for our demons of guilt

Posted On 23:42 by stargate 0 comments

 while we sweat in the harshness of the midday sun of our hang-ups, begging to believe we are worthy.


Released Alien from Border Crisis Arrested for Alleged Murder, Kidnapping in Texas

Posted On 23:28 by stargate 0 comments

An illegal immigrant who was released by U.S. authorities with a Notice to Appear has been arrested for the alleged murder of a woman and kidnapping of children on U.S. soil. The alleged crimes occurred after the man was released. The man, Pedro Alberto Monterroso-Navas, entered the U.S. illegally with children and turned himself in to U.S. Border Patrol agents. He was processed and released, as are all illegal immigrants who come as unaccompanied minors or incomplete family units from Central America. The alien is from Honduras. The arrest was first reported by the Associated Press (AP), but Breitbart Texas has exclusively confirmed that the man was part of the Obama Administration’s catch and release policy for family groups from Central America. A U.S. Border Patrol source who spoke with Breitbart Texas on the condition of anonymity provided Breitbart Texas with the alien registration number for the man, and the event number for the man’s apprehension. He was processed in the McAllen station of the U.S. Border Patrol. The alien’s registration number is 202027386. The event number for his apprehension is MCS14061487. The “MCS” designates the McAllen station, the “1406” designates that the man was apprehended in June of 2014. A separate Border Patrol source confirmed that the man was apprehended on June 26, 2014 with two children he claimed were his own. He told U.S. authorities he had family in Metairie, Louisiana.


Shocking images showing two couples having sex outside nightclub sparks outrage online

Posted On 22:21 by stargate 0 comments

This is the shocking photograph showing two couples having sex outside a nightclub. Two scantily clad girls are pictured sitting on boys’ laps in a car park outside Ed Divino in Belfast as other stunned revellers looked on. The jaw-dropping snap of the two couples, taken last Thursday, has gone viral with people posting their disgust online. One twitter post reads: “WTF is wrong with the young ones did they not learn after magaluf girl n slanegirl now another pic pops up :(.” Another posted: “People have no shame. This is traumatic.”


El Divino nightclub, Belfast: Picture of clubbers having sex in car park posted on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook sparks outrage

Posted On 22:10 by stargate 0 comments

A picture of two female clubbers appearing to have sex with two men in a car park outside a nightclub has sparked outrage online. The image has been shared on thousands of social media accounts after being taken outside El Divino in Belfast after a student night last Thursday. It shows the two scantily-clad women on top of the men, with other revellers milling in the background, in scenes reminiscent of the recent video of a clubber giving oral sex to men in return for a drink in Magaluf.


British cyber-jihadist Babar Ahmad jailed in US

Posted On 21:41 by stargate 0 comments

A British cyber-jihadist has been sentenced in a US court to 12-and-a-half years' imprisonment after admitting terrorism offences. Babar Ahmad, of Tooting, south London, had admitted conspiracy and providing material to support the Taliban. Ahmad has already spent almost 10 years in prison in the UK and US and his lawyer thinks he could be released in about seven-and-a-half months. He waived his right to an appeal as part of a plea agreement. The judge said she had to weigh the seriousness of the crime with Ahmad's good character, after reading thousands of letters of support and hearing from British prison officials who described him as an exemplary prisoner. The court in New Haven, Connecticut, handed down a sentence of 150 months, half of the 25 years the prosecution was seeking. Ahmad is expected to carry out the remainder of his sentence in New York's Metropolitan Correctional Center.


Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Ms Sandiford to be executed for drug trafficking.

Posted On 10:22 by stargate 0 comments

A British grandmother has been sentenced to death by firing squad for smuggling almost 5kg of cocaine into Bali.

Lindsay Sandiford was arrested in May last year after she tried to enter the Indonesian holiday island with illegal drugs worth £1.6 million hidden in her suitcase.

Local prosecutors had called for the 56-year-old housewife to be jailed for 15 years. But today there were gasps in the Bali courtroom when a panel of judges announced Ms Sandiford would be executed for drug trafficking.

As the shock verdict was announced, Ms Sandiford, from Gloucestershire, slumped back in her chair in tears before hiding her face with a brown sarong as she was led out of the courtroom.


Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Amber Gold affair is one of the biggest financial scandals to hit Poland since the fall of communism in 1989.

Posted On 12:44 by stargate 0 comments

It was pretty much all the money Bozena Oracz had after a working life as an accountant: the equivalent of $15,000. She placed it in a fund investing in gold, with the hope of paying for her daughter's studies and getting treatment for a bad knee.

Those dreams were dashed when she discovered she had fallen victim to an elaborate fraud scheme that has left thousands of Poles, many of them elderly, facing financial ruin.

The so-called Amber Gold affair is one of the biggest financial scandals to hit Poland since the fall of communism in 1989. The extent of wrongdoing is still murky, but it seems to have some elements of a pyramid scheme, meaning the financial institutionused funds from new clients to pay off older clients rather than investing them.

Consumed with anger and desperation, 58-year-old Oracz traveled last week from a small town near Warsaw to a law firm in the capital to consider whether, after losing 50,000 zlotys, she should risk another 3,000 zlotys ($920; €730) on the fee to join a class-action lawsuit seeking to recover some of the losses.

"This was a lot of money to me — it was my savings," Oracz said, fighting back tears. Now retired and living on a small pension, she sees no way of building another nest egg. "My pension barely covers my needs," she said.

The affair has raised questions about the effectiveness of Poland's justice system and government because authorities failed to act against the scheme despite red flags from regulators and the criminal record of its young owner. Scrutiny has also focused on the prime minister due to business dealings his son had with those running the scheme. The scandal has even touched democracy icon Lech Walesa, who fears it could tarnish his good name.

Prosecutors say investors lost about 163 million zlotys ($50 million; €40 million), a number that has been mounting as more and more victims come forward. Any law suits could take care years to go through the courts, with no guarantee of their outcome.

"People are desperate," said Pawel Borowski, a lawyer preparing the class-action suit that Oracz is considering joining. "In most cases the clients lost life savings or sold family properties to make investments."

The financial institution, Amber Gold, promised guaranteed returns of 10 to 14 percent a year for what it claimed were investments in gold. Many of its clients were older Poles who grew up under communism and lacked the savvy to question how a financial firm could guarantee such a high return on a commodity whose value fluctuates on the international market. The promised returns compared well to the 3 to 5 percent interest offered by banks on savings accounts — earnings essentially wiped out by the country's 4 percent inflation rate.

"These were people with a low level of financial education," said Piotr Bujak, the chief economist for Poland at Nordea Markets. "They think it's still like in the old times, where everything was guaranteed by the state. They underestimated the risk."

Amber Gold launched in 2009, opening branches in city centers alongside respected banks, with white leather sofas and other sleek touches that conveyed sophistication and respectability. It bombarded Poles with convincing advertisements. Some early investors got out with their expected gains, adding to the fund's credibility.

The company, based in Gdansk, capitalized on gold's allure while playing on people's anxieties in unpredictable financial times. "We are dealing with a loss of confidence in the entire financial system and an urgent need for safe investments," one ad said. "The environment for gold is perfect."

Amber Gold drew in 50,000 investors over its three years of operation, though the company's founder, Marcin Plichta, said there were only about 7,000 at the time of liquidation.

Soon after Amber Gold began operations, the Polish Financial Supervision Authority put it on a "black list" of institutions that operate like banks without authorization. There are 17 other such black-listed institutions in operation, but the regulators lack the authority to shut them down. This has sparked a debate in the government and news media about whether courts should be more aggressive in intervening.

According to prosecutors, the company did use some of its money to invest in at least one legitimate business: It was the main investor in budget airline OLT Express. It was this investment that brought Amber Gold down — when the airline filed for bankruptcy, Amber Gold entered liquidation and its scheme of investments unraveled. Its bank accounts were blocked and it was unable to return the money of thousands of its customers.

Plichta was charged this month with six counts of criminal misconduct.

Prime Minister Donald Tusk's center-right government went into damage-control mode when it emerged that the leader's son, Michal Tusk, had done PR work for the airline. Tusk said he had warned his son against doing business with Plichta but that ultimately he son makes his own decisions.

Leszek Miller, the head of the opposition Democratic Left Alliance, asked how Tusk could warn his son against involvement in the airline but not warn the thousands of Poles who invested in the fund. Miller has called for a parliamentary inquiry into the scandal.

Public discontent is also centering on the justice system because Plichta, 28, has past convictions for fraud, and many Poles are asking why authorities — aware of his criminal record — didn't stop him sooner. Born Marcin Stefanski, he took his wife's last name to distance himself from his past crimes.

The country's top prosecutor, Andrzej Seremet, admitted Monday that prosecutors were negligent in failing to heed multiple warnings since 2009 about Amber Gold from the financial supervisory body. He announced personnel changes in the office he blamed for mistakes.

The affair also has an unlikely connection to the Solidarity leader and former president, Lech Walesa, because an Oscar-winning director, Andrzej Wajda, was relying on money from Amber Gold to produce a film about Walesa's struggle in the 1980s.

Walesa came out publicly to make clear he is not involved in any way, saying he doesn't want his name "dirtied."

Many of the unlucky investors are not only furious but wracked by shame and guilt.

Engineer Andrzej Malinowski, 61, put three months of salary — 25,000 zlotys ($7,660; €6,100) — into Amber Gold. He made the investment without consulting with his wife, sensing that there was some risk and that she would not have agreed.

Now he is so shaken and embarrassed that he doesn't want to talk about it, leaving his wife, Danuta Malinowska, to help unravel the mess.

"He saw that gold was going higher and higher so he believed that maybe it would be a good deal," Malinowska said. "Now he has so much guilt that I am trying to help — contacting the lawyer, filling in the forms, writing to the prosecutors. But the justice system is very ineffective. I don't believe we will be getting any of this money back."


Monday, 27 August 2012

Miguel Angel Trevino Morales new leader is emerging at the head of one of Mexico's most feared drug cartels.

Posted On 14:28 by stargate 0 comments

  • Mexico Drug War Zetas_Plan.jpg

    This undated image taken from the Mexican Attorney General's Office rewards program website on Aug. 23, 2012, shows the alleged leader of Zetas drug cartel, Miguel Angel Trevino Morales, alias âZ-40.â (AP Photo/Mexican Attorney General's Office website)

Mexico's Violent Zetas Cartel Sees New Leader Miguel Angel Trevino Morales A split in the leadership of Mexico's violent Zetas cartel has led to the rise of Miguel Angel Trevino Morales, a man so feared that one rival has called for a grand alliance to confront a gang chief blamed for a new round of bloodshed in the country's once relatively tranquil central states.

Trevino, a former cartel enforcer who apparently has seized leadership of the gang from Zetas founder Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano, is described by lawmen and competing drug capos as a brutal assassin who favors getting rid of foes by stuffing them into oil drums, dousing them with gasoline and setting them on fire, a practice known as a "guiso," or "cook-out".

Law enforcement officials confirm that Trevino appears to have taken effective control of the Zetas, the hemisphere's most violent criminal organization, which has been blamed for a large share of the tens of thousands of deaths in Mexico's war on drugs, though other gangs too have repeatedly committed mass slayings.

"There was a lot of talk that he was pushing really hard on Lazcano Lazcano and was basically taking over the Zetas, because he had the personality, he was the guy who was out there basically fighting in the streets with the troops," said Jere Miles, a Zetas expert and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agent who was posted in Mexico until last year.

"Lazcano Lazcano, at the beginning he was kind of happy just to sit back and let Trevino do this, but I don't think he understood how that works in the criminal underworld," Miles said. "When you allow someone to take that much power, and get out in front like that, pretty soon the people start paying loyalty to him and they quit paying to Lazcano."

The rise has so alarmed at least one gang chieftain that he has called for gangs, drug cartels, civic groups and even the government to form a united front to fight Trevino Morales, known as "Z-40," whom he blamed for most of Mexico's violence.

"Let's unite and form a common front against the Zetas, and particularly against Z-40, Miguel Angel Trevino Morales, because this person with his unbridled ambition has caused so much terror and confusion in our country," said a man identified as Servando Gomez, leader of the Knights Templar cartel, in a viedo posted Tuesday on the internet.

A Mexican law enforcement official who wasn't authorized to speak on the record said the video appeared to be genuine,

"He is the main cause of everything that is happening in Mexico, the robberies, kidnappings, extortion," Gomez is heard saying on the tape. "We are inviting all the groups ... everyone to form a common front to attack Z-40 and put an end to him."

Trevino Morales has a fearsome reputation. "If you get called to a meeting with him, you're not going to come out of that meeting," said a U.S. law-enforcement official in Mexico City, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the topic.

In two years since Zetas split with their former allies in the Gulf cartel — a split in which Trevino reported played a central role — the gang has become one of Mexico's two main cartels, and is battling the rival Sinaloa cartel.

Now the Zetas' internal disputes have added to the violence of the conflict between gangs. Internal feuds spilled out into pitched battles in the normally quiet north-central state of San Luis Potosi in mid-August, when police found a van stuffed with 14 executed bodies.

San Luis Potosi state Attorney General Miguel Angel Garcia Covarrubias told local media that a 15th man who apparently survived the massacre told investigators that both the killers and the victims were Zetas. "It was a rivalry with the same organized crime group," Garcia Covarrubias said.

The leadership dispute also may have opened the door to lesser regional figures in the Zetas gang to step forward and rebel, analysts and officials said.

Analysts say that a local Zetas leader in the neighboring state of Zacatecas, Ivan Velazquez Caballero, "The Taliban," was apparently trying to challenge Trevino Morales' leadership grab, and that the 14 bullet-ridden bodies left in the van were The Taliban's men, left there as a visible warning by Trevino Morales' underlings.

The Taliban's territory, Zacatecas, appears to have been a hot spot in Trevino's dispute with Lazcano. It was in Zacatecas that a professionally printed banner was hung in a city park, accusing Lazcano of betraying fellow Zetas and turning them in to the police.

Trevino began his career as a teenage gofer for the Los Tejas gang, which controlled most crime in his hometown of Nuevo Laredo, across the border from the city of Laredo, Texas, officials say.

Around 2005, Trevino Morales was promoted to boss of the Nuevo Laredo territory, or "plaza" and given responsibility for fighting off the Sinaloa cartel's attempt to seize control of its drug-smuggling routes. He orchestrated a series of killings on the U.S. side of the border, several by a group of young U.S. citizens who gunned down their victims on the streets of the American city. American officials believe the hit men also carried out an unknown number of killings on the Mexican side of the border, the U.S. official said.

Trevino Morales is on Mexico's most-wanted list, with a reward of 30 million pesos ($2.28 million) offered for information leading to his capture.

Raul Benitez, a security expert at Mexico's National Autonomous University, said that the Zetas are inherently an unstable cartel with an already huge capacity for violence, and the possibility of more if they begin fighting internal disputes. "I think the Zetas are having problems, and there is no central command," he said.

The Zetas have been steadily expanding their influence and reaching into Central America in recent years, constructing a route for trafficking drugs that offloads Colombian cocaine in Honduras, ships it overland along Mexico's Gulf Coast and runs into over the border through Trevino Morales' old stomping grounds.

Samuel Logan, managing director of the security analysis firm Southern Pulse, notes that "personality-wise they (Trevino Morales and Lazcano) couldn't be more different," and believes the two may want to take the cartel in different directions. The stakes in who wins the dispute could be large for Mexico; Lazcano is believed to be more steady, more of a survivor who might have an interest in preserving the cartel as a stable organization.

"Lazcano may be someone who would take the Zetas in a direction where they'd become less of a thorn in the side for the new political administration," Logan said in reference to Enrique Pena Nieto, who is expected to take office as president on Dec. 1. "In contrast, Trevino is someone who wants to fight the fight."

Referring to Ignacio "Nacho" Coronel, a member of the rival Sinaloa Cartel who died in a shootout with soldiers in July 2010, Logan noted, "Trevino is someone who is going to want to go out, like Nacho Coronel went out, with his guns blazing."





Laurence Kilby, 40, of Cheltenham, who built and raced cars, was arrested after police seized cocaine with a street value of £1m.

Posted On 14:19 by stargate 0 comments

 

Laurence Kilby, 40, of Cheltenham, who built and raced cars, was arrested after police seized cocaine with a street value of £1m.

A "privileged" racing driver has been jailed with 11 other drug smugglers. Crown Court heard he was head of a gang moving drugs from Eastern Europe along the M4 corridor to London, western England and south Wales.

Kilby was heavily in debt and turned to crime to maintain his lifestyle of fast cars and high living.

Raids on properties

Kilby was jailed in June but his conviction, and those of the rest of the gang, can now be reported following the conclusion of another trial.

In an undercover operation between Gloucestershire and Avon and Somerset Police, officers seized 3kg of cocaine as it was being ferried between London and Cheltenham in October 2010.

Another 1kg of the drug was intercepted in Cheltenham in February 2011 and 2.5kg was discovered in raids on properties in Cheltenham, Staverton, Bristol and London in July 2011.

The gang of 12 drug dealers from Gloucestershire, Bristol and London received sentences of between 18 years and four years seven months.

It can now be reported Kilby, who was jailed in June, and Vladan Vujovic, 43, of Grange Road, London were found guilty of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs. Both were jailed for 18 years.

Laurence Kilby racing in the 2009 Castle Combe Saloon Car ChampionshipKilby built and raced cars with the company he owned, Ajec Racing

Richard Jones, 42, of Bradley Stoke, Bristol, was sentenced to 15 years for the same offence, and Mark Poole, 47, from Portishead, was sentenced to nine years seven months after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.

Police said Kilby sourced the drug in London from an East European criminal gang, which included Vujovic.

Vujovic ran a baggage handling company at Heathrow Airport and was said to receive the cocaine before it was distributed around the South West and Wales.

Kilby is the former husband of Flora Vestey, daughter of Lord Vestey, and was owner of motor racing firm Ajec Racing which was based in Staverton.

He was heavily in debt and turned to crime to maintain his lifestyle of fast cars and high living.

'Well-connected socialite'

In a separate charge, Kilby also pleaded guilty to stealing money from the charity Help for Heroes and was sentenced to 10 months, to run concurrently with his 18-year sentence.

He organised a charity race day at Gloucestershire Airport in July 2010, but failed to pass on between £3,500 and £4,000 in proceeds to the charity Help for Heroes.

Det Insp Steve Bean, from Gloucestershire Police, said Kilby was the main man.

"He portrayed himself as a well-connected socialite and businessman, whilst indulging his ambition as a minor league racing driver.

Drugs wrapped in plastic packagesPolice seized 6.5kg of drugs during the operation

"Despite a privileged background, the reality was that his lifestyle was funded by the ill-gotten gains of drug dealing.

"He continually lied and blamed others in an attempt to distance himself from the conspiracy.

"He displayed an air of arrogance and thought he could get away with it because he didn't get his hands dirty."

The majority of the gang were jailed in June, but reporting restrictions meant it could not be reported until now, after the sentencing of the remaining gang members.

Others members of the gang to be sentenced were:

  • David Chapman, 29, from Bourton-on-the-Water, Gloucestershire, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply and was sentenced to nine years.
  • William Garnier, 31, from Cheltenham, pleaded guilty to supplying Class A drugs and was sentenced six years and eight months.
  • Garry Burrell, 46, from Easton, Bristol, and John Tomlin, 28, from Newtown, Gloucestershire both pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine and were sentenced to six years and six months and four years and six months respectively.
  • Timothy Taylor, 40, from Bristol was found guilty of supplying Class A drugs and was sentenced to four years and seven months.
  • Brian Barrett, 48, from Keynsham was found guilty of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and was sentenced to 10 years.
  • Scott Everest, 39, from Clevedon was found guilty of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and was jailed for seven years.

Jonathan Tanner, 45, from Warminster was sentenced to 18 months for possession with intent to supply of cannabis, but was cleared of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.

Darren Weetch, 38, from Bristol, pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine with intent to supply. He was sentenced to 16 months.

Officers also worked with Thames Valley Police and the Metropolitan Police during the operation.


17 Afghans beheaded in insurgent attack on party

Posted On 13:59 by stargate 0 comments

Insurgents beheaded 17 civilians in a Taliban-controlled area of southern Afghanistan, apparently because they attended a dance party that flouted the extreme brand of Islam embraced by the militants, officials said Monday. The killings, in a district where U.S. Marines have battled the Taliban for years, were a reminder of how much power the insurgent group still wields in the south — particularly as international forces draw down and hand areas over to Afghan forces. The victims were part of a large group that had gathered late Sunday in Helmand province's Musa Qala district for a celebration involving music and dancing, said district government chief Neyamatullah Khan. He said the Taliban slaughtered them to show their disapproval of the event. All of the bodies were decapitated but it was not clear if they had been shot first, said provincial government spokesman Daoud Ahmadi. Information was only trickling out slowly because the area where the killings occurred is largely Taliban controlled, Khan said. The Taliban spokesman for southern Afghanistan could not be reached for comment. Many Afghans and international observers have expressed worries that the Taliban's brutal interpretation of Islamic justice will return as international forces withdraw. Under the Taliban, who ruled the country from 1996 to 2001, all music and film was banned as un-Islamic, and women were barred from leaving their homes without a male family member as an escort. Helmand is one of the areas seeing the largest reduction in U.S. troops, as the force increase ordered up by President Barack Obama departs. The U.S. started drawing down forces from a peak of nearly 103,000 last year, and plans to have decreased to 68,000 troops in country by October. One of the most worrying trends to accompany the drawdown has been a surge in attacks by Afghan forces against their international allies, and another shooting came on Monday morning, though it appeared to be accidental. Two American soldiers were shot and killed by one of their Afghan colleagues in the east, military officials said, bringing to 12 the number of international troops — all Americans — to die at the hands of their local allies this month. But Afghan officials said Monday's attack in Laghman province was a separate case from the rash of recent insider attacks on international forces, because it appeared to have been unintentional. The incident unfolded when a group of U.S. and Afghan soldiers came under attack, said Noman Hatefi, a spokesman for the Afghan army corps in eastern Afghanistan. When the troops returned fire and ran to take up fighting positions, an Afghan soldier fell and accidentally discharged his weapon, killing two American soldiers with the stray bullets, he said. "He didn't do this intentionally. But then the commander of the (Afghan) unit started shouting at him, 'What did you do? You killed two NATO soldiers!' And so he threw down his weapon and started to run," Hatefi added. The U.S. troops had already called in air support to help with the insurgent attack and the aircraft fired on the escaping soldier from above, killing him, Hatefi said. NATO spokesman Lt. Col. Hagen Messer of Germany confirmed that two international soldiers were killed by an Afghan soldier in Laghman province, but declined to give further comment. Insider attacks have been a problem for the U.S.-led military coalition for years, but it has exploded recently into a crisis. There have been at least 33 such attacks so far this year, killing 42 coalition members, mostly Americans. Last year there were 21 attacks, killing 35; and in 2010 there were 11 attacks with 20 deaths. The chief spokesman for NATO forces in the country said coalition forces were not pulling back from collaborating with the Afghans because of the attacks. "We are not going to reduce the close relationship with our Afghan partners," Brig. Gen. Gunter Katz told reporters in the capital. Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said that he could not confirm any link between the attacker in Monday's shooting and the insurgency. In previous insider attacks, the Taliban have quickly claimed responsibility and named the assailants. Mujahid did not comment on the other attacks in the south, which is watched over by a different Taliban spokesman. Meanwhile, Helmand officials reported that 10 Afghan soldiers were killed in an attack on a checkpoint in the south, and five were either kidnapped or joined their assailants. Ahmadi, the provincial spokesman, said insurgents attacked the checkpoint in Washir district Sunday evening. Another four soldiers were wounded he said. The Afghan Defense Ministry said the checkpoint was attacked by more than 100 insurgents. Ahmadi said the five missing soldiers left with the insurgents but it was unclear if they were kidnapped or went voluntarily.


Monday, 9 July 2012

US Marshals capture fugitives from Hinesville/Liberty County area

Posted On 08:27 by stargate 0 comments

In four separate cases, fugitives from the Hinesville/ Liberty County area have been arrested by the United States Marshals Service Savannah Office of the Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force, the Jacksonville Office of the Florida Regional Task Force and the New York /New Jersey Regional Fugitive Task Force in the last 45 days.   When our state and local law enforcement partners need help in locating and arresting fugitives, the Marshals Service Fugitive Task Forces are there to help. In the first case, Hinesville Police Department fugitive, Anginette Denise MHOON, 40, was wanted on August 2010charges of Elder Abuse, and Criminal Attempt to commit Financial Transaction Card Fraud.  MHOON was also charged by the Savannah Chatham Metro Police Department in August of 2011, for First Degree Forgery and Theft by Receiving Stolen property.  All of the charges relate to the same case where Mhoon allegedly stole a check from an elderly Alzheimers patient.  The case was referred to the Marshals Savannah Fugitive Task Force for assistance in April of 2012.  After an extensive investigation by the Savannah Task Force, Marshals generated a new address in the Jacksonville, Florida area.  This information was passed to the U.S. Marshals Jacksonville Office of the Florida Regional Task Force for assistance.  The Jacksonville Marshals worked numerous leads in the Jacksonville area and on June 1, 2012, found her at an address in Jacksonville, FL.  Mhoon was arrested and taken to the Duval County Jail to await extradition back to Liberty County. In the second case from the Hinesville Police Department, Peppe Alexander Hibbert, 42, was wanted on warrants issued in April of 2012 for the offenses of Theft by Deception and False Statements and writings, in a case where he allegedly defrauded a woman out of $35,000 over the sale of a car.  The False Statements charges stem from false information provided to the clerk of court stating that he was out of the country on military orders and could not appear in court, when in fact he had been previously discharged from the military.   Hibbert fled the Hinesville area.  The case was referred to the Savannah Marshals Task Force for help in June of 2012.  An extensive investigation revealed that Hibbert was possibly in the Atlanta, Georgia area.  Numerous addresses in the Atlanta area were found, but all proved to be a dead end.  Additional information was found that indicatedHibbert had left the Atlanta area and moved to Albany, New York.  This information was passed to the U.S. Marshals New York/New Jersey Regional Fugitive Task Force for assistance.  On June 26, 2012, investigators with the NY/NJ task Force found Hibbert at 195 Kent Street, in Albany, New York.  Hibbert was taken to the Albany County jail to await extradition back to Georgia. In a third case, Frank Sandstrom, 34, was wanted by the Liberty County Sheriff’s Department for multiple offenses including: 4 charges of Theft by Taking, 4 charges of Theft by Receiving, 4 charges of Possession of a Weapon by a Convicted Felon, Burglary, Possession of Controlled Substances, and Possession of Marijuana less than an ounce in a 2010 indictment.  Sandstrom failed to appear in court in February of 2012 and a new warrant was issued for his arrest.  After an extensive investigation, the Savannah Marshals’ Task Force generated leads that placed him in a house in the 1800 block of Holly Avenue in Savannah, Georgia.  On July 2, 2012, Task Force officers went to the Holly Avenue address and Sandstrom was arrested without incident.  Sandstrom was transported to the Chatham County jail to await pick up by Liberty County. In the fourth case, Donald Jerome Barrett was wanted by the Hinesville Police Department for the offenses of Rape and Conversion of Payments for Real Property in warrants issued in November of 2010.   This case was referred to the Savannah Task Force on June 27, 2012. On July 2, 2012, Barrett was found working on a house at 197 Robinson Circle in Midway, Georgia.  Barrett was arrested without incident and transported to the Liberty County jail.


FBI seeks public's assistance in locating fugitives involved in Brian Terry murder investigation

Posted On 08:26 by stargate 0 comments

The FBI is holding a press conference Monday to ask for help looking for fugitives in the Brian Terry murder investigation. Terry was shot in the back in December of 2010. At the time, there were believed to be five people involved in his killing. The FBI has never said which person pulled the trigger that killed him. They have also never been able to say which gun killed him. As ABC15 has been reporting, two of the weapons found at the scene were linked back to the Fast and Furious case. That's the case that allowed criminals to get weapons and transport them to members of drug cartels, while agents admitted to looking the other way. Manuel Osorio-Arellanes is currently in custody. Border Patrol agents shot him at the scene. The U.S. Attorney handling the case confirms that Monday's press conference will reveal who how many people are in custody, and how many are still at large. ABC Investigator Lori Jane Gliha is in Tucson gathering information on this developing story.


Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Assange seeks political asylum

Posted On 04:52 by stargate 0 comments

On Tuesday night WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange applied for political asylum at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London after failing in his bid to avoid extradition to Sweden to face sex crime allegations. The 40-year-old Australian is currently inside the building in Knightsbridge, having gone there on Tuesday afternoon to request asylum under the United Nations Human Rights Declaration. The country's foreign minister Ricardo Patino told a press conference in the South American country that it was considering his request. In a short statement last night, Mr Assange said: "I can confirm that today I arrived at the Ecuadorian Embassy and sought diplomatic sanctuary and political asylum. This application has been passed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the capital Quito. I am grateful to the Ecuadorian ambassador and the government of Ecuador for considering my application." The computer expert, who was on £200,000 bail after failing in several attempts to halt extradition, attracted several high-profile supporters including Ken Loach and socialite and charity fundraiser Jemima Khan, who each offered £20,000 as surety. Other supporters included Bianca Jagger and veteran left-winger Tony Benn. The Swedish authorities want him to answer accusations of raping a woman and sexually molesting and coercing another in Stockholm in August 2010 while on a visit to give a lecture. Assange, whose WikiLeaks website has published a mass of leaked diplomatic cables that embarrassed several governments and international businesses, says the sex was consensual and the allegations against him are politically motivated. The Supreme Court last month ruled in favour of a High Court ruling that his extradition was legal. Last week the Supreme Court refused an attempt by him to reopen his appeal against extradition, saying it was "without merit". He had until June 28 to ask European judges in Strasbourg to consider his case and postpone extradition on the basis that he has not had a fair hearing from the UK courts. A statement issued on behalf of the Ecuadorian Embassy said Mr Assange would remain at the embassy while his request was considered.


Monday, 18 June 2012

Mexican Mafia Fugitive Caught in Tijuana

Posted On 01:08 by stargate 0 comments

A fugitive from Los Angeles, who is a known member of the Mexican Mafia gang, was apprehended in Tijuana this week. 52 year old José Luis Montellano was wanted with arrests warrants for armed robbery, bank robbery, and probation violations. Municipal police worked with the international department of the state police, as well as the U.S. Marshals, to apprehend the suspect. Montellano was found in the colonia Salvatierra, which is on the southwest side of Tijuana. He had been hiding in Mexico since at least January of this year. A Baja state police unit dedicated to capturing international criminals has been very effective in working with U.S. authorities. Multiple criminals have been captured in recent months. The Mexican Mafia is a dangerous gang that originates in U.S. prisons. Many sureño street gangs in Southern California and in the prison system work in coordination under the Mexican Mafia. The gang has been active in California since the late 1950’s. Montellano will be sent to the U.S. immediately to face prosecution.


Sunday, 17 June 2012

online pharmacy pioneer arrested in U.S.

Posted On 19:15 by stargate 0 comments

Andrew Strempler facing charges in Florida

Andrew Strempler, the founder of Mediplan Pharmacy, appeared in a federal court in Miami on Thursday, the Wall Street Journal reported. Andrew Strempler, the founder of Mediplan Pharmacy, appeared in a federal court in Miami on Thursday, the Wall Street Journal reported. (Fred Greenslade/Winnipeg Free Press/Canadian Press)



Andrew Strempler, a Manitoba man who was one of the first entrepreneurs in the cross-border online pharmacy industry, has been arrested in Florida and is facing charges related to the sale of foreign and counterfeit medicines, CBC News has confirmed.

The founder of Mediplan Pharmacy — also known as RxNorth.com — appeared in a federal court in Miami on Thursday. Strempler, 38, is expected to be arraigned next week on charges tied to an online pharmacy business, the paper said.

Strempler faces up to 20 years in prison for each of the charges against him, U.S. authorities are also going after $95-million dollars of what they allege are proceeds of crime.

The current charges relate to a 2005 seizure of drugs being shipped by Mediplan. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration claimed many of the drugs promoted as Canadian actually came from other countries. An FDA investigation was launched in 2006 after the agency advised consumers against purchasing several prescription drugs from Mediplan.

At that time, Strempler called the FDA warning a tactic designed to prevent uninsured Americans from getting drugs from outside the U.S.

He also said his company regularly tested the drugs and declared them safe and reliable.

Strempler later sold the company to CanadaDrugs.com, another Winnipeg-based online pharmacy group that is currently being investigated by the FDA in connection with two more cases of counterfeit cancer drugs found in the U.S. earlier this year.

"It's somewhat unfortunate because when some of these infractions occurred, the business, in my opinion, was 100 per cent legitimate, at least that was the intention," David MacKay, the former executive director of the Canadian Internet Pharmacy Association, said after he heard of the charges.

MacKay, who has known Strempler for years, said he believed Strempler had "every intention of conducting an ethical and professional business" aimed at helping U.S. patients keep drug costs down.

MacKay said that because trade was "spreading worldwide and the product was being sourced from outside of Canada, the chances increased for any pharmacy to be penetrated by counterfeit product."

FDA looking at other online pharmacies

The current charges come two years after Strempler agreed to have his name removed from the Manitoba Pharmaceutical Association registry. That move came after disciplinary hearings in which the association alleged Strempler's company sold drugs from overseas locations that weren't approved by Health Canada.

Strempler started operating in a free-trade zone in Curacao, a tiny nation in the Caribbean, shortly after.

Andrew Strempler was deported from Panama and flown to Miami, according to Barry Golden, with the U.S. Marshals Department in Miami.

He said Strempler was taken into custody by waiting U.S. Marshals and Customs and Border Protection officials.

"Clearly the FDA was looking for him and had interest in arresting him for some time and unfortunately he stepped foot in the country," MacKay said.

An FDA spokesperson would not comment specifically on the arrests, but urged customers to be careful when making online drug purchases.

"Many of these websites are operating outside of the United States. However, the internet's broad reach allows these websites to reach U.S. consumers," Sarah Clark-Lynn said in an email statement.

"[The] FDA cannot assure the safety and efficacy of products that are purchased outside of legitimate channels. This also means that we or the consumer cannot be sure that the products received are what the seller is claiming them to be, even if the seller says the products are 'approved drugs.'"

The FDA is also looking at other cases linked to online pharmacies.

CBC News has obtained a U.S. grand jury subpoena sent to American oncologists earlier this year in connection with an investigation into counterfeit versions of the cancer drugs, Avastin and Altuzan. RxNorth is named in the subpoena, as well as several other Canadian entrepreneurs and companies.


New England drug investigation leads to 4 arrests

Posted On 19:12 by stargate 0 comments

Four men have been arrested in what authorities say was an investigation of a major marijuana distribution ring in Connecticut. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration says it seized more than 20 pounds of dried marijuana, 130 plants, 10 guns and $350,000 in cash from homes in Danbury and New Fairfield. Alexander Lappin of Brooklyn, N.Y.; Matt Michelsen of Danbury; and Nicholas Calamaras and Sean Salasevicius of New Fairfield are charged with conspiring to distribute more than 2,200 pounds of marijuana. Authorities say another arrest is possible.


A pregnant woman from Birmingham has appeared in court in Pakistan after being arrested last month with heroin worth £3.2m in several suitcases.

Posted On 19:11 by stargate 0 comments

Khadija Shah, 25, has been held in custody with her daughter, aged four, and her five-year-old son.

She says she had been on holiday in Pakistan with relatives and had no idea what was in the cases.

The BBC's Orla Guerin said if Miss Shah was convicted she could face the death penalty.

Miss Shah, who has not been formally charged, said some men asked her to take the bags to the UK as a favour.

Miss Shah was accused, at the court in Rawalpindi, of trying to smuggle 63 kilos of heroin.

She said if Miss Shah was convicted she could face the death penalty.

Khadija ShahMiss Shah is due back in court on 29 June, when she is expected to be formally charged

Miss Shah, who was six months pregnant, was arrested in Islamabad in May as she tried to board a flight back to Birmingham with her children.

Miss Shah told the BBC: "I had no idea what was in them. I wouldn't do that with two young children".

She told our correspondent conditions in prison were absolutely horrific, with stifling heat and overcrowded cells.

The legal charity Reprieve says Miss Shah's children contracted measles in jail, and claims other pregnant women have died in the prison where she is being held.

Reprieve said Miss Shah could not understand the legal proceedings against her as she did not speak Urdu.

She is due back in court on 29 June, when she is expected to be formally charged.


Death Row Inmate Sues to be Executed

Posted On 19:09 by stargate 0 comments

 

Death Row Inmate Sues to be Executed
Gary Haugen

Oregonian Gary Haugen is having trouble making up his mind whether he wants to live or die. The 49-year-old prisoner has been on death row since 2007 for fatally beating and stabbing fellow inmate David Polin in 2003, while Haugen was serving a life sentence without parole for beating his ex-girlfriend’s mother to death in 1981. Both crimes were exceptionally violent: Polin’s skull was crushed and he had been stabbed 84 times.
 
Originally scheduled to die August 16, 2011, Haugen waived his appeals to protest the “arbitrary and vindictive nature of the death penalty,” but the Oregon Supreme Court cancelled his execution because Haugen’s attorneys argued that he was mentally incompetent to waive his appeals. After a hearing found him competent, he was scheduled to die December 6, when Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber announced he was granting Haugen a reprieve from execution, and that he would not allow any executions to proceed, at least until the state legislature has a chance to consider and enact reforms. Kitzhaber called Oregon’s death penalty system “compromised and inequitable.”
 
Haugen initially thought Kitzhaber’s action “was a smash, [that] something good was done,” and his attorneys filed papers accepting the Governor’s reprieve. Within a short time, however, Haugen changed his mind, calling the Kitzhaber “a paper cowboy” who “couldn’t pull the trigger.” He was particularly critical of Kitzhaber’s decision to submit possible reforms to the 2013 State Legislature, rather than in 2012; that decision likely flowed from the fact that the legislature meets for only 35 days in even numbered years but for 160 days in odd years.
 
Now Haugen wants the courts to force Kitzhaber to allow his execution. In a lawsuit filed May 24, Haugen’s new attorneys argue that a pardon or reprieve must be accepted by the inmate to be valid, and that Haugen’s prior attorneys did not have his consent to file papers welcoming the reprieve. They also argue that Governor Kitzhaber exceeded his constitutional authority in granting the reprieve, because a reprieve is ordinarily time-limited, rather than open-ended.
 
The lawsuit may face rough going, however, as it relies on two very old cases (from 1918 and 1926) for its “acceptance” argument, and cites only a 43-year-old legal dictionary for the proposition that the Governor can issue only time-limited reprieves. Neither theOregon Constitution nor relevant statutes place any such restrictions on the Governor’s power.


Chinese woman gets death for infant trafficking

Posted On 19:07 by stargate 0 comments

A Chinese woman, who headed a group which trafficked 223 infants, has been awarded the death sentence. Jiang Kaizhi, the prime culprit of the infant trafficking ring, organised a group of people to abduct babies in Yunnan province and sell them in Henan province, China Daily reported. Jiang would get about 30,000 yuan (about $4,700) for selling a baby boy while the profit for trafficking a baby girl was over 20,000 yuan, the court said. Thirty-five of her other group members were awarded punishment ranging from life imprisonment to a three-year jail term for abducting, transporting and trafficking infants. A total of 223 infants were sold by the infant trafficking ring. Police caught Jiang in last January during a crackdown on traffickers.


Rodney King dead at 47

Posted On 19:05 by stargate 0 comments

Rodney King, whose beating by Los Angeles police in 1991 was caught on camera and sparked riots after the acquittal of the four officers involved, was found dead in his swimming pool Sunday, authorities and his fiancee said. He was 47. Police in Rialto, California, received a 911 call from King's fiancee, Cynthia Kelly, about 5:25 a.m., said Capt. Randy DeAnda. Responding officers found King at the bottom of the pool, removed him and attempted to revive him. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital, DeAnda said. There were no preliminary signs of foul play, he said, and no obvious injuries on King's body. Police are conducting a drowning investigation, DeAnda said, and King's body would be autopsied.


Thursday, 10 May 2012

US blacklists sons of Mexico drug lord Joaquin Guzman

Posted On 14:55 by stargate 0 comments

The US treasury department has put two sons of Mexico's most wanted man Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman on its drugs kingpin blacklist. The move bars all people in the US from doing business with Ivan Archivaldo Guzman Salazar and Ovidio Guzman Lopez, and freezes any US assets they have. Joaquin Guzman, on the list since 2001, runs the powerful Sinaloa drug cartel. Mexico has seen an explosion of violence in recent years as gangs fight for control of trafficking routes. The US administration "will aggressively target those individuals who facilitate Chapo Guzman's drug trafficking operations, including family members," said Adam Szubin, director of the department's Office of Foreign Assets Control . "With the Mexican government, we are firm in our resolve to dismantle Chapo Guzman's drug trafficking organisation." Ovidio Guzman plays a significant role in his father's drug-trafficking activities, the treasury department said. Ivan Archivaldo Guzman was arrested in 2005 in Mexico on money-laundering charges but subsequently released. As well as the Guzman brothers, two other alleged key cartel members, Noel Salgueiro Nevarez and Ovidio Limon Sanchez, were listed under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act. They were both arrested in Mexico in 2011 and are still in custody. Under the Kingpin Act, US firms, banks and individuals are prevented from doing business with them and any assets the men may have under US jurisdiction are frozen. More than 1,000 companies and individuals linked to 94 drug kingpins have been placed on the blacklist since 2000. Penalties for violating the act range include up to 30 years in prison and fines up to $10m (£6m). The US has offered a reward of up to $5m a for information leading to the arrest of Joaquin Guzman, who escaped from a Mexican prison in 2001.


Monday, 7 May 2012

FBI offers up to $100,000 for info leading to capture of Eduardo Ravelo

Posted On 14:09 by stargate 0 comments

Eduardo Ravelo, born on October 13, 1968 was added as the 493rd fugitive to the FBI 10 most wanted list on October 20, 2009. He is originally from Mexico, however he holds permanent residency status in the United States which gives him free movement across the border. An FBI informant and former lieutenant in the Barrio Azteca, a prison gang active in the U.S. and Mexico, testified that Ravelo told him to help find fellow gang members who had stolen from the cartel. In March 2008, he became the leader of the gang shortly after betraying his predecessor, stabbing him several times and shooting him in the neck. (Eduardo Ravelo: Wikipedia) Eduardo Ravelo was indicted in Texas in 2008 for his involvement in racketeering activities, conspiracy to launder monetary instruments, and conspiracy to possess heroin, cocaine and marijuana with the intent to distribute. His alleged criminal activities began in 2003. He is believed to be living in an area of Cuidad Juarez controlled by the Barrio Ravelo, with his wife and children just across the border from El Paso, Texas. He is also said to have bodyguards and armored vehicles to protect him from rival gangs as well as rival cartels.


Thursday, 3 May 2012

Sam Ibrahim headed to jail

Posted On 00:10 by stargate 0 comments

Former Sydney bikie boss Sam Ibrahim has been sent back to jail for allegedly breaching his parole. The 46-year-old was arrested yesterday at his home in Sydney's north-west at Bella Vista by a police strike force targeting the city's bikie gun war. The New South Wales Parole Authority revoked parole for the former Nomads boss after receiving a report from parole officers alleging he had been taking prohibited drugs and failing to obey directions. The arrest followed a police raid of his house last Friday, which was part of an operation targeting 18 homes and businesses linked to feuding Hells Angels and Nomads bikies. The house had been sprayed with bullets only a week earlier, in one of nine tit-for-tat shootings between the gangs in just over a week. Ibrahim is being held at Silverwater jail, ahead of a public hearing by the NSW Parole Board later this month. The board will decide whether to keep the former Nomads boss in prison until his sentence expires on October 7, or whether to extend his jail time. Ibrahim spent five months in jail as part of the 15-month sentence over the violent kidnapping of a 15-year-old boy in 2009. His arrest was part of a crackdown by the Gangs Squad's Strike Force Kinnara, which was set up to combat an escalation in bikie gun crime. The strike force also arrested convicted Sydney drug boss Bill Bayeh a fortnight ago for an alleged breach of parole.


Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Rupert Murdoch was branded “not a fit person” to run a major company

Posted On 14:57 by stargate 0 comments


 Rupert Murdoch was branded “not a fit person” to run a major company in a bombshell report by MPs today. His son and business heir James was accused of “wilful ignorance” towards phone hacking, while Murdoch executives were accused of lying to cover it up. The verdicts leave the 81-year-old tycoon fighting to justify his leadership of a worldwide empire including the broadcaster BSkyB. He faces being dragged before Parliament to apologise. The force of the report was partly diminished by a row between members of the culture select committee. Four Conservatives voted against the final draft because they felt the attack on Rupert Murdoch’s fitness  to run a company was over the top. However, the final 100-page report backed by the Labour and Lib-Dem MPs on the committee amounted to one of the most scathing parliamentary verdicts on an international business. The MPs said Rebekah Brooks, former News of the World editor and chief executive of News International, “should accept responsibility” for the culture that led to Milly Dowler’s phone being hacked, along with hundreds of others. The report also found editors, lawyers, the police and prosecutors guilty of a catalogue of failings. Several former Murdoch lieutenants were singled out for misleading Parliament, including former News International executive chairman Les Hinton, former News Group  lawyer Tom Crone, and former News of the World editor Colin Myler. It criticised the Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer, and the former Metropolitan Police acting deputy commissioner John Yates, saying “they both bear culpability for failing to ensure that the evidence ... was properly investigated.” Rupert Murdoch was accused of “wilful blindness” about the mounting evidence of phone hacking. The verdict will add muscle to shareholders seeking to topple Mr Murdoch and to critics demanding that media regulator Ofcom strip him of his broadcasting licence. The report accused the Murdoch companies of trying to “buy the silence” of victims by awarding huge payouts to victims of hacking such as football players’ union boss Gordon Taylor. Verdicts on some figures who have been arrested by the police were held back in case they hampered fair trials. Among these was Andy Coulson, the former News of the World editor who was hired by David Cameron as his spin chief at No 10. The ferocious conclusion, which divided the committee in a series of votes on the final wording, was that Mr Murdoch was ultimately to blame and therefore not fit to hold his position. It said: “On the basis of the facts and evidence before the committee we conclude that, if at all relevant times Rupert Murdoch did not take steps to become fully informed about phone-hacking, he turned a blind eye and exhibited wilful blindness to what was going on in his companies and publications. “This culture, we consider, permeated from the top throughout the organisation and speaks volumes about the lack of effective corporate governance at News Corporation and News International. We conclude, therefore that Rupert Murdoch is not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company.” The committee branded it “simply astonishing” that Rupert and James said it was not until December 2010 that they realised that News International’s claim that hacking involved a single “rogue reporter” was untrue. It poured scorn on James Murdoch’s “lack of curiosity” that raised “questions of competence”. Mr Hinton was “complicit in the cover-up at News International” that included paying inflated compensation to victims. Mr Crone and Mr Myler misled the committee by answering questions “falsely”. The final devastating verdict on Mr Murdoch was a triumph for Labour MP Tom Watson who drafted the conclusions. But the 11-member committee divided along party lines, with the full denunciation being passed by the vote of a single Liberal Democrat member. Mr Watson said of Rupert Murdoch: “More than any individual alive, he is to blame. Morally, the deeds are his. He paid the piper and he called the tune.” Conservative MPs Louise Mensch and Philip Davies insisted the MPs had no right to make such a ruling and hit out at “partisan” voting by Labour members led by Mr Watson and Paul Farrelly. Mrs Mensch said Tory members could not back the declaration, describing it as “wildly outside the scope” of the committee and “improper attempt to influence” watchdog Ofcom.” Mr Davies said Mr Murdoch was “very clearly” a fit and proper person to run a major firm, pointing to the jobs he had created. He added: “Many people may conclude that some people’s conclusions were written before any of the evidence was heard, and that is very sad.” Mr Watson said he was disappointed there had been splits, but insisted Mr Murdoch must be held to account for crimes at News Corporation. Committee chair John Whittingdale said he did not vote on any of the amendments in the report, but hinted at his opinion on whether it should have branded Mr Murdoch unfit, saying: “I would merely observe that as well as being the chairman of the committee, I am a Conservative MP.” Lib-Dem member Adrian Sanders who was effectively left with the casting vote, sided with the Labour view. He said he would have faced accusations of party bias whichever way he had decided. After the report was published Mr Watson said he had “reason to believe” that even more the material in the form of hard drives was in the hands of the Serious Organised Crime Agency. He sought to extend the probe into new areas — including claims News Corp could be in contempt of Parliament over claims they sought to use private investigators to dig dirt on committee members. He also said politicians — including Tony Blair and Gordon Brown as well as David Cameron and George Osborne — should reveal their email and text message contacts with News Corp executives.


Saturday, 28 April 2012

Lock your doors alert as Whitby double murder suspect spotted on run

Posted On 08:10 by stargate 0 comments

Detectives hunting double murder suspect James Allen have urged Yorkshire residents to lock their doors and windows after reported sightings of him on the East Coast raised fears the killer could strike again. Allen, a 35-year-old drug user with previous convictions for violence, is believed to have killed his former next-door neighbour in Middlesbrough and murdered a Whitby housewife while on bail for other offences. Police called on him to hand himself in yesterday as they revealed sightings of the suspect had been reported in Whitby, Scarborough and Middlesbrough. More than 100 officers from the Cleveland and North Yorkshire forces are investigating the murders of Colin Dunford, 81, and Julie Davison, 50. Both victims suffered head injuries. The detective leading the inquiry, Temporary Detective Chief Superintendent Gordon Lang of Cleveland Police, said it was a “24/7 operation” that would not stop until Allen is found.


Friday, 27 April 2012

Gas canister man storms office

Posted On 15:05 by stargate 0 comments

One of the country's busiest shopping streets has been closed as a man wearing gas canisters stormed into an office and threatened to blow himself up, it was reported. Tottenham Court Road in central London was closed after police received emergency calls at midday. Scotland Yard sent a hostage negotiator to the scene amid reports the man had held people hostage inside the building several floors up. Pictures emerged of computer and office equipment being thrown through one of the office windows. A police spokesman said it was "too early to say if the suspect was armed or indeed had taken any hostages" but businesses and nearby buildings were evacuated. Joaqam Ramus, who works at nearby Cafe Fresco, said before being evacuated: "There was talk of a bomb and somebody having a hostage in a building. "All Tottenham Court Road is closed and so are we - the police told us to shut. "We don't know what it is but it seems someone has a hostage."


Thursday, 26 April 2012

Credit card fraud websites shut down on three continents

Posted On 16:41 by stargate 0 comments

Three men have been arrested and 36 criminal websites selling credit card information and other personal data shut down as part of a two-year international anti-fraud operation, police have confirmed. The Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), working with the FBI and US Department of Justice, as well as authorities in Germany; the Netherlands; Ukraine; Australia and Romania, swooped after identifying the sites as specialising in selling card and bank details in bulk. The move comes as a blow to what is a growing black market for stolen financial data. Detectives estimated that the card information seized could have been used to extract more than £500m in total by fraudsters. SOCA claimed it has recovered more than two and a half million items of compromised personal and financial information over the past two years. “The authorities have shut down 36 websites but it is difficult to know how many other people had access to that data. They could spring back up somewhere else if a gang is not eradicated completely,” said Graham Cluley of internet security firm Sophos. He added: “This is big business and, just as in any legitimate company there are people who specialise in different things, so there are those who actually get their hands on the personal data and those who sell it on; they are not often the same person.” An investigation by The Independent last summer found that scammers were making a “comfortable living” getting their hands on sensitive information and selling it online. Card details were being offered for sale for between 4p and £60 per card – depending on the quality – according to one source in the business. Some cards would be sold with incomplete or unreliable information; others ready to use. Some of the card details for sale on the websites shut down by SOCA were being sold for as little as £2 each. Investigators said that the alleged fraudsters were using Automated Vending Carts, which allowed them to sell large quantities of stolen data. They are said to be a driver of the growth in banking fraud over the last 18 months because of the speed with which stolen data can be sold. Lee Miles, Head of Cyber Operations for SOCA said: “This operation is an excellent example of the level of international cooperation being focused on tackling online fraud. Our activities have saved business, online retailers and financial institutions potential fraud losses estimated at more than half a billion pounds, and at the same time protected thousands of individuals from the distress caused by being a victim of fraud or identity crime.” An alleged operator in Macedonia was one of those arrested, while two British men accused of buying the information were also detained. Britain’s Dedicated Cheque & Plastic Crime Unit also seized computers suspected of being used to commit fraud.


Saturday, 21 April 2012

What cannabis actually does to your brain

Posted On 00:30 by stargate 0 comments

Archaeologists recently found a 2,700-year-old pot stash, so we know humans have been smoking weed for thousands of years. But it was only about 20 years ago that neuroscientists began to understand how it affects our brains.

Scientists have known for a while that the active ingredient in cannabis was a chemical called delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC for short. Ingesting or smoking THC has a wide range of effects, from the psychoactive "getting high" to the physiological relief of pain and swelling. It also acts as both a stimulant and depressant. How could one substance do all that?

What cannabis actually does to your brainMeet the cannabinoid receptor

In the 1980s and 90s, researchers identified cannabinoid receptors, long, ropy proteins that weave themselves into the surfaces of our cells and process THC. They also process other chemicals, many of them naturally occurring in our bodies. Once we'd discovered these receptors, we knew exactly where THC was being processed in our bodies and brains, as well as what physical systems it was affecting. Scattered throughout the body, cannabinoid receptors come in two varieties, called CB1 and CB2 - most of your CB1 receptors are in your brain, and are responsible for that "high" feeling when you smoke pot. CB2 receptors, often associated with the immune system, are found all over the body. THC interacts with both, which is why the drug gives you the giggles and also (when interacting with the immune system) reduces swelling and pain.

 

Cannabinoid receptors evolved in sea squirts about 500 million years ago; humans and many other creatures inherited ours from a distant ancestor we share with these simple sea creatures. THC binds to receptors in animals as well as humans, with similar effects.

Tasty, tasty, tasty

Cannabis notoriously makes people hungry - even cancer patients who had lost all desire to eat.One study showed that cancer patients who thought food smelled and tasted awful suddenly regained an ability to appreciate food odors after ingesting a THC compound. There are CB1 receptors in your hypothalamus, a part of your brain known to regulate appetite, and your body's own cannabinoids usually send the "I'm hungry" message to them. But when you ingest THC, you artificially boost the amount of cannabinoids sending that message to your hypothalamus, which is why you get the munchies.

Understanding this process has actually led to a new body of research into safe diet drugs that would block those cannabinoid receptors. That way, your hypothalamus wouldn't receive signals from your body telling it to eat, and would reduce hunger cravings in dieters.

What you're forgetting

What's happening in your brain when smoking pot makes you forget what you're saying in the middle of saying it? According to the book Marijuana and Medicine (National Academies Press):

One of the primary effects of marijuana in humans is disruption of short-term memory. That is consistent with the abundance of CB1 receptors in the hippocampus, the brain region most closely associated with memory. The effects of THC resemble a temporary hippocampal lesion.

That's right - smoking a joint creates the effect of temporary brain damage.

What happens is that THC shuts down a lot of the normal neuroprocessing that goes on in your hippocampus, slowing down the memory process. So memories while stoned are often jumpy, as if parts are missing. That's because parts literally are missing: Basically you are saving a lot less information to your memory. It's not that you've quickly forgotten what's happened. You never remembered it at all.

What cannabis actually does to your brainA bit of the old timey wimey

Cannabis also distorts your sense of time. THC affects your brain's dopamine system, creating a stimulant effect. People who are stoned often report feeling excited, anxious, or energetic as a result. Like other stimulants, this affects people's sense of time. Things seem to pass quickly because the brain's clock is sped up. At the same time, as we discussed earlier (if you can remember), the drug slows down your ability to remember things. That's because it interferes with the brain's acetylcholine system, which is part of what helps you store those memories in your hippocampus. You can see that system's pathway through the brain in red in the illustration at left.

In an article io9 published last year about the neuroscience of time, we noted:

The interesting thing about smoking pot is that marijuana is one of those rare drugs that seems to interact with both the dopamine and the acetylcholine system, speeding up the former and slowing down the latter. That's why when you get stoned, your heart races but your memory sucks.

It's almost as if time is speeding up and slowing down at the same time.

Addiction and medicine

Some experts call cannabis a public health menace that's addictive and destroys lives by robbing people of ambition. Other experts call it a cure for everything from insomnia to glaucoma, and advocate its use as a medicine. The former want it to be illegal; the latter want it prescribed by doctors. Still other groups think it should be treated like other intoxicants such as alcohol and coffee - bad if you become dependent on it, but useful and just plain fun in other situations.

What's the truth? Scientists have proven that cannabis does have medical usefulness, and the more we learn the more intriguing these discoveries become. Since the early 1980s, medical researchers have published about how cannabis relieves pressure in the eye, thus easing the symptoms of glaucoma, a disease that causes blindness. THC is also "neuroprotective," meaning in essence that it prevents brain damage. Some studies have suggested that cannabis could mitigate the effects of Alzheimer's for this reason.

At the same time, we know that THC interferes with memory, and it's still uncertain what kinds of long-term effects the drug could have on memory functioning. No one has been able to prove definitively that it does or does not erode memory strength over time. Obviously, smoking it could cause lung damage. And, like the legal intoxicant alcohol, cannabis can become addictive.

Should cannabis be illegal, while alcohol flows? Unfortunately that's not the kind of question that science can answer. Let's leave the moral questions to courts, policymakers and shamans. I'll be off to the side, smoking a joint, thinking about my acetylcholine system and the many uses of the hippocampus.


Friday, 20 April 2012

Mike Tyson has for the first time revealed his lowest point ever in a searingly candid interview.

Posted On 16:51 by stargate 0 comments

Once known as the ‘baddest man on the planet’, his life has taken more than a few dark twists and turns.

But now Mike Tyson has for the first time revealed his lowest point ever in a searingly candid interview.

The former heavyweight champion said that back in 2009 he was in a hotel room with seven prostitutes, a morphine drip in his arm, a pile of cocaine and a bottle of cognac when he began to feel paranoid.

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Candid: The former world champion gave his most honest interview yet - revealing the drug-fuelled night that made him turn his life around and get clean and sober

Convinced the women were trying to steal from him he started beating them up and threw them out - to stop them from 'taking his soul'.

 

 Tyson said: ‘That’s when I realised it wasn’t just demons - it was the devil himself.

‘It was the lowest point of a very low life, but it was my own knockout punch to clean up life, get whole, get well - and I haven’t done anything in three years now. 

‘I’m clean. I’m sober.’

Tyson’s recently swapped the boxing ring for the cabaret stage in a six night comedy show at the MGM Grand Casino in Las Vegas, where some of his biggest fights took place.

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World Champion: Mike Tyson lands the knockout punch to the jaw of challenger Larry Holmes during fourth round of the World Heavyweight Championship in Atlantic City 1988

 

In an interview with Las Vegas Weekly to promote the show, he was asked to talk about the moment he realised he had to turn his life around.

Tyson, 45 said: ‘Laying in bed in a hotel room - I try never to be alone, even if it’s a prostitute, a dog. 

‘This is really dark. I am in my hotel suite, I’ve got seven women there, and I have a morphine drip, and I had my cocaine, and I had my (Viagra like pill) Cialis, I had my marijuana, I had the Hennessy, and I am at my lowest point because I got paranoid and I thought these women were trying to rob me and set me up. 

‘I started beating them. I was in a dark place. There was a purpose, though, because I didn’t want to give them any more of my soul.

‘So this is my devil, this is where I am, I am locked up alone. There is nobody there telling me that I’m doing too much. 

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Troubled: Tyson's first marriage to actress Robin Givens fell apart amid allegations of him being violent - he is now married for the third time

 

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Mug shot: In 1992 Tyson was jailed for raping Desiree Washington - a beauty pageant contestant - he was released from prison after three years

‘That is the devil, he won. I kicked them all out. So that was my lowest point. Oh, man. I am just very grateful to be here - my heart should have blown apart. I was sweating wide awake. No more cocaine. No more. Three years clean.’

In his turbulent life Tyson has been married three times, fathered eight children and became the youngest heavyweight champion the world has ever seen at just 20.

But fame ruined him and his troubled upbringing - his mother was a prostitute and he never knew his pimp father - came back to haunt him.

In the interview he claimed to have earned $300million in winnings but admitted that he was so bad with money he was ‘forced to live paycheck to paycheck’.

In 1992, three years after his first marriage to actress Robin Givens fell apart, he was jailed for six years for raping Desiree Washington, a contestant in the Miss Black America pageant.

Released having served three years, he fought Evander Holyfield in the fight that became one of the most notorious bouts in boxing history when he bit part of his opponent’s ear off.

Reflecting on his life Tyson told Las Vegas Weekly that he was now the happiest he has ever been, and is just trying to be a good husband to his third wife, and a good father to his children.

Tyson said: ‘In order to wear the crown, you have to have a miserable life, and that is the one that inherits the crown. 

‘I don’t know, you have to go from the worst to reach the best. I’m just that extreme type of person. That is who I am, the guy that has no limits.’




EU condemns Repsol state seizure

Posted On 15:01 by stargate 0 comments

 The European Parliament has passed a resolution condemning a nationalisation that has strained relations between Spain and Argentina. Argentina has nationalised YPF, wiping out the Spanish firm Repsol's controlling-stake in the oil firm. The resolution asks the European Commission to consider a "partial suspension" of tariffs that benefit Argentine exports into the EU. Shares in Repsol has another decline, falling 2.3% on Friday. Over the week, Repsol stock has lost almost a fifth of its value. MEPs in the European Parliament said the institution "deplores" the decision taken by Argentina and describes it as an "attack on the exercise of free enterprise". Decisions such as that taken by the Argentine authorities "can put a strain on the climate of understanding and friendship needed to reach" a trade agreement between a South American bloc and the EU, it said. The resolution, which is non-binding, received 458 votes in favour, 71 against and 16 abstentions. 'Not valid' It also emerged that Repsol may be obliged to buy a minority shareholder's YPF stake if it ever lost majority control, which Repsol denied. Twenty-five percent of YPF is owned by Argentina's Eskenazi family through its firm, Peterson. Continue reading the main story Nationalising YPF Spain's Repsol has hitherto owned 57.4% of shares with 25.5% belonging to Argentina's Petersen, 0.02% to the Argentine government and 17% traded on stock exchanges The Argentine government proposes to seize 51% of the shares, all of which will be taken from Repsol's stake, leaving the Spanish firm with 6.4% The expropriated shares will in turn be divided between the Argentine government and provincial governors Following the expropriation, Petersen will retain its 25.5% stake and 17% of the shares will continue to be traded Argentina's risky energy seizure According to regulator filings of a 2008 agreement, Repsol must "maintain directly or indirectly through controlled companies an ownership interest greater than or equal to 50.1%". If it does not, Repsol is obliged to buy back the loans used to secure the Eskenazis' shares. But Repsol told the BBC that the expropriation of its stake in YPF had invalidated the agreement. "The agreement is not valid under Spanish law in these conditions," said Kristian Rix, a Repsol spokesman. "The law is unequivocal, there is no debate." Trade war brewing? Spain has threatened retaliation against Argentina over the forced nationalisation of oil firm YPF, raising the prospects of a trade war between the nations. Spanish Trade Secretary Jaime Garcia Legaz said the European Union would intervene over Argentina's seizure of YPF. Argentina is taking over 51% of YPF, wiping out Repsol's 57.4% majority stake. The move has wide support in Argentina but has provoked outrage in Spain. Spain's Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo said US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had also offered support. Repsol has said it wants around $10bn (£6.2bn) for its stake in YPF, but Argentina has said it does not accept that valuation. YPF, Argentina's biggest oil company, was privatised in 1993. Last year it announced huge new finds of shale oil and gas.


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