Rebel video hounds Ecuador’s Correa

first_imgBy Dialogo July 21, 2009 BOGOTA (AP) 7/17/2009 — An hour-long video police found in a computer of an alleged rebel appears to confirm that Colombia’s largest rebel army gave money to the 2006 election campaign of President Rafael Correa of Ecuador. The video shows the second-ranking commander of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia reading the deathbed manifesto of founding leader Manuel “Sureshot” Marulanda. The manifesto states that the FARC made contributions to Correa’s campaign, but it’s possible that Correa wasn’t aware of them. The video, given to The Associated Press by a government official on condition of anonymity due to political sensitivity, adds weight to evidence found in a half-dozen electronic documents recovered at a rebel camp destroyed in a cross-border raid last year. Correa has accused Colombia of fabricating the documents, despite an investigation by the global police agency Interpol that determined they were not altered. The same rebel manifesto turned up on a different rebel computer recovered in October. But in the video it is read aloud by Jorge Briceno, a member of the FARC’s ruling secretariat and No. 2 commander, which will make it harder to deny. Ties between Colombia and neighboring Ecuador are deeply frayed, and the video is sure to complicate relations further. Colombia is outraged that the FARC, a leftist group on the U.S. State Department’s terror list, was operating out of Ecuador, allegedly with the support of that country’s leftist government. The State Department had no comment on the video. Ecuador broke diplomatic ties after Colombia crossed into its territory last year to raid the rebel camp. Attempts by the Organization of American States and the Carter Center to mediate the dispute have been stymied. Told of the video Friday, Ecuador’s security minister, Miguel Carvajal, denied that Correa’s government had “any relation in the campaign or has any relation with or contributions from groups such as the FARC, and certainly no type of accord.” Correa himself has repeatedly denied any ties to FARC. The video was found on a computer seized May 30 in the Bogota home of a suspected FARC operative, and finally decrypted last week. A senior Colombian prosecutor, anti-terrorism unit chief Hermes Ardila, confirmed that the video was found on one of three computers seized in the arrest of Adela Perez, 36 — “the secretariat’s key player in Bogota.” It shows Briceno reading from a laptop perched on a roughhewn shelf to about 250 somber-looking rebels in a jungle clearing. Briceno first informs the troops of Marulanda’s death and of changes in the rebel leadership. He reads from a missive from someone present when Marulanda died on March 26, 2008, at age 78, of an apparent heart attack. “We awake today with an immense solitude, so very sad. The comrade died yesterday, the 26th, at 18:20 hours,” Briceno reads. The faces of his young audience are grim. They look dumbstruck, distressed. At one point, Briceno pauses briefly and says, “What was that sound? A bomb?” He gets a negative reply from off camera. Briceno then turns to the sobering letter Marulanda wrote just days before his death. The letter stresses the strategic importance of “maintaining good political relations, friendship and confidence with the governments of Venezuela and Ecuador.” It is a grave reflection on devastating blows the FARC has suffered at the hands of the military in Colombia, which has received more than $4 billion in U.S. aid since 2000. It describes the “trophies of war” Colombia obtained when it killed the rebels’ foreign minister, Raul Reyes, and 24 other people in a March 1, 2008 raid on his jungle camp inside Ecuador. Marulanda laments that Colombia seized a trove of electronic documents that badly compromised the rebels and their foreign friends — namely, Correa and President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela. “The secrets of the FARC have been lost completely,” Briceno reads. Among those secrets is “assistance in dollars to Correa’s campaign and subsequent conversations with his emissaries,” the letter said. It mentions “some agreements, according to documents in the possession of all of us, that are very compromising regarding our ties with friends.” Marulanda’s letter does not say whether Correa personally knew of the money, and does not mention an amount. But it supports four other documents the Colombian government says it found on Reyes’ laptop that were allegedly written in late 2006 by FARC leaders discussing rebel payments of at least $100,000 to Correa’s campaign. It appears unlikely that the video could be fake. AP video experts found no signs of tampering. Also, Briceno is a known FARC leader with whom AP reporters had frequent contact from 1999-2002, and it is clearly him in the video. The Ecuadorean minister, Carvajal, told the AP that if the video is proven to be authentic, his government will want to know who the supposed emissaries are that established ties with the FARC “in the name of the (Correa) electoral campaign.” Late Friday, Ecuador’s foreign minister, Fander Falconi, announced the formation of a commission to investigate the allegations. Correa strongly denies receiving money from the FARC. He has argued that Reyes’ computer equipment could never have survived bombs that ripped apart his jungle camp. Despite revelations about ties to FARC, Correa was re-elected in April by a comfortable margin. Correa this month imposed stiff import tariffs on a broad range of Colombian goods including autos and beef, which will seriously affect Bogota’s $500 million in annual exports to Ecuador. The video, separated into 20 files on a Sony Vaio laptop, took more than a month to decrypt before the code was cracked July 10, said several government officials who spoke on condition they not be identified due to the matter’s sensitivity. The laptop’s owner, Perez, is jailed on charges of terrorism and criminal conspiracy, as the alleged leader of an urban cell engaged in extortion and bombings in the capital, Ardila said. The other two laptops found in her home contained intelligence on senior government officials, including Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, national police director Gen. Oscar Naranjo and Juan Manuel Santos, who as defense minister managed the raid into Ecuador, the officials added. An Ecuadorean prosecutor last month issued an arrest warrant for Santos on murder charges. Interpol refused, however, to circulate the warrant. Colombia’s government says it has no intention of handing over Santos. The Marulanda letter also was found on a laptop seized in a raid on a rebel camp in Putumayo state near the Ecuadorean border on Oct. 31, according to Colombian authorities. The AP obtained a copy of the letter the following month.last_img read more

Sandy Aid Passes Congress, Long Island Pols Cheer

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano, left, who went to Washington D.C. Tuesday to lobby for Sandy aid, meet with House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Reps. Peter King and Steve Israel.Seventy eight days after Sandy, the remaining $51 billion of the $60-billion northeast aid package finally passed the U.S. House of Representatives, sparking praise from Long Island lawmakers who two weeks ago were at war with the Republican majority that initially snubbed superstorm survivors.“Tonight’s vote to provide $60 billion in Hurricane Sandy relief was an outstanding victory,” said Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford), who famously blasted House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) for the delays. “It is unfortunate that we had to fight so hard to be treated the same as every other state has been treated. But we did fight this bias against the northeast and thank god our residents won.”Rep.  Steve Israel (D-Huntington) said, “New Yorkers can finally rest assured that help is on its way. I’m delighted that the House finally passed the Sandy relief bill, but the real heroes are the New Yorkers rebuilding their lives, homes, and businesses.”New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Conn. Gov. Dannel Malloy released a joint statement saying, “We are grateful to those members of Congress who today pulled together in a unified, bipartisan coalition to assist millions of their fellow Americans … at their greatest time of need.”U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) said he expects the bill to easily pass the Senate and be sent to the President’s desk for signing.last_img read more

Airport operators pivot to cargo services to survive pandemic

first_imgThe company also reduced its operational costs at storage facilities across the AP II airports by 40 percent compared to normal operations, Riyanto added.In addition, AP II provided warehouse facilities for airlines via its subsidiaries PT Angkasa Pura Kargo and PT Gapura Angkasa. For example, Gapura Angkasa, which owns a warehouse more than 8,900 square meters in size at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang, Banten, provides access to facilities like cold storage and animal storage.Tapping into these aspects of the cargo business line, as opposed to relying on air passenger traffic, has allowed the airport operator to begin softening the impact COVID-19 has had on the industry.According to Statistics Indonesia (BPS), domestic air passengers fell 85.18 percent yoy in April to around 840,000 people, while international air passengers fell 98.26 percent yoy.The drop in passenger traffic has hit airport revenues hard, as data from the 2019 Airports Economics Report, released by Airports Council International (ACI), shows that 54.6 percent of total airport income in the Asia-Pacific comes from passenger-related revenues.AP I cited revenue diversification through the establishment of an airport ecosystem that includes a cargo village as part of its survival strategy during the pandemic. It aims to create a new business stream that depends little on aircraft and passenger traffic, it stated.“Angkasa Pura I has prepared a rebound strategy to anticipate the new normal and to prepare for a jump in the company’s growth in 2021 through a multidimensional performance improvement program,” AP I president director Faik Fahmi said on Saturday in a press release, adding that the current situation was “challenging for airport operators”.AP I logistics subsidiary Angkasa Pura Logistics (APL) launched its own air freight service on June 4.It aims to provide logistics services that can reach areas that are difficult for commercial planes to access due to short runways. For its operation, APL would focus on the delivery of marine and perishable goods, which require quick shipping times to ensure freshness.Transportation expert Djoko Setijowarno told the Post that the companies made the right decision by focusing their business on the cargo sector.“It’s a step that must be taken during the pandemic as passenger numbers are slumping. Logistics could serve as a source of income for the airports and there is also huge potential for domestic cargo in Indonesia,” Djoko said in a phone interview on Monday.Topics : State-owned airport operators Angkasa Pura I and II are turning to cargo and warehousing services to shift their revenue source as the government’s social restrictions continue to affect air passenger numbers.Operating in an archipelagic nation, where air transportation is essential to connect far-flung islands, Angkasa Pura (AP) II sees potential for growth in the air cargo industry in Indonesia, despite having recorded a decline in cargo volume at its airports during the pandemic.Air freight volume at its 19 airports fell 34 percent year-on-year (yoy) to 79,556 tons between April 1 and June 7, data from AP II cargo subsidiary Angkasa Pura Kargo (APK) show. However, the operator managed to record 34,000 tons of cargo traffic between May 7 and June 7 alone. “The cargo volume is not as high as in normal conditions. But the shipment volume, which still stands at 34,000 tons, shows that business prospects in air shipment remain stable and have the potential to grow this year,” AP II president director Muhammad Awaluddin said in a press statement on Sunday.Awaluddin also noted the absence of restrictions for air cargo amid the pandemic, as well as the decision by commercial airlines to modify their fleets with freighters to support the airport cargo business.To further capitalize its air cargo business, AP II through APK established a partnership with cargo agents while also employing cost-efficiency measures at its storage facilities.“We are consolidating cargo loads from several sub-agents and bundling them together so they can be shipped using a chartered carrier. We already established charter cargo flights twice a week in June, and we aim to double it to four flights per week,” APK operational director Riyanto Cahyono told The Jakarta Post via text message on Monday.last_img read more

Retirees

first_imgThis fall at least two of the more successful football programs in the area will have new coaches. Milan has just named Ed Wagner as their new coach. Ed is coming from Bedford North Lawrence where he has been a teacher and coach for the past 7 years. East Central, earlier this year, named current assistant Justin Roden their new coach replacing Tim Behlmer who retired. It is much more difficult to go out and find outside coaches this days. Most schools have a modified freeze on hiring which greatly restricts who you can look at as a future coach. This freeze is usually one that says only no experience or limited-experienced people can apply. Even though the administration might like to wave this for a high profile coach, the rest of the faculty would not stand for it–nor should they. Most schools will not hire head coaches in football unless they are also regular teachers in the school. I would suspect that you will see little difference in either of these two programs next fall, because their systems are well entrenched; and whoever is at the helm will do quite well. After all, Coach Roden and Coach Wagner are quite experienced and not a rookies in any sense of the term. The kids are still in place as are most of the assistant coaches. We will know in a few short weeks how this comes out. Good luck to both schools.last_img read more

Alabama police issue arrest warrant for DeMarcus Cousins, according to report

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Trail Blazers beat Grizzlies in play-in, earn first-round series with the Lakers Police in Mobile, Alabama have issued an arrest warrant for Lakers center DeMarcus Cousins on a misdemeanor domestic violence charge, USA Today reports.The mother of Cousins’ son recorded a phone conversation in which a man is heard telling her he will “put a bullet in your (expletive) head.” She told police the person on the other line was Cousins.She filed a police report on the call and sent a copy of the recording to TMZ Sports.USA Today reports that Mobile’s court website lists a third-degree harassing communications charge against Cousins. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersThe argument stemmed from Cousins’ desire to have his son travel to attend his wedding, which was last weekend.The alleged victim confirmed to USA Today that she knew of the warrant. This news organization has chosen not to identify her in this story.The NBA and Lakers on Tuesday said in statements that they were “investigating the allegations.”Related Articles With the Warriors last season, Cousins played 30 games after returning from an Achilles tear suffered with the Pelicans. He averaged 16.3 points and 8.2 rebounds in 25.7 minutes per game for the Warriors.Prior to his trade to New Orleans, Cousins was the Sacramento Kings’ franchise player. He was named a Western Conference All-Star every season from 2014-15 to 2017-18.The Lakers open training camp with media day on Sept. 27. How athletes protesting the national anthem has evolved over 17 years center_img Lakers, Clippers schedules set for first round of NBA playoffs According to the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement, the league can fine, suspend, or dismiss and ban players who violate the league’s domestic violence, sexual assault or child abuse policies. The harshest punishments are reserved for repeat offenders. Cousins has had no such violations.Cousins tore his ACL earlier in the offseason after signing a one-year, $3.5 million deal with the Lakers. Lakers practice early hoping to answer all questions Trail Blazers, Grizzlies advance to NBA play-in game; Suns, Spurs see playoff dreams dashed last_img read more

Basketball Players of Široki Brijeg Ended ‘League 4’ Unbeaten

first_imgThe basketball players of Široki Brijeg won first place in ‘League 4’, after they beat Igokee last night with 73:64 (18:16, 18:19, 17:14, 20:15).Široki Brijeg, which in this part of the competition remained the only undefeated team, were led to victory by Robert Rikić with 26 points and six rebounds, and Dalibor Peršić had 10 points.In the team from Laktaši, which will start in the semifinals from second place, Nemanja Gordić was most efficient with 10 points.The opponents of Široki Brijeg and Igokee in the semi-finals will be known tonight after the meeting in Mrkonjić Grad between the teams Mladosti and Spars from Sarajevo.(Source: Fena)last_img read more

NJ Summer Flounder Season Hits a Snag

first_imgBy Jay Cook |Efforts to compromise on what New Jersey representatives believe are draconian recreational fishing regulations were sunk last week, meaning the summer flounder season could potentially be shut down in coming months.A vote by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) on May 22 denied the state’s proposal for changes to three tiers of regulations. They also found New Jersey to be noncompliant.For greater New Jersey waters, the state had proposed an 18-inch minimum, three-fish limit and a 104-day season for the summer flounder season, a 24 percent cut from 2016. That differs from the ASMFC’s Addendum XXVIII decision in February of a 19-inch minimum, three-fish limit and a 128-day season, which made for a 33 percent reduction.“We’re disappointed by the actions of ASMFC’s Summer Flounder, Scup and Black Sea Bass Committee,” said Bob Martin, commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP), in a statement on May 22. “New Jersey firmly believes that we have passed regulations that meet the conservation equivalency of the Commission’s proposed quota limits.”Despite New Jersey not falling in line with the regional regulations, the summer flounder season still opened on May 25 and will end on Sept. 5.On May 18, Martin approved the 18-inch minimum, three-fish limit and 104-day season for New Jersey. In the Delaware Bay and its tributaries, there is a 17-inch minimum, three-fish limit and 104-day season. For shore fishing on Island Beach State Park, there is a 16-inch minimum, two-fish limit and 104-day season as well.“There was no support by other board members for the New Jersey proposal,” said Tina Berger, spokeswoman for the ASMFC.In February, the ASMFC voted to approve Option 5 of Addendum XXVIII, which was in response to findings that the summer flounder stocks were close to being unsustainably low.“Because (summer flounder) was in an overfishing status, the states and the federal government had to take action to end overfishing immediately,” Berger said.Berger also added that the ASMFC board unanimously found New Jersey to be non-compliant. If the state doesn’t administer the board-approved regulations – 19-inch minimum, three-fish limit and 128-day season – a letter will be sent to the Secretaries of Commerce and the Interior.Fishing boats in Atlantic Highlands Harbor. If New Jersey doesn’t fall back in line with regionalfishing regulations, some fear the summer flounder season may be shut down.A conference call set for June 1 at 9:30 a.m. for the ASMFC’s Interstate Fisheries Management Policy will consider a recommendation to find New Jersey non-compliant.If that department and the federal offices also find New Jersey to be non-compliant, Berger said, after a 30-day window “a moratorium for fishing of that fish species in that state’s waters” could be implemented.New Jersey’s main concern with the ASMFC guidelines were that the number of summer flounder throwbacks would increase due to the 19-inch limit. The state believes that practice is ultimately connected to more fish deaths.“There’s simply no way we can believe that is responsible management,” said Adam Nowalsky, a former charter boat captain, and one of three New Jersey commissioners on the ASMCF.Through its proposed plan, the state believes that lowering the size limit by one inch and shortening the season by 24 days would lessen the burden on recreational anglers and keep the summer flounder stocks healthy.Also tied into its proposal was a major education outreach program aimed at informing recreational salt water anglers – those who fish from head boats, charter boats, in the ocean surf and also shop at bait and tackle shops.Through the FishSmart program lead by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and guidelines from TakeMeFishing.org, the state laid out a plan to distribute brochures and videos to anglers across the state.It also called for the creation of 30-second radio spot PSA’s, New Jersey-based videos showing proper catch-and-release techniques, and blasting out information via social media.Martin said he looks forward to working with NOAA in efforts to create a more responsible fishing culture. In turn, he said, that would “help protect the stock without devastating a multi-billion-dollar industry here in New Jersey.”Though for those who are unsure about the 2017 summer flounder season, Nowalsky said recreational anglers have to become more educated about the situation.In the meantime, he said, “I encourage people to go out and have a good time and enjoy what they can for as long as they can.”This article was first published in the June 1-June 8, 2017 print edition of The Two River Times.last_img read more