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

Babinda’s quiet, rural lifestyle offers a haven for city folk

first_imgCorinne Alexander #SnapCairns – Babinda Boulders.Babinda offers a peek into the past and is characterised by a number of interesting art deco buildings. Babinda comes from the Wanyurr Yidinji words, “bunna binda” meaning “water passing over your shoulder”, a description of water rolling over the boulders in the Babinda Creek.The historic Babinda State Hotel is in the main street at 73 Munro St. It has been modernised and proudly wears its unique heritage as the only hotel in Queensland which was built by the state government. Wooroonooran Falls at BabindaPOPULAR with tree-changers seeking a lifestyle property close to the amenities of a big city, Babinda is a haven straddling the Bruce Highway 40 minutes south of Cairns. But just because it’s close to a national thoroughfare, doesn’t mean buyers or investors won’t reap the peace and tranquillity of a friendly, rural township.The small sugar town is surrounded by cane farms, Queensland’s two highest mountains, Mt Bartle Frere and Mt Bellenden Kerr, crystal-clear mountain streams, pristine rainforests and spectacular waterfalls. The Babinda State Hotel is turning 100 this weekend. PICTURE: STEWART McLEANBabinda Boulders and Josephine Falls attract thousands to their cooling waters in the hot, sticky summers and Bramston Beach, with its laid-back vibe, is just 17km down the road.Babinda Real Estate owner Segrid Hudson said the town had everythingMore from newsCairns home ticks popular internet search terms3 days agoTen auction results from ‘active’ weekend in Cairns3 days ago“It’s a really lovely community,” she said.“There are a variety of schools, both private and public, sporting groups, shops, hospitals and a swimming pool.“There are quite a lot of community events held here during the year and there is a wonderful, relaxed atmosphere.“People are really attracted to the place being such a nice, quiet community and are also even commuting up to Cairns because property prices are so affordable.“It is well-maintained and still in Cairns Regional Council area.“It is a great place to invest, and there is plenty of opportunity for new businesses. Being a farming community, there is work around, too.”last_img read more

Trojans prep for home matchup against Cardinal

first_imgAfter opening its season on the road and coming away with a victory against defending NCAA champion UC Irvine, the USC men’s volleyball team returns to the Galen Center to host one of its biggest rivals.Spiking it ·Junior Tanner Jansen finished with eight kills in USC’s straight-set victory over the top-ranked UC Irvine Anteaters on Jan. 11. He has 13 kills on the season entering Friday’s match against Stanford. – Ralf Cheung | Daily TrojanThe No. 7 Trojans (1-1) will take on No. 2 Stanford on Friday night, facing off against a squad that has amassed a 4-0 record to begin the season.“They’re a really skilled team,” USC coach Bill Ferguson said. “They’re going to want to get [Stanford middle blocker] Eric Mochalski the ball quite a bit. Brian Cook and Steven Irvin are two of their pin attackers, and those three are what really make them go.”After being swept by UC San Diego in their opening match, the Trojans rebounded with an emphatic win over the Anteaters in straight sets (25-21, 25-23, 27-25). The victory not only enabled USC to earn its first win of the season but also allowed the team to avenge its tough loss at home to UCI in last year’s NCAA championship match.Sophomore middle blocker Robert Feathers shined on both sides of the court, registering a team-high 12 kills to go along with six blocks. Freshman outside hitter Alex Slaught and redshirt junior opposite Tanner Jansen each notched eight kills to pace the Trojan attack alongside Feathers, while the defense was anchored by freshman libero Brooks Varni (eight digs) and sophomore setter Micah Christenson (seven digs).“I liked that no one major stood out,” Ferguson said. “I thought everybody brought something to the table and it was a team victory. The thing that was very important to me was us responding to a bad loss and showing the perseverance to leave that behind and do well in the next match.”Ferguson’s club is attempting to make up for the departures of two key players in the team’s 2012 championship run–outside hitter Tony Ciarelli, the 2012 national player of the year, and All-American middle blocker Steven Shandrick. The Trojan squad consists of 18 underclassmen; of the nine players to start in each of the team’s first two games, only one — opposite Tanner Jansen — holds junior status.“We came out of our staff meeting wanting to make sure our guys were as professional as possible,” Ferguson said. “There are going to be some young guys who aren’t playing as much right now who need to be ready when their number is called. What we really want to see from our younger guys is how well they’re going to respond to adversity, because it’s going to come as the season progresses.”Though Stanford poses a tough challenge, the key to success for the Trojans will be limiting the strong Cardinal attack.“We’re going to expect to see a heavy load of Mochalski, Cook and Irvin. If we can hopefully alter or slow them down a little bit, we’ll have a better shot if we limit one or maybe even two of them,” Ferguson said.Last season, the Trojans defeated the Cardinal in each of the teams’ two meetings, once in Palo Alto in February and again in a late season home game in March. In the first matchup, USC knocked off then-No. 1 ranked Stanford behind 12 kills from Jansen.  Senior opposite hitter Maddison McKibbin also chipped in 10 kills in the team’s 3-2 win.In the second meeting, USC again outmatched its foe, this time more handily in a 3-1 win.  The Trojans’ defense was particularly strong, limiting the trio of Mochalski, Cook and Irvin to just 27 combined kills  The defense will have to contain those three again in order to improve their record to 2-1.USC and Stanford are set to square off at 6 p.m. at the Galen Center.last_img read more

Europe’s top 10 most successful clubs ever revealed! See where your club ranks

first_img 11 11 Barcelona’s UEFA Super Cup victory this week marked their fourth trophy in 2015, with two more to possibly follow before the year is out, but which European club has won the most trophies ever?It’s not exactly a straightforward question to answer, because opinions differ over what should constitute a trophy.For example, Arsenal have technically lifted three trophies in the past month, but no one in their right mind would count either the Barclays Asia Trophy or Emirates Cup as a serious piece of silverware.But does the Gunners’ Community Shield success go on their honours list?In the past, one-off contests such as the Shield have been dismissed when it comes to trophy tallies, but these events – often known as ‘Super Cups’ – appear to be growing in prestige across the continent.For the purposes of simply counting the number of trophies won, we have included such competitions, although debate will continue to rage as to their relative merits.Additionally, we have restricted our ranking to clubs from the top four league competitions in Europe: England, Spain, Germany and Italy. These countries are historically the most dominant in European competition and, therefore, we have adjudged their domestic competitions to be the toughest to win.If we left it open to clubs from any European league, the result would see Scotland’s Rangers come out on top, with Northern Ireland’s Linfield in second and Scotland’s Celtic in third. But we are more interested in finding out who’s the cream of the cream.So take a look at the ranking above to see which clubs feature and let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment below.Competitions included: All UEFA competitions bar the Intertoto Cup (but including the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup), the Intercontinental Cup, the FIFA Club World Cup, domestic top division titles, main domestic cups and League Cups (now defunct in Germany and Spain and never competed for in Italy, but held since the 1960s in England), and domestic ‘Super Cups’ (known in England as the Community Shield).All statistics correct on 13 August 2015 11 10. Atletico Madrid have won 28 trophies 6. Juventus have won 58 trophies – Ahead of both Inter and AC Milan, Juventus are the most successful Italian club in total number of trophies. Juve have won 31 Serie A titles, by far the most in Italy despite being stripped of two championships for match-fixing. They have also claimed 10 Italian Cups and seven Italian Super Cups. In Europe, the Old Lady has the complete set of honours: winning two European Cups, three UEFA Cups, one Cup Winners’ Cup and two UEFA Super Cups. Juve have also been crowned world champions twice, winning the Intercontinental Cup in 1985 and 1996 (pictured above). 11 11 8. Arsenal have won 43 trophies – Arsenal hold the record for the number of FA Cups won, with back-to-back successes in 2014 and 2015 taking their tally to 12 in the oldest football competition in the world. They can boast 13 English top flight titles, and share the record for most domestic doubles with Manchester United, having clinched both league and cup success in the same season on three ocassions. They have won the League Cup twice, including as part of a double with the FA Cup in 1993, plus 14 Charity/Community Shields. In Europe, Arsenal’s first trophy came with the Fairs Cup (a forerunner of the UEFA Cup/Europa League) in 1970, and they claimed the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1994. 11 11 11 11 7. AC Milan have won 47 trophies – Milan are second only to Real Madrid when it comes to European Cup/Champions League victories, having been crowned champions of Europe on seven occasions. Their first success in the competition came in 1963, with Cesare Maldini as captain (pictured above, left), while their most recent Champions League win in 2007 featured Cesare’s son, Paolo, as skipper (pictured above, right). Milan remain the last club to successfully defend the European Cup, winning back-to-back trophies in 1989 and 1990. Additionally, they won two Cup Winners’ Cups, five UEFA Super Cups, three Intercontinental Cups and one Club World Cup. On the domestic front, Milan boast 18 Serie A titles, five Italian Cups and six Italian Super Cups. 11. Chelsea have won 26 trophies – to find out which clubs make up Europe’s 10 most successful sides from the strongest leagues, click the arrow above – The Blues have won five top flight English titles, seven FA Cups, five League Cups and they are the only English club to have won every European trophy. In 2012 they became the only London club to win the Champions League, adding the Europa League a year later to complete the continental set, along with two victories in the now defunct Cup Winners’ Cup and one in the UEFA Super Cup. They have also won four Community Shields. The Blues had racked up 11 trophies prior to Roman Abramovich’s arrival, but have since won 15 in 12 years. 5. Liverpool have won 59 trophies – The most successful English club in European football, Liverpool have won five European Cups, putting them level with Barcelona and Bayern Munich in the all-time list. The Reds have also claimed three UEFA Cups and three UEFA Super Cups. On the home front, Liverpool have won 18 top flight English titles, seven FA Cups, a record eight League Cups and 15 Charity/Community Shields. The only trophies of note to elude them come on a global stage, having lost two Intercontinental Cup finals in the 1980s and the Club World Cup in 2005. They also lost the 1966 Cup Winners’ Cup final to Borussia Dortmund, so cannot complete the full set of UEFA competitions. 4. Manchester United have won 62 trophies – The Red Devils are the most successful club in England, with 20 top flight titles, including 13 in the Premier League era. United have won 11 FA Cups, four League Cups and a record 20 Charity/Community Shields. In Europe, they have won three European Cups/Champions Leagues, plus the Cup Winners’ Cup and UEFA Super Cup. United are the only English club to win a treble of Champions League, domestic title and main domestic cup, and are the only English club to win any global titles. In 1999 they won the Intercontinental Cup and in 2008 claimed the Club World Cup. 11 2. Real Madrid have won 79 trophies – The most successful club in the history of the European Cup/Champions League, Real Madrid have won the tournament on 10 occasions, including the first five editions and four more in the Champions League era. The Spanish giants won back-to-back UEFA Cups in the 1980s and also boast two UEFA Super Cups on their honours list. Madrid claimed the Intercontinental Cup three times and won the Club World Cup in 2014. In Spain, they have a record 32 titles, plus 19 Spanish Cups, nine Spanish Super Cups and one victory in the defunct Spanish League Cup. 9. Inter have won 39 trophies – The only Italian club to win the treble, Inter won five trophies alone in 2010, including the Champions League, Serie A, Italian Cup, Italian Super Cup and Club World Cup. Overall, they have won three European Cups/Champions League, 18 Serie A titles, seven Italian Cups, five Italian Super Cups, three UEFA Cups, two Intercontinental Cups and one Club World Cup. 11 1. Barcelona have won 82 trophies – The most successful club based on number of trophies won, Barcelona are the only club to win the treble twice. They now boast five European Cup/Champions League victories, to go alongside four wins in the Cup Winners’ Cup, three in the old Fairs Cup and five UEFA Super Cup triumphs. In Spain, Barca have been crowned champions 23 times, won the Spanish Cup a record 27 times, the Spanish Super Cup on 11 occasions and the Spanish League Cup twice. They have also claimed the Club World Cup twice, and in 2009 became the first club to win six trophies in a calendar year. They can make it 84 trophies by the end of 2015, if they win the Spanish Super Cup and Club World Cup. 3. Bayern Munich have won 63 trophies – The kings of German football, Bayern have won the Bundesliga title a record 25 times and the German Cup on a record 17 occasions. They also won the now defunct German League Cup six times and the German Super Cup four times. Outside Germany, Bayern boast five European Cups/Champions Leagues, including three-in-a-row in the mid-1970s. They have won every European trophy, with one Cup Winners’ Cup, UEFA Cup and UEFA Super Cup triumph to their name. Bayern have also won the Intercontinental Cup twice and one Club World Cup, and are the only German club to complete the treble. last_img read more