Also known as a “drug submarine,” a semi-submersible is an illegal, artisanal narcotrafficking sea vessel. They travel at speeds of 5 to 7 knots, have a cargo capacity of up to 15 tons, have single or dual engines, and in general, can house a four-person crew who spend one or two weeks on board traveling the 3,000-3,500 miles to Mexico or the United States. Less than a quarter of these semi-submarines’ hulls are exposed to the surface; they travel right under the water’s surface – hence the name. “In general, construction is done a few kilometers from the coast to make it difficult to find,” Cmdr. Prada stated. “We have discovered several [semi-submersibles] in the Saquianga National Natural Park and in other areas with thick vegetation and limited access.” Construction of a proper submarine that’s capable of traveling completely below the surface of the water requires a far greater investment, specialized materials, and an expert workforce. “It is too labor-intensive and far too indiscreet for [narcotraffickers],” Cmdr. Prada explained. “So their alternative is constructing vessels that, even though they’re considerably smaller than a submarine, can carry five times more weight than a motorboat.” Law enforcement Manufacturing of semi-submersibles began in the 1990s at the height of drug trafficking when drug cartels were at their zenith. They began as an alternative way to smuggle drugs from Colombia to the United States or Mexico. At the time, those countries’ authorities were beginning to monitor air transportation intensively, and go-fast boats were experiencing large losses due to ships sinking and because of how easy they were to detect. Generally, semi-submersibles have a four-member crew: one who navigates; one who oversees the machinery and engines; one who monitors the cargo; and one so-called “captain,” who knows the vessel’s route. The “captain” receives $25,000 per trip, while other crew members make about $5,000, according to the National Navy. The vessels cost between $500,000 to $1 million, according to the National Navy. Construction can last between 30-45 days in improvised factories capable of working on up to three semi-submarines at a time, employing around 30 workers. The most common route taken by semi-submersibles is from Saquianga Park in Nariño, south around the Galápagos Islands, towards the Gulf of Tehuantepec in Mexico. Sometimes, another ship will pick up the narcotics in a nearby sea, according to the National Navy’s Pacific Coast Guard. The vessel, which had a diesel engine and was within days of being seaworthy, was seized along with 900 kilograms of cocaine hydrochloride inside it. Forty-eight hours later, the National Navy destroyed a semi-submersible in a tributary of the Timba River in the municipality of Tumaco in Nariño. National Naval service members also detained six suspects who allegedly constructed the vessel. About the same time, the Navy seized more than a ton of cocaine hydrochloride and three dinghies that held 20 parcels with 402 packets of drugs from an undisclosed location. Additionally, National Naval forces found 657 packets of drugs and 35 bins with 1,120 gallons of fuel at an illegal drop-off point near an area filled with heavy brush. So far this year, the Colombian National Navy has seized four semi-submersibles that drug traffickers were going to use to transport narcotics. The most recently confiscated vessel, which was 14 meters long, three meters wide, and could transport four tons of narcotics, occurred in the town of Candelilla de la Mar in the department of Nariño on May 13th. The year’s first seizure of a semi-submersible occurred on March 1st, about 250 nautical miles west of the Colombia-Ecuador border, when National Navy service members captured four crew members –three Colombians and a Mexican– and confiscated 5,824 kilograms of cocaine hydrochloride found aboard the vessel. Every 1,000 kilograms of cocaine hydrochloride seized by Military or law enforcement agents cost narcotrafficking organizations about $32 million in proceeds from sales on the international market. In those models, the bow contained one or two fuel tanks, a cargo area, a cabin for the crew, and a machinery room. The vessels, which also possessed a generator to power the batteries feeding the communication and positioning equipment, did not have a bathroom. By 2000, authorities began to encounter new models. Though semi-submersibles are silent, leave no wake, and are impossible to detect along the horizon, they are visible from the air. However, drug traffickers designed a hollowed-out torpedo that can hold between one and five tons of cocaine that’s towed by a fishing boat. Semi-submersible, a drug-trafficking invention What is a semi-submersible? “Inspections, strategic patrols, obtaining and vetting information, and planning are, among many other steps, necessary for the success of an operation to neutralize a semi-submersible,” said Commander Pedro Prada, who heads the Coast Guard of the Pacific, adding that seizures of semi-submersibles require months of intelligence work. Since 1993, Colombian authorities have seized 91 semi-submersibles that, for the most part, have been destroyed immediately. There was an uptick in 2009, when 20 such vessels were neutralized, coinciding with that year’s Law No. 1311 – the Semi-Submarines Act. In 2015, authorities found five vessels, both in the latter stages of construction and at sea. Colombia’s Navy found the first semi-submersible in its national territory on the island of Providencia in May 1993. The vessel was six meters long and could carry a ton of narcotics. A year later, the National Navy found a similar vessel – and they’ve continued to find semi-submersibles up and down Colombia’s Atlantic and Pacific coasts. Authorities have also found many semi-submersibles at sea through aerial detection. By Dialogo May 19, 2016 Since the beginning of the decade, authorities have started to encounter unmanned semi-submersibles carrying one or two tons of drugs, in addition to high-tech buoys that can be recovered at sea by drug traffickers. “A great deal of the intelligence we work on for the Navy is directed at locating the sites where these units are being built, to prevent them from reaching the sea where it is difficult to find them,” Cmdr. Prada said. “Our discoveries include semi-submarines as well as submersible torpedoes.” Colombia goes after those associated with these vessels with the Semi-Submarines Act, which punishes those convicted of using, constructing, selling, or possessing a semi-submersible or submarine without proper authorization to between six and 12 years in prison and a fine between 1,000 to 50,000 times the current monthly minimum wage (SMLMV), which is currently $228.59. But the penalties are much stiffer if the semi-submersible or submarine is used to store, transport, or sell narcotics or drug-producing materials, as those convicted face between eight to 14 years in prison and a fine of up to 70,000 times the SMLMV. The torpedo has a ballast system – meaning it can take water into chambers to lose flotation and can take in air for the opposite effect. It also has a positioning device, and can dive 30 meters deep thanks to a steel cable more than 200 meters long. It’s also invisible from the air. Narco-traffickers using buoys The Málaga Bay Naval Base in the department of Valle del Cauca houses some semi-submarines that have been discovered since the 90s. Though protocol demands that semi-submersibles be demolished as soon as they are found, the ones in Málaga were preserved for analysis. The two seizures come about six weeks after the Navy confiscated a semi-submersible that was in its final stages of construction on April 3rd. The vessel, which was 15 meters long and three meters wide, would have been able to transport two tons of drugs once its engine had been installed. Since the beginning of the 1990s when the first semi-submersible was seized, the manufacturing techniques have improved to increase the vessels’ cargo capacity. The vessel’s body is a motorboat covered over with fiberglass. The hull is dark to camouflage the vessel at sea, and its corrugated texture facilitates the unloading of drugs. A small cabin rises out of the hull to provide visibility for the crew, and air is circulated through tubes. Though some semi-submersibles can be used for multiple trips, most are sunk by narcotraffickers after one trip. The vessels also are equipped with valves to allow them to take on water and sink if they are boarded by authorities. How they work Colombia has security cooperation agreements with countries in Central, North, and South America to be more effective in locating these units and arresting drug traffickers.
continue reading » Strategic planning ideas are a second thought for many this year.For example, a financial institution executive was recently discussing with me the severe impacts from the pandemic: earnings are tanking, investment income is negligible, fee income is dropping significantly, and loan volume/income is slowing. As a result, the board decided to postpone their strategic planning session so they could focus on a more tactical plan for the coming months.While I certainly understand the sentiment, the reality is this: now is the time to focus on strategy and not just tactics. Even while the pandemic storm is swirling you must think beyond the immediate crisis.One of the worst things your credit union or community bank could do now is to delay or postpone your strategic planning process. While you may have to adjust how you plan, you absolutely still need to plan.But how? Here are a few strategic planning ideas adjusted for this unique year: ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has sent a public message wishing a quick recovery for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is receiving medical treatment after testing positive for COVID-19.The Indonesian leader took to his Twitter account on Wednesday to express his warm wishes on behalf of the country to Johnson. “My thoughts and prayers are with you PM @BorisJohnson and your family in this difficult time. We, in Indonesia, wish you a speedy recovery and best wishes,” he tweeted in reply to Johnson’s tweet on Monday. Johnson tweeted that he had gone to the hospital for routine tests as he was experiencing coronavirus symptoms. However, he said he was in good spirits and keeping in touch with his team.Read also: COVID-19: UK offers visa waiver for Indonesian relatives of British citizensAFP reported on Tuesday that the British prime minister had been admitted to intensive care on Monday evening. Johnson’s official spokesman told the press that the prime minister was receiving “standard oxygen treatment and breathing without any other assistance” and had not required a ventilator.Johnson had previously spent Sunday night at a London hospital after being taken in for tests following concerns that he still had a cough and high temperature, 10 days after being diagnosed with COVID-19.Other state leaders and prominent figures have also been sending warm wishes to Britain’s prime minister.Johnson has been temporarily replaced as the head of government by Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.Topics :
Tokyo has been named host destination for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.The Japanese capital was selected by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) members on Saturday beating off competition from Istanbul and Madrid.Tokyo beat off Istanbul by 60 votes to 36.Princess Takamodo addressed the IOC, speaking of her own passion for sport as well as the aftermath of the Japanese tsunami in 2011, according to reports.Tokyo, which first hosted the event in 1964, will become the first Asian city to host the Games twice.
Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Trail Blazers beat Grizzlies in play-in, earn first-round series with the Lakers Trail Blazers, Grizzlies advance to NBA play-in game; Suns, Spurs see playoff dreams dashed But it puts the Lakers in a tough spot with games against the third- and fourth-place teams in the Western Conference, respectively: The team has just gone 4-7 in the stretch without James, hanging on in a tie for eighth place in the standings. Only one of their four wins (at home against the Sacramento Kings) has been against a team with a winning record, and they’ve already lost to the Thunder at home without James.“That’s a tough stretch for anybody in the league,” Lonzo Ball said on Tuesday, following the Lakers’ win over the Chicago Bulls. “But can’t make no excuses, it’s the NBA but it’s good to have those three teams, gotta go in and try to win every one of them.”James (27.3 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 7.1 apg) hasn’t played since Christmas, when he was injured against the Warriors. Since he’s not joining the Lakers for either of the next two games, the earliest he could return is the team’s Martin Luther King Day rematch with Golden State on Monday at Staples Center. But if he isn’t able to return that soon, the home-heavy schedule against Minnesota, Phoenix, Philadelphia and a “road game” against the Clippers would give the Lakers a chance to integrate James in practices in Los Angeles.The 34-year-old forward has never missed more than 13 games in any season of his 16-year career, when he missed that many during 2014-15 with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Lakers, Clippers schedules set for first round of NBA playoffs AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersRelated Articles Lakers practice early hoping to answer all questions How athletes protesting the national anthem has evolved over 17 years Even before a scheduled medical evaluation on Wednesday, the Lakers knew that LeBron James would not join them on their upcoming two-game trip.An ESPN report early late Tuesday night indicated that James would not travel for games at Oklahoma City (Thursday) and Houston (Saturday), citing information from his agent Rich Paul. That was later affirmed by the Lakers, who said James was cleared in his evaluation to begin practices next week after the Lakers return Sunday for a stretch of five games in a row at Staples Center.The plan would extend the Lakers star’s absence to 13 games with his strained left groin. Several reports, including from ESPN and The Athletic, have indicated James is willing to take as much time as needed to heal.It’s not a shock, given that James has just recently returned to shooting and passing in half-court scenarios with the team. Before Wednesday, he had not been cleared for more taxing work, and groin injuries are notoriously prone to reinjury and are sometimes slow to heal.
MASON CITY — An executive of the company chosen to develop the hotel and conference center that’s part of the River City Renaissance project says they’re glad to be back as part of the project.Gatehouse Capital based in Dallas Texas had initially negotiated an agreement with the City of Mason City to develop the hotel in the eastern portion of the parking lot at Southbridge Mall, but the City Council in November 2017 decided to go with another developer that eventually defaulted on the project.Gatehouse vice president Colin McDonald says while there was a great deal of city-level debate about the project, they are ready to start the first steps in moving towards construction. “We firmly believe in the economics of the project. We believe in the opportunity. We really like the people of Mason City. I think they’re a great group of people and I think it’s going to be a wonderful partnership moving forward. I think the first hard part is over, now the next hard part is we’ve got a project to deliver and we will we will be delivering it.”McDonald says although it’s a smaller hotel than what they might typically construct, it’s part of what he feels is a very complex project. “It has moving parts with the conference center and the access and connectivity with the Music Man Square, and our relationship with Music Man Square makes this a very unique opportunity for a hospitality product.”McDonald says Gatehouse has several platforms in working with communities to develop hotel and conference facilities. He says they understand the catalytic nature of these projects. “We know what these projects entail.”McDonald says his company is seeing more communities of Mason City’s size try to do projects that involve hotels and conference centers. “There is a lot of, if you will, case work that shows the economic impact, and for forward-thinking cities that have a more of an entrepreneurial flair that realize that you need to go one of two ways, you can invest in your community and support activity. or you can sit by and hope. I think there are any number of communities that have relied on hope, and it’s a competitive marketplace. It’s competitive for the skills to bring those projects together.”McDonald was in Mason City last week as part of a site visit with city officials after the City Council at their July 23rd meeting approved a development agreement for the $24 million, 106-room hotel and convention center that fulfills the private investment requirement of the Iowa Reinvestment Act project.
PlatiniLausanne, Switzerland | AFP | Former UEFA president Michel Platini is finally free to return to football next week when his four-year ban for ethics violations ends, although he remains linked to a corruption investigation in his home country relating to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.The former France captain and national coach went on to become one of the game’s most prominent administrators when he was elected president of European football’s governing body in 2007.A triple Ballon d’Or winner, Platini was expected to succeed Sepp Blatter as FIFA president in 2016 but fell spectacularly from grace a few months earlier.He was banned from football for receiving a two-million Swiss franc (1.8 million euros, $2 million) payment from the head of the world game, with Blatter banned for eight years, later reduced to six, for his part.The payment, made in 2011 when Blatter was seeking re-election as president, was related to work carried out by Platini between 1999 and 2002.The pair were found guilty of “abusive execution” of their powers and a conflict of interests.Platini, now 64, has been battling to clear his name ever since, although his ban was reduced to four years from an initial six, leaving him free to work in football again when the suspension expires on Monday.With the former Saint-Etienne and Juventus midfielder sidelined, he watched on as Gianni Infantino, once his right-hand man at UEFA, became FIFA president in February 2016. The Swiss-Italian was re-elected in June this year.– ‘I will be back’ –Approached by AFP on Friday, Infantino declined to comment on Platini, who made his determination, and bitterness towards FIFA, clear in an interview with Swiss television channel RTS last month.“I will be back. I don’t know where, I don’t know how. I can’t go out of the game on the back of a ban, even if it’s a ban made by idiots,” he said.Speaking to French daily Le Monde about what the future holds, he added: “I have had lots of offers and requests to become a pundit, to do the Euros, the World Cup.”In an interview with French sports daily L’Equipe, he played down talk of a return to the top levels of football administration, although he has been linked with the role of president of the French Football Federation when that position opens up in 2021. “My wife taught me never to go back, to not experience the same love affair twice. So yes, that closes doors for me, notably those at UEFA,” he said.“My suspension ends in October, while the last elections for the FIFA presidency took place in May and the next ones will be in four years,” he added. “They arranged that well in Zurich.”One source close to UEFA said the organisation’s current president, Aleksander Ceferin, “could support Platini” as a candidate for the FIFA presidency in 2023 as the Slovenian “cannot stand” Infantino.By then, the Qatar World Cup will have come and gone, but Platini has been dogged by his connections to the controversial awarding of that tournament.In June this year he was held and questioned by French anti-corruption police investigating the 2010 vote to award the tournament to the Gulf state.According to France Football magazine, a “secret meeting” took place in November 2010 at the Elysee Palace in Paris between former French president Nicolas Sarkozy, Qatar’s then-Prince (now Emir) Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, and Platini, who was then both UEFA president and FIFA vice-president.Just over a week later, FIFA voted to award Qatar the 2022 tournament.Blatter, then FIFA president, claimed Qatar won hosting rights as a result of a deal with France. Platini dismissed Blatter’s allegations as a “tissue of lies”.“Because I go to eat at the President’s home to tell him who I am going to vote for as hosts of the 2022 World Cup, I get arrested? There is a whole load of things that have happened to me in the last four years that are intolerable, unbearable,” he told L’Equipe.“If I had really been involved in corruption, the Swiss and the Americans would have found something long ago.”Share on: WhatsApp
Image Courtesy: FPJ/GettyAdvertisement yqydNBA Finals | Brooklyn VsaWingsuit rodeo📽Sindre Eusba( IG: @_aubreyfisher @imraino ) 4hWould you ever consider trying this?😱btnyqCan your students do this? 🌚1k3sihpRoller skating! Powered by Firework Jwala Gutta, India’s badminton icon and one of the most inspiring sportspersons of the country, has often made headlines for her outspoken nature. However, Jwala recently revealed that being straightforward had her facing difficulty in career, and the sole person she holds accountable for the damage is none other than the national chief badminton coach and Jwala’s former doubles partner Pullela Gopichand!Advertisement Image Courtesy: FPJ/GettyJwala and Gopichand formed the team that National Badminton Championship title in mixed doubles back in 2004. However, as time passed, and the two shuttling icons of the country became distant.The former world no. 6 recently opened up about her relation with Gopichand, and accused Gopichand for partiality in badminton coaching system and also numerous career scopes Jwala missed in her career.Advertisement Speaking to India Today, Jwala revealed aggravation she faced in the past because of Gopichand, and how her straight from the shoulder attitude had bitten her back.“I hold him (Gopichand) responsible for the harassment I had to go through all these years. I am vocal and I have had to pay a huge price for that,” the 36 year old shuttler said in the interview.Advertisement “I acknowledge what he (Gopi) has achieved and I had expectations from him. Gopi knows my potential and what I was capable of,” the 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medallist continued, “He was part of the establishment and he knew my potential, so it was quite natural for me to have expectations from him.”Jwala further blamed Gopichand for favouritism and making the sport of badminton in the country centralised: “If you notice, there were players from other states when Gopi used to play. So there was a time where top players used to come from different parts of the country.”Jwala further stated that Gopichand, being from Andhra Pradesh, favours shuttlers from his state, and is the reason why the Indian badminton scene has a domination of Telugu players or players from Hyderabad.“If India wins a medal, it is because of Gopichand and if we don’t do well, then it is the system that is to be blamed,” she further added.In addition to that, Jwala also revealed facing racism and xenophobia, for having a Chinese mother. She recently took to social media to reveal how she was targeted as the ‘Boycott Chinese Product’ movement gained pace among the netizens of the country.“People have a lot of time to waste on such things, calling someone ‘Chinese’. It was important to call out people like these. So it is my duty to teach these people a lesson and tell them that the power of anonymity has its consequences too,” Jwala said.If you like reading about MMA, make sure you check out MMAIndia.com Also follow India’s biggest arm wrestling tournament at ProPanja.comAlso read-Former Ranji trophy cricketer found dead; son arrested for murder Advertisement
By Jay CookAboard the fittingly-named family boat “Breakaway,” a 20 person entourage joined Trevor van Riemsdyk for his journey to the docks at the Salt Creek Grille in celebration of his championship season with the World Champion Chicago Blackhawks.Over 160 friends and family awaited the arrival of the Middletown native van Riemsdyk to celebrate his day in showcasing the Stanley Cup to his hometown.Hoisting the cup way above his head on the bow of the family boat, amidst countless cheers from ashore, it seemed to be the perfect culmination to a long day of festivities.8. Trevor van Riemsdyk holding up the Stanley Cup in front of crowd at the Salt Creek Grille. Photo: Jaclyn ShugardWhat a day it was. Making numerous stops, consisting of visits to the Brick Stars Challenger Youth program, Christian Brothers Academy in Lincroft and the Middletown Arts Center, van Riemsdyk had proudly showcased the Stanley Cup trophy to those who helped him reach this point in his career.The final showcase to a long and widely-celebrated day was the aforementioned boat ride entrance, in conjunction with blow horns blaring and music booming.“It’s the only way to come in that made sense to us, considering the amount of time we spend on the water as a family,” said Frans van Riemsdyk, Trevor’s father.While certainly a fitting arrival, it almost did not happen. In a day filled with whipping winds and, at points, torrential downpours, it seemed as though this one-of-a-kind entrance may not have occurred. “Luckily the weather broke as we were making our final decision on how to arrive,” van Riemsdyk said.Fortunately enough for the Salt Creek Grille as well, owner Steve Bidgood was glad that the weather subsided. “We actually lost power back an hour ago, if you can believe that,” Bidgood said. “We’re lucky that the weather slowed down.”With the fresh sun glaring out from behind the clouds, van Riemsdyk’s family and friends showered him with countless hugs and cheers as he made his way from the dock inside to the downstairs banquet hall.Tables decorated with black, white and red tablecloths, a collage of van Riemsdyk’s postseason glory and a photo op area for the Stanley Cup trophy were all included at the exclusive party.“As myself being a local guy from Middletown, I feel honored that the van Riemsdyks chose to have this celebration here,” said Bidgood. “It’s a priceless feeling to have the Stanley Cup here.”Once inside, the festivities quickly began. Music on the stereo was cranked way up, and a line began to get a one-on-one picture with the Stanley Cup and the champ himself.The Stanley Cup at CBA.“It’s a surreal feeling. Really hard to put into words,” said Matthew Kessig. Kessig who has been a next door neighbor and close friend to the van Riemsdyk’s over the last 13 years, spoke about what this means for Middletown.“This is extremely important, and brings a lot of pride to the town and puts us on the map. The van Riemsdyks are the poster children for New Jersey hockey, if you ask me,” he said.In a day with no shortage of excitement, smiles and true appreciation, Trevor van Riemsdyk showed Middletown the love and support that he had seen from them for so many years. “Trevor is truly humbled and so proud of where we all live,” his father said.
Kootenay Coldsmoke Powder Festival returns to Whitewater Ski Resort this month. What is Coldsmoke? Super light, fluffy, powder puff snow that skiers passionately pursue each winter. What is the Kootenay Coldsmoke Powder Festival? A four-day (Feb. 25–28) grassroots gathering of backcountry skiers, snowboarders and telemarkers from all over British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest at Whitewater Ski Resort. Now in its fifth year, the Coldsmoke Powder Festival (presented by Arc’teryx, Whitewater Ski Resort and Mountain Gear) draws dedicated, die hard and enthusiasts, as well as neophyte backcountry skiers and snowboarders who want to give off-piste adventures a try. Highlights include: • Three full days of clinics for skiers, snowboarders, and telemarkers of all ability levels. Learn about free-heel skiing skills, the basics of tree skiing, taming wild snow, route-finding and track-setting, and mountain medical skills. • Parties get rolling with the Coldsmoke Opener at the Capital Theater on Friday evening, with screenings of ski films from around the world. To keep things interesting, local microbrews from Nelson Brewing Company will be on tap. On Saturday, don’t miss the Buff-Eh dinner and the Cold Shot Multimedia Face Off. • Sign up and participate in one of several super-sweet contests – you can even enter the G3 ski-graphiks competition in advance. More energetic types can enter the Valhalla Pure Powderkeg Slopestyle competition, the Scarpa Poker Run, Gerick’s Dually Slalom and the ROAM Randonee Rally. It’s not called the Kootenay Coldsmoke Powder Fest for nothing. As of Jan. 30, Whitewater is boasting a base of just over 220 centimeters. For our American attendees, that is over seven feet of snow. There’s always powder at Whitewater. You just might have to earn your turns to find it. Check out the Coldsmoke website on your mobile phone, join their Facebook and Twitter groups, and sign up on-line for money-saving packages on courses, accommodations, lift tickets and more.