December 2020

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:High on the Kika mountain plateau workers are installing Kosovo’s first wind turbine, as the Balkan country tries to ease its reliance on coal and end power outages.Kosovo aims to generate a quarter of its energy from renewable sources by 2020 to meet the standards of the European Union, which it aspires to join. But to achieve that goal it needs to attract more investment to shift away from coal.At Kosovo’s first wind farm, a total of nine 110 metre General Electric turbines will begin whirring in September and are expected to cover 3 percent of its demand. Turkish energy developer Guris, which is behind the 32.4 megawatt (MW) wind farm, hopes it will kick-start clean energy in a country in dire need of cutting pollution.But with more than 14 billion tonnes of lignite reserves, the dirtiest form of coal, Kosovo relies on two ailing power plants which produce 95 percent of its energy.Western Balkan countries plan to invest billions of euros in new coal-fired plants to meet rising power demand as old plants are phased out and last year Kosovo agreed its biggest energy investment in nearly three decades. It has contracted London-listed power firm ContourGlobal to build a 500 MW coal-fired power plant capable of meeting around half of its energy demand for around 1 billion euros ($1.16 billion).The Energy Community, a body whose role is to extend the EU’s energy policy to would-be member states, last week voiced concerns over tax and customs exemptions and the power purchase contract, under which Kosovo will pay 80 euros a megawatt-hour (MWh) for 20 years, nearly triple the current cost.More: Coal-reliant Kosovo gears up for wind shift to hit EU target First wind farm in Kosovo takes shapelast_img read more

first_imgInvestor groups push major auditing firms to pay greater attention to climate change risks FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:European investors managing assets worth more than 1 trillion pounds ($1.28 trillion) are pressing top auditors to take urgent action on climate-related risks, warning that failure to do so could do more damage than the financial crisis.The case for tighter auditing has been bolstered by public statements from regulators and accounting watchdogs highlighting the potentially systemic risks that climate change could pose.In a letter sent in January to the so-called Big Four — EY, Deloitte, KPMG and PwC — the investors said they were concerned that climate change was being “ignored” in accounting and audits. The letter was seen by Reuters and its contents are being made public for the first time.“The overarching thing is that we don’t want another financial crisis, and this could be a lot worse,” said Natasha Landell-Mills, head of stewardship at asset manager Sarasin & Partners, which is spearheading the campaign by 29 investors.The investors said they had decided to release the letter as they prepared to broaden their campaign by writing directly to the audit committees of leading oil and gas companies to demand they also take a more robust approach to climate risk. They want auditors to challenge assumptions about long-term prices for oil and gas, which underpin shareholder returns.The increased investor scrutiny comes as the role and structure of accountants is reviewed after several collapses, including travel operator Thomas Cook and outsourcer Carillion.More: Exclusive: Big four auditors face investor calls for tougher climate scrutinylast_img read more

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):The projected cost of Trans Mountain Corp.’s plan to almost triple the capacity of its aging oil pipeline network has surged to C$12.6 billion from a last estimate of C$7.4 billion because of court-ordered changes and numerous delays.The price tag for the 590,000-barrel-per-day expansion project has not been updated since 2017, before the Canadian government purchased the pipeline network from Kinder Morgan Inc. for C$4.5 billion in 2018, which included the existing 300,000-bbl/d network.The revised cost included court-ordered accommodations to First Nations groups and benefits agreements with a larger number of nations, Trans Mountain CEO and President Ian Anderson said on a conference call. The company expected the expansion to be in service in 2022, a year behind its earlier schedule.The company said its new estimate includes C$8.4 billion for construction and C$1.7 billion in financing costs, as well as C$600 million for contingencies. To date, about C$2.5 billion has been spent on the project. Trans Mountain now has benefit agreements with 58 First Nations groups along the pipeline route that will cost about C$500 million.“The cost increase has really come about through two primary drivers, one being the starting and the stopping of construction, the costs of delay, the carrying costs, the additional regulatory and legal processes,” Anderson said on the Feb. 7 call. “The other being the many project changes and enhancements in market conditions that we face now in 2020 versus the [version] that was thought to be a project back in 2017.”Houston-based Kinder Morgan sold the pipeline to the federal government after threatening to walk away from the expansion due to court challenges and challenges at other levels of government. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau authorized the C$4.5 billion purchase, claiming the outlet for oil exports was vital to the nation’s economy. The purchase set a value of about C$3 billion on the existing pipeline and C$1.5 billion for the expansion project. The increased cost estimate includes C$1.1 billion that Kinder Morgan had spent on the expansion before the purchase.[Gene Laverty]More ($): Trans Mountain cost soars 70% on court-ordered changes, delays Cost to complete Canada’s Trans Mountain Pipeline project soars to C$12.6 billion, up 70%last_img read more

first_imgChina pledges to become carbon neutral by 2060 FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:Less than an hour after U.S. President Donald Trump took to the virtual floor of the United Nations General Assembly and slammed China for its environmental record, China’s President Xi Jinping stunned the climate community by pledging that it would become carbon neutral by 2060.The two nearly back-to-back speeches provided a marked and powerful contrast. There are still many questions to be answered about China’s plan—most importantly how the country will define carbon neutrality. But the bare fact that China, by far the world’s biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions, has set out a net-zero pledge ahead of the U.S. shows how hard Beijing is striving to put itself at the center of global politics and the economic shift to clean energy—something Washington has been unwilling to do.China first committed in 2015 to reaching peak carbon emissions before 2030, a goal Xi reiterated in his speech on Tuesday. This was the first time, however, that the president had discussed zeroing out emissions. Today, the country is responsible for 28% of global greenhouse gas emissions.All Paris signatories are required to update their commitments under the agreement before the end of the year, and China could release more details on its climate plans at that time. The country’s leadership is also set to reveal more about its path toward cutting emissions as part of its five-year plan for 2021 to 2025, which will be released next month, with details to be made public in March of next year.Whether or not China’s climate plans include putting limits on its coal power financing is another key question. The country wields enormous influence around the world through its Belt and Road initiative. Coal-fired power generation in Pakistan rose 57% in the fiscal year ended this past June, for instance, largely on the back of Chinese investments.China also leads the world in the deployment of clean-energy technologies. To reach net-zero emissions in less than three decades, the country will have to double down on them. That, in turn, will make them cheaper and enable other countries to set even more ambitious climate goals.“China may still be building coal-fired power plants, but momentum is slowing and will soon grind to a halt as the pathetic economics of new coal is exposed,” said Cameron Hepburn, director of the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, University of Oxford. “In the meantime, China has become a wind, solar and battery superpower, with hydrogen now in its sights.”[Laura Millan Lombrana, Akshat Rathi and Eric Roston]More: China beat the U.S. to a carbon neutrality pledgelast_img read more

first_img1. Strange Plot Twist in Hitchhiker Shooting, Julian, W.Va.At first, West Virginia’s Ray Dolin appeared to be an ironic victim. While doing research for a hitchhiking memoir called Kindness in America, it was reported that the Julian resident stuck his thumb out to catch a ride in Glasgow, Montana. As he approached a pick-up truck, he was shot in the arm. A mother and daughter spotted Dolin flagging down their car and assisted him until help could arrive. Soon after, Lloyd Christopher Danielson was arrested for the shooting. But a few days later, Danielson was cleared of the charges. Then, after investigating the crime scene, police found a gun that was traced back to Dolin, who later admitted to shooting himself in an apparent effort to create publicity for his book.2. George’s Last Ride, Greenville, S.C. One of pro cycling’s greatest wingmen and notable Greenville residents George Hincapie announced his retirement this summer, just before riding in his final Tour de France. Hincapie is credited with helping Lance Armstrong win all seven of his Tour titles. The 19-year veteran was also part of every U.S. Olympic team since 1992 and won three national road race titles in 1998, 2006, and 2009. His 17th Tour appearance this summer broke the record for most starts in the event’s history. Hincapie will ride through the 2012 season.3. Prison Break, Atlanta, Ga. Jail food is notoriously lousy, but some inmates in Atlanta are being offered better grub if they get past new locks being put on cell doors. Fulton County’s chief jailer is testing his new method of security with a challenge for those it is holding—beat the new cell locks and win free food.4. Dog’s Worst Friend, Wilmington, N.C.Police were trying to run down Travis Keith Glaspie for a number of outstanding warrants. When they caught him, Glaspie shocked Wilmington’s finest by biting the ear off a K-9 named Maxx. Glaspie ended up with a dog bite to the thigh and a felony assault on a law enforcement animal charge, while Maxx needed 15 stitches to repair his ear.5. One Lucky Leg, Lexington, KyThanks to his school pride, Fred Robinson recovered the prosthetic leg he lost while swimming in the Gulf of Mexico over Memorial Day weekend. A fisherman found Robinson’s leg, which is emblazoned with the Wildcats logo of his alma matter, the University of Kentucky. The fisherman, Matt Willingham, contacted the leg manufacturer, and thanks to the logo, Robinson was easy to track down. The former Wildcat football player was quite happy to recover the prosthetic, which carries a steep price tag of $30,000.Beyond the Blue RidgeBam Hucks a Hundred FooterHood River, Ore. Jackass star Bam Margera hit the news this summer after hucking off the 100-foot Metlako Falls in a tandem kayak with pro boater Steve Fisher. Sweet video footage of the stunt surfaced online, but when Margera came up for air, he ended up in the hospital for emergency hernia surgery.Biting the Hand that FeedsEverglades City, Fla. Wally Weatherholt, a 63-year-old airboat captain, tried to bait an alligator with marshmallows to give tourists a choice photo op. When he started slapping the water with the sugary treats, a nine-foot gator lunged forward and bit off his left hand. The gator was euthanized and attempted reattachment surgery was unsuccessful. Weatherholt could face fines or jail time for feeding the gator.Bike Thief Bound for HellSan Francisco, Ca. Double-amputee Krzyszof Jarzebski was preparing to hand pedal across the country, but his plans stalled when someone stole his $13,000 custom-made bike. The 53-year-old Polish Paralympic athlete lost his legs after a fight with cancer, but he’s bounced back to hand cycle all across his native Europe. Unfortunately, Jarzebski’s visit to America was marred by a thief willing to make a few bucks by stealing what’s obviously a bike adapted for those with disability.In other news, what should the next Olympic Sport be; trail running or climbing?last_img read more

first_imgPhoto by Dave Landreth 62-year-old Jenny Bennett knew the Smokies better than most.Among her peers and the readers of her popular blog Endless Streams and Forests,  she was known for her encyclopedic knowledge of areas within Great Smoky Mountains National Park so remote that they are inaccessible to all but the most experienced and competent off-trail wanderers.That’s why so many of her close friends and family members were shocked when she turned up missing after embarking on what some say should have been a “routine” hike.Bennett’s disappearance was not brought the attention of the National Park Service until Sunday, June 7, after her brother, Peter Bennett of Bozeman, Montana, reported her missing to authorities in Jackson County, North Carolina. Bennett believes his sister’s hike began sometime during the weekend of May 30-June 1, when she failed to meet movers last week at her home in Sylva, North Carolina.He says Jenny’s plan was to embark on one last hike in her beloved Smoky Mountains before leaving the area for a permanent move to Vermont.Park officials found Bennett’s vehicle at the Porter’s Creek Trailhead in the Greenbrier section of the park on Sunday night, and located her body near backcountry campsite 31 in an off-trail area she is known to have frequented.A cause of death has not been determined, but officials have ruled out both foul play and animal predation.For more insight into the life of Jenny Bennett and the many adventures she conquered in the Smokies and beyond, check out her blog and read this this article about Jenny from a 2012 issue of Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine.last_img read more

first_imgIf You Go By 1870, the population of Cahawba was down to 431, with 302 being African American. During the Reconstruction Era, Cahawba was given a derogatory nickname by residents in Selma, “Mecca of the Radical Republican Party,” because freed black men met in the damaged courthouse to organize politically. After emancipation, some African American residents became landowners. One was Ezekel Arthur, who traveled to surrounding states to find relatives who had been sold away. Returning with family members to Cahawba, he became a successful farmer and eventually bought the Fambro house, which was occupied by his descendants until the late 1990s. Photo by Mike Bezemek Today, Old Cahawba Archaeological Park preserves more than the location of Alabama’s first state capital. Hidden amid thick foliage, visitors can explore remnants from over 500 years of communities and towns.Each establishment ultimately vanished, often under mysterious circumstances. Alabama became a territory in 1817. The following year, Governor William Bibb selected Cahawba as the capital city, due to its river location and abundant blufftop springs. A two-story brick building was erected in the town center and Cahawba rapidly expanded. There were stores, hotels, river ferries, two newspapers, a theater, and a state-owned bank. President Monroe relocated the Federal Land Office to Cahawba and land prices skyrocketed from $1 per acre to between $60 and $70. Within a few years, vacant lots downtown cost around $5,000, or about $100,000 in today’s money. Though the park offers free use of cruiser bikes, I wander on foot, roughly chronologically. The park’s website includes detailed site history, which I use as a guide. My first stop is the old town center on a bluff above the confluence of the Cahaba and Alabama Rivers. It’s now a field of grass and oak trees draped in Spanish moss mostly used for picnicking, but a closer look reveals signs of the site’s first inhabitants. The disappearance of this early village is dated to around 1540, roughly the same time that Hernando DeSoto’s expedition was traveling through the area. An encounter with Chief Tuskaloosa at an unknown fortress quickly turned violent. The conquistadors were armed with advanced weapons, like crossbows, swords, and possibly harquebus—a type of early musket. The Native Americans probably fought with spears or bows and arrows. Around 200 of the 600 Spaniards were killed or injured, while almost the entire native force of 2,500 to 3,000 was killed. An Alabama archaeological park preserves over 500 years of mysterious ruins Continuing my walk, I turn north and follow Vine Street, past info markers for antebellum stores. I soon reach one of Old Cahawba’s highlights, remnants of a building called the Crocheron Columns.  When the Union won the Battle of Selma, in April 1865, Generals Wilson and Forest met in Cahawba. Thirteen days after John Wilkes Booth assassinated President Lincoln, around 2,300 soldiers released from Cahaba and Andersonville Prisons were aboard the steamship Sultana. The boat was dangerously overloaded, and while ascending the Mississippi River, the Sultana’s boiler exploded, killing nearly 2,000 soldiers, the largest maritime accident in American history. The next morning, I drive to the Old Cahawba visitor center, then walk down Capitol Street, the eerie main road running through dense forest. Like many American cities, there are intersecting roads laid out in a grid. Block upon block, each lined by jungle instead of buildings.center_img Rain pools on my windshield faster than the blades can wipe it away. I’m 10 miles south of Selma, driving a cracked road through dripping wilderness toward the Alabama River. Arriving at Six Mile Creek, I find a mostly empty campground. The lower riverside sites have a veneer of damp mud from recent flooding. It’s hot and steamy, so I set up my cot inside my mesh bug shelter and sweat through the night. For thousands of years, the region was home to tribes of the Mississippian culture. Sometime between the 11th and 16th centuries, a Native American town was built here, possibly by people who came up the river in canoes from near Mobile Bay. Excavated pottery shards suggest huts arranged atop an earthen mound next to the riverbank. On the land side, there was a semi-circular defensive wall and moat. Walking around the southwestern corner of the field, I follow portions of this moat, which today resembles a dry creek bed. On my return, I pass construction work at the site of the original state house. Site director Linda Derry explains they’re erecting a “ghost structure,” a building frame that outlines the dimensions of the long-gone capitol. “We’re preserving the story of Old Cahawba,” she says. “You can read the landscape like you can a book. To understand what is happening in our country now, we must think critically about our past.”  Cover Photo: At Old Cahawba visitors find the ruins of Alabama’s first capital. Photo by Mike Bezemek. The population dropped to only 300 residents, but Cahawba revived during the mid-1800s as a hub for plantation cotton distribution. Steam-powered paddle-wheelers plied the waters below the town, and a railroad spur was built from nearby Marion. In 1861, the Civil War came to Cahawba. The confederate government confiscated the rail line, dismantling the rails and spikes, reusing them on a new line connecting Selma with Demopolis. During June 1863, the Confederate Army opened Cahaba Federal Prison, which eventually held 9,000 Union inmates. While conditions were poor, the prison had one of the lowest death rates during the war because of the availability of fresh spring water. Many of these wells and spring pipes remain today. Little is known about the area during the next hundred years, but by the late 1600s the region was controlled by European colonial powers. First the French, then the British, and later the Spanish. In 1795, the land was ceded to the recently independent United States. Around 1815, after a series of wars and treaties, the federal government removed the Choctaw and Creek tribes, opening the Alabama wilderness to white settlement. This prompted a land rush of farmer and cotton plantation owners. The area became known as the Black Belt, both for the dark rich soils perfect for growing cotton and for the large enslaved black population who worked the fields. In addition to touring the ruins of Old Cahawba by foot or bike, the park offers two canoe ramps, which allow for a 3-mile paddling trip on the Cahaba and Alabama Rivers. Nearby, Forever Wild is developing the Old Cahawba Prairie, with birding and hiking opportunities. More info: alabamaforeverwild.com/old-cahawba-prairie The capital city’s unraveling began with the economic devastation of the National Panic of 1819. Yellow Fever broke out during the summers of 1821 and 1822. During the latter year, heavy rains flooded the town. In 1825, the state legislature moved the capital to Tuscaloosa. Residents packed their belongings—and their houses—moving them brick by brick in some cases. My next stop is the Barker Slave Quarters, still standing after the Barker mansion burned in 1935. From there, I wander through what was called the Negro Burial Ground, and then onward past the Fambro House.last_img read more

first_imgBy Dialogo August 23, 2012 On Aug. 21, the Colombian Police Director, General José Roberto León, reported the capture of several suspected members of the guerrilla groups’ FARC and ELN in different operations over the weekend. Among those arrested was Héctor González, alias “Elías Alzate’‘, who is accused of rebellion and terrorism. In his remarks, General León said Elías Alzate is “the biggest extortionist” in the Eastern bloc of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). According to León, this man is also responsible for at least 12 attacks against companies in Bogotá and Villavicencio (south) that had refused to pay bribes. The police chief said that in addition to this arrest, during the last few hours, in the Arauca Department (east) authorities detained seven members of the National Liberation Army (ELN), responsible for the recent kidnapping of a journalist and an environmental engineer employed at an oil company. Both women were released after 19 days of abduction. In the Chocó Department (northwest), 10 members of the 34th Front of the FARC accused of multiple murders were arrested, while two other rebel leaders of the organization were detained in Tolima and Arauca, General León said.last_img read more

first_img A growing market The Sinaloa Cartel has forged alliances with two Hong Kong-based mafias to acquire precursor chemicals which are used to manufacture highly-addictive synthetic drugs, authorities said. The Sinaloa Cartel is obtaining precursor chemicals from 14K and Sun Yee On, two Chinese triads – organized crime groups — which are based in Hong Kong, the South China Morning Post reported recently. The cartel, which is led by fugitive kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, uses the chemicals to manufacture methamphetamines in Guatemala and El Salvador, officials said. Sinaloa Cartel operatives, including local gangs, pick up the precursor chemicals from ports in Guatemala and Honduras, then drive the chemicals in SUVs to clandestine labs. Once the synthetic drugs are processed, Sinaloa Cartel operatives transport them to illegal drug markets in the United States, Canada, Europe, Africa and Mexico. Through alliances with local gangs, the cartel also sells some of the synthetic drugs in Argentina, Guatemala and El Salvador. Ties to ‘El Chapo’ Law enforcement agents in the Philippines and in China recently discovered evidence confirming the alliance between El Chapo and the Hong Kong mafias. On Dec. 27, 2013, law enforcement agents from the Philippines, working in cooperation with U.S. security forces, captured three suspects near Manila. The three suspects have ties to the Sinaloa Cartel, authorities said. The three suspects were preparing and storing methamphetamine in a laboratory located on a rooster farm south of Manila, authorities said. Security forces seized 84 kilos of methamphetamine. The precursor chemicals used to produce the synthetic drugs were provided by 14K and Sun Yee On, The three suspects had ties to the Sinaloa Cartel, authorities said. Bartolome Tobia, the chief of Filipino anti-narcotics police forces, said the security operation confirmed that El Chapo was working with Chinese mafias. “Mexicans, who are already here, are getting help from Chinese criminal organizations linked to drug trafficking,” he said. A week after the arrests in the Philippines, on Jan. 4, 2014, more than 2,500 Chinese security agents seized more than three tons of methamphetamine in the city of Guangdong Lugeng. Chinese authorities also arrested 182 suspects. The synthetic drugs belonged to one of the Chinese organized crime groups that is working with El Chapo, authorities said. Organized crime is a transnational and global phenomenon, and borders are non-existent for the Sinaloa Cartel and the Chinese triads, Chabat said. “The drug cartels are fighting to control a single territory, the world,” Chabat said. In particular, El Chapo is trying to control drug trafficking not only in Mexico, but in the U.S., Europe, all of Latin America, Africa, Asia and Australia, aas part of a “deviant globalization strategy,” according to insightcrime.org. “There is no doubt that the Sinaloa Cartel is one of the strongest and most powerful drug trafficking organizations on the American continent,” Chabat said. Authorities in Asian countries have captured several of El Chapo’s operatives in recent years. For example, in June 2011, Malaysian authorities sentenced three Mexicans from Sinaloa to death for operating a methamphetamine laboratory in the city of Johor. Malaysian police arrested the brothers Luis Alfonso, Simón and José Regino González Villareal, alleged members of the Sinaloa Cartel, in 2008. . In November 213, Latin American security officials agreed at the “Second Regional Conference on Prevention, Control and Police Investigation on the diversion of Precursor Chemicals,” to increase international cooperation in the battle against synthetic drugs. Latin American authorities pledged to strengthen corporate social responsibility and collaboration between the business sector and the state to enhance the control of precursor chemicals. They also agreed to improve various international programs and projects, as well as strengthen work on scientific evidence in order to convert information into knowledge for better tools in the fight against drugs. “As part of international cooperation, institutions should be strengthened in all countries at the international level in the fight against synthetic drugs,” Chabat said. Regarding the return of the Colombian ceramics, I wonder if they returned everything they said there was o like during the colonial period, they kept the gold and the silver and they returned what was worthless. Because the Europeans greed for what is ours is well known. Borders not relevant to ‘El Chapo’ and Chinese triads In recent years, the market for amphetamine-type synthetic drugs has been expanding. Authorities in the U.S. and other countries where the drugs are sold are reporting record levels of synthetic drug seizures and use. About 80 percent of the methamphetamine consumed in the U.S. each year is prepared with precursor chemicals from China, authorities estimate. Argentina, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, and United States are among the countries with highest number of drug processing laboratories, authorities have estimated. Synthetic drugs can be swallowed, injected, smoked or inhaled and are also known by popular names such as “crystal”, “glass”, “cocaine of the poor”, “yaba”, “ice” or “meth.” These drugs are highly addictive and can cause mental disorders such as schizophrenia, paranoia and aggressive behavior. The governments of Mexico and the United States strictly control the sale of precursor chemicals. These controls have prompted the Sinaloa Cartel and other Latin American drug traffickers to forge alliances with Asian organized crime groups, Chabat said. Relatively weak regulation in the Chinese chemical industry provides local and international drug traffickers with easy access to psychoactive substances in large quantities, he added. Hong Kong has not issued certificates guaranteeing that the people who purchase chemical precursors are the actual recipients of the precursors, according to the United Nations. A history of selling synthetic drugs center_img By Dialogo February 19, 2014 The Sinaloa Cartel has sold methamphetamine since the 1990s. In the early to mid-1990s, Ignacio “El Nacho” Coronel, who at the time was one of El Chapo’s top lieutenants, “clearly saw” the great potential in the emerging market for methamphetamine, according to the “Security and Defense Atlas of Mexico 2012,” which was published by the Mexico City-based Collective for the Analysis of Security with Democracy (CASEDE). El Nacho, who also came to be known as “The King of Crystal,” was in charge of producing and trafficking methamphetamine for El Chapo. He developed a system to transport large amounts of ephedrine, which is used to make methamphetamine, from Asia to Mexico, where cartel operatives processed synthetic drugs. Mexican Army soldiers killed El Nacho during a gun battle in Zapopan, Jalisco, in July 2010. The alliances between the Sinaloa Cartel and the two Chinese organized crime groups are “deadly,” said Jorge Chabat, a security analyst at the Center for Research and Teaching in Economics (CIDE) in Mexico City. The Sinaloa Cartel is the largest, most violent transnational criminal organization in the world, Chabat explained. The two Chinese mafias are major producers of precursor chemicals and methamphetamines, Chabat said. The new alliances will help the forces of El Chapo produce and transport a steady supply of synthetic drugs, Chabat said. “The Sinaloa Cartel will obtain precursors in large amounts, reduce costs, and continue to internationalize,” Chabat said. “The U.S. market for synthetic drugs is attractive to ‘El Chapo’ and the Chinese triads.” Triads are Chinese criminal organizations based in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and mainland China. The 14K triad, has about 25,000 members in its ranks. The other traid El Chapo is allied with, Sun Yee On, has more than 50,000 members. El Chapo is using substances such as phenyl ethyl acetate and isobutyl phenylacetate to try to create a new synthetic drug, according to published reports. Deadly alliances last_img read more

first_imgBy Marian Romero/Diálogo October 12, 2017 The Chilean Navy’s Training Ship Esmeralda was in Cartagena, Colombia August 25th-28th for its 62nd instructional voyage. While on port, Chilean military members received navy-officer training, which included practical classes on navigation of sailing ships, seamanship, celestial navigation, leadership, ethics and principles, engineering, and management of malfunctions, among others. “Since the beginning of the last century, when a Chilean mission participated in the creation of a Colombian naval school, we have been connected,” said Colombian Navy Rear Admiral Gabriel Pérez Garcés, the commander of Colombia’s Caribbean Naval Force. “Today we have exchange professors visiting, and we also send professors to Chile.” The T.S. Esmeralda is commanded by Chilean Navy Captain Patricio Espinoza Sapunar. It has a crew of 291 troops, including 74 officer cadets, the first officer rank in Chile; 35 with the rank of seaman, and 12 guest officers from partner navies from around the world. “The visit of the T.S. Esmeralda constitutes a combination of diplomatic, professional, cultural, and athletic activities,” Capt. Espinoza said. “This is a very enriching experience because they have the opportunity to interact with different cultures and exchange opinions with officers or cadets who are in a similar situation.” The training ship was welcomed by its Colombian host, the “Almirante Padilla” Naval Cadet School. Colombian Navy officers were responsible for the in-port training of naval cadets. “In addition to the warm reception on the part of the Colombian civilian and military authorities, there was an athletic event that brought together cadets from the two naval academies,” Capt. Espinoza said. “The excellent relationship between Chile and Colombia has allowed for permanent support and exchange of technology and personnel between the two navies.” A thorough learning experience The T.S. Esmeralda is one of the largest sailing vessels in the world. It is 113 meters in length with a 13-meter beam. There are certain challenges and benefits to this brigantine-schooner type vessel which are learned during the instruction voyage, which in this case, will be five months long. “Teamwork, cohabitation, and raising your level of tolerance for your shipmates are crucial on this type of ship because the crew must remain in tight spaces for prolonged periods of time,” Capt. Espinoza said. “Learning to adequately guide the personnel is one of the main challenges for the cadets during this experience, which can only be obtained through onboard experience.” The goal of training during a voyage is to offer the cadets the opportunity to see different cultures and have different experiences, like the characteristics of the societies, the architecture, and the history of each of the countries they visit. The T.S. Esmeralda provides cultural tours and social activities to complement the experience. “Training on a sailing ship, in contrast to warships, allows for staying in contact with the elements, natural conditions that normally are not perceived on a warship,” Rear Adm. Pérez said. “On a warship, the training is more technical and doctrine-focused, while a sailing ship allows for an experience that is closer to the sea environment, which is very important for any navy officer.” “In Colombia, we have benefited greatly from training with Chile. Because of its geographic conditions, with its enormous Pacific coast, they have developed a number of maritime resources over a long period of time that are associated with their economic development and progress,” Rear Adm. Pérez added. “Chile has a robust navy which has a lot to offer.” The ship’s voyage The selection of the route taken yearly by the T.S. Esmeralda is the result of planning that begins one year in advance by the Chilean Navy, in coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. During that time, priorities for the voyage and commitments with navies of the countries to be visited are evaluated, along with the Navy’s interests. The routes of the training ship vary. It might go to Europe, the Asia-Pacific region, the Americas, etc. The choice depends on the interests of the Chilean government and Navy or a particularly important event that would involve the ship. This year, the voyage began on May 7th. It set off from Valparaíso, Chile, and after visiting nine ports in five countries in the western hemisphere, it returned to its port of origin on October 1st. “We learn something different at every port we visit,” Capt. Espinoza concluded. Cartagena, with its historical heritage and its massive naval presence, is one of the ports most visited by the T.S. Esmeralda, registering a total of 16 visits since 1956.”last_img read more