Maritime Interdiction, the First Line of Defense against Drug Trafficking

first_imgBy Lorena Baires/Diálogo July 10, 2017 Gray clouds shroud the sky as evening falls over the Pacific Ocean. Two attack patrol boats glide smoothly along the horizon. They belong to the Navy Task Force Trident (FTNT, per its Spanish acronym), an elite group of the Salvadoran Navy (FNES, per its Spanish acronym). On board, teams of military interceptors are keeping their eye on the surroundings. Suddenly, an alarm is heard. A boat with three outboard motors is traversing the peaceful seascape at high speed, and water splashes four large black packages at its stern. Its movement is raising suspicion. FNES First Lieutenant Alejandro Posada, a member of the FTNT Maritime Interdiction Operations group, has command of one of the patrol boats. He orders his team into position while observing the radar. Seconds later, he accelerates the engines and changes course to reach the suspicious vessel, escorted by a second patrol boat. As they attempt to flee, the boats throw their packages into the sea, and the escort patrol boat intercepts them. A few minutes later, First Lt. Posada reaches them. Two sharp turns around the boat are sufficient to immobilize the small vessel. Once detained, and their packages recovered, the boatmen claim the packages contain the product of their work – fish. But FNES Lieutenant Miguel Flores, the FTNT commander, can be heard clearly on the radio: “Confirmed, packages are suspicious, may contain illicit substances, it is not fish.” This was how a maritime interdiction exercise concluded on June 17th along the coast of the Salvadoran region of Sonsonate. These types of operations are a daily occurrence for the FTNT interceptors. High-level training The high-profile operations team blocks the passage of drug-trafficking structures attempting to move drugs north. The specialists are deployed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, along the 321 kilometers comprising the Salvadoran coastline. That is, from the Paz River at the border of Guatemala to the Gulf of Fonseca, which is shared with Honduras and Nicaragua. They are always on alert and strategically positioned. Their specialized tactical level is developed with the support of the U.S. Armed Forces, who have been training them since 2015 and sharing their knowledge about board and search, room clearing on large vessels, search-and- seizure procedures for illicit substances, and fast-roping for insertions from helicopters, capturing individuals, rescuing victims or amphibious reconnaissance, among other things. The training has come from specialized groups like the U.S. Naval Special Warfare Command (NAVSOC), Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha, and special operations forces units such as Special Warfare Combatant-Craft Crewmen or the U.S. Navy Sea, Air and Land Teams, all sponsored by U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM). “Our teams have a work cycle of three months of training and three months of operations at sea. When they come back from training, they have to pass on their newly acquired knowledge to the remaining members, in such a way that they are learning and practicing all the time,” Lt. Flores explained. The interceptors work with real-time information from the Combat Information Center (CIC), a specialized office that manages and organizes the operations. Thanks to the January 2009 Letter of Understanding of the Central American Regional Security Initiative, alerts also come from Joint Interagency Task Force-South (JIATF South), located in Key West, Florida. “Since our units are always in position when the CIC sends us a location where we need to go, it is a question of minutes for us to arrive there. The level of risk and cooperation by the suspects determines the level of force we need to use,” First Lt. Posada added. All the knowledge acquired and developed at sea is shared with the naval forces of Guatemala and Nicaragua, which share a maritime border with El Salvador. “Thanks to the support of SOUTHCOM, we have also had cargo-recovery exercises with Guatemala. For example, a C47 airplane launches a logistical supply package into the sea, and we carry out the rest of the rescue operation,” First Lt. Posada said. Key to success “We are making efforts to be a blue-water naval force; we are not in port but out at sea. Our strategic positions, the training we have received, and the current leadership of our force allows us to attain a high level of success in the naval operations we conduct,” Lieutenant Commander Francisco Mejía Martínez, an FTNT Maritime Interdiction Operations collaborator, proudly details. Day and night, the interceptor units navigate within the 200 nautical miles of Salvadoran territorial waters. This approach to maneuvers, plus the quality of information coming from CIC, allows them to exceed their own expectations. So far in 2017, they have seized 2,522 kilograms of cocaine, while in 2016, that number was 8,708 kilograms. “The threats are changing little by little. That’s why we have to maintain a high focus on training. Always in an ideal position at sea to continue the mission of protecting the security of the 200 miles of Salvadoran territorial sea,” Lt. Cmdr. Mejía concluded.last_img read more

Indonesia secures massive supply of potential COVID-19 vaccine until end of 2021

first_imgIndonesia has secured a supply of a potential COVID-19 vaccine in the ballpark of 300 million doses until the end of next year, the government has said, following ministerial visits to China and the United Arab Emirates last week.President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo recently instructed Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi and State-Owned Enterprises Minister Erick Thohir to meet with Chinese and Emirati officials to follow up on crucial vaccine cooperation as well as other economic partnerships.Speaking at the presidential palace on Monday after reporting the results of their four-day trip abroad, Retno said the outcome of the visit had exceeded initial expectations, especially with regard to vaccine procurement. Topics : Indonesia has secured a commitment to be sent 20-30 million doses of the potential vaccine by the end of this year, some 80-130 million doses in first quarter of next year and 210 million doses for the remainder of 2021, she said.“Therefore, if we talk about numbers, we have secured 290 million to 340 million for 2021,” she told reporters in a virtual briefing on Monday.The first of the deals were secured when the two ministers visited China’s resort city Sanya on Hainan Island on Thursday, while the rest were negotiated with UAE officials in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.In Sanya, Retno and Erick oversaw two deals between state-owned pharmaceuticals firm Bio Farma and China’s Sinovac Biotech that would give Indonesia the equivalent of 50 million doses of the potential vaccine from November to March and priority access for the rest of 2021.center_img Read also: Government, Bio Farma secure vaccine bulk supply from China’s SinovacIt will be supplied in the form of vaccine bulk, an aqueous form of the purified antigens, or vaccine, provided in a large container from which individual vials are filled.Indonesia is already cooperating with Sinovac in the phase three clinical trial of the vaccine candidate, with tests being carried out on 1,620 volunteers in Bandung, West Java, since earlier this month.The government has also looked into partnerships with two other Chinese drug manufacturers, Sinopharm and CanSino Biologics.On the second leg of the trip to Abu Dhabi, the ministers oversaw deals struck between two state drugmakers, Kimia Farma and Indofarma, and Group 42 (G42) Health Care, an artificial intelligence-based Emirati company that is actively involved in the research, development and distribution of COVID-19 testing and treatment applications.G42 signed an agreement with Kimia Farma to develop vaccines and another with Indofarma to develop test kits using laser technology and AI to detect the virus.“We think this [laser and AI] technology will be able to help with quicker tracing, and of course, support safe economic activity,” Retno said.For the deal with Kimia Farma, G42 agrees in principle to cooperate on a wide scope of products including drugs, health services, research and development as well as clinical trials and production, marketing and the distribution of vaccines.Details of the agreement remain under wraps, but Indonesia has sought to be part of the Sinopharm-G42 cooperation, having sent a team of reviewers to closely monitor the implementation of phase III clinical trials of a vaccine candidate they had codeveloped.Sinopharm and G42 began phase III trials of the vaccine candidate in Abu Dhabi in mid-July, involving up to 15,000 volunteers.Read also: Explainer: When will a coronavirus vaccine be ready?The Chinese drugmaker previously said its vaccine candidate may cost no more than 1,000 yuan (US$144.27) for two injections once it completed trials and began mass production, Reuters reported.The UAE is becoming Indonesia’s most important partner in the Middle East during this pandemic, having set up a priority travel corridor for essential businesses in order to facilitate greater economic cooperation.The only other nations with such an arrangement are China and South Korea.Retno said the President had instructed her and the SOE minister to go to the UAE after receiving a congratulatory phone call from its de facto leader, Abu Dhabi crown prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nayhan, on Indonesia’s Independence Day.“In the telephone conversation, the President, among other things, said he would send Pak Erick and me to Abu Dhabi to follow up on all cooperation in amid this pandemic,” Retno said from Abu Dhabi on Saturday.During their visit, the ministers had meetings with Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nayhan and Energy and Infrastructure Minister Suhail Al Mazroui, for updates on some of the existing projects the two had countries agreed on after Jokowi’s visit to Abu Dhabi in January.Among the deals is a collaboration between state-owned oil and gas companies Pertamina and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), as well as a project in Subang, West Java, with Elite Agro – the UAE’s leading agricultural company.Retno also announced that the groundbreaking for a high-profile 145 megawatt floating solar power plant project in Cirata Reservoir in West Java was scheduled for June next year with the aim of beginning operations in the second half of 2022.“We also conveyed to the Emirati Foreign Minister that Indonesia is currently exploring cooperation to distribute Indonesian pharmaceutical products to the Middle East and Africa,” she said.In late April, as a sign of solidarity, the UAE sent 20 tons of medical equipment to Indonesia and purchased nearly 30 tons of dried and fresh food products from archipelago’s micro, small and medium enterprises.There was no mention of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict during the Indonesian delegation’s trip to Abu Dhabi, despite the UAE’s recent announcement that it would normalize ties with Israel. As a staunch supporter of Palestine and a major critic of Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian territory, Jakarta has yet to establish ties with Tel Aviv.Read also: Kindred spirits: Indonesia’s 75 years of unwavering support for Palestine“In this current position, the government must maintain good relations with the UAE by not making any comments [on the conflict] and instead put an emphasis on positive economic cooperation,” said Yon Machmudi, a Middle East expert from the University of Indonesia.He said it was a consequence of practicing foreign policy from a heavily economic perspective.Going forward, Yon said the UAE would act as a business hub for countries that still held reservations against the Jewish state.last_img read more

How N Srinivasan remained defiant yet again at a BCCI meet

first_imgMaking a rare appearance at the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) headquarters after being forced to step aside as President four years back, former chief N Srinivasan made his presence felt in two successive meets.At the Special General Meeting (SGM) on Monday which lasted more than two and half hours, attending as Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) representative, India Today learns Srinivasan took the lead in resistance to Lodha reforms citing ‘the 19 affidavits state units had filed with various courts over difficulties in implementing the July 18th 2016 Supreme Court order.'”We can’t go back on them,” he told the members.This was picking up from his terse communication to Committee of Administrators (CoA) head Vinod Rai a day earlier that there wasn’t much to talk on the reforms as the matter was subjudice. The meeting closed in 15 minutes.At the SGM, to justify his argument of not being able to implement the order in current form, Srinivasan even batted for former office bearers Ajay Shirke and Anurag Thakur who he was once at logger heads with.He told the members they had lost their place in legal battles to preserve the BCCI autonomy and it would not be fair to modify position in their absence.The eventual decision by the BCCI to formulate a committee to present any reservations on the court order to the CoA came straight from the old BCCI book of buying time to sit over the issue.Not losing out on an opportunity to register his displeasure over lost money at ICC, Srinivasan reminded the house about the ‘Big Three’ formula he had deviced as ICC Chairman and suggested the BCCI secretary should use future opportunities to win back the lost USD 200 million from ICC that they deserve.advertisementDemonstrating how being brash rather than composed when instigated was his style, when asked by a reporter if he thought he had the right to attend the meet, Srinivasan replied, “More right than you have to attend any meet.”last_img read more

In 2 months 112 risky Android apps deleted from Google Play store: Check this list, remove them from phone

first_imgWhile the debate on whether Android is better or iOS may never end, it is true that Android is comparatively more vulnerable to bugs and malware than iOS, thanks to its open-source nature. Apple follows a more stringent vetting process for apps available on its App store to avoid malware while Google is lenient in its ways. This is the reason why mobile malware targets Android more than iOS.”While the majority of developers have their audience’s best interest at heart, some bad apps and malicious developers do attempt to evade detection and enter the Play Store to put people and their devices in harm’s way,” Google notes in one of its blog posts. According to the tech giant, the global reach of Google Play makes the platform an easy target for the malware attacks.The company says it is trying to make Play Store a safer place by adopting new machine learning models and techniques that identify bad apps and prevent developers from repeating such apps on the app store. Google in 2017 alone removed more than 700,000 apps for violating the Google Play policies. The year 2018 was no different. Hundreds of malware apps were brought to the notice of Google.We have sorted a list of all the bad apps that Google has deleted in the past two months. These apps are essentially adware or click fraud. They infect your device and cause damage to your phone like battery drainage or hanging of the system. Check out the list to ensure you are not using any of them.advertisementGoogle bad apps list November 2018– Truck Cargo Simulator– Extreme Car Driving Racing– City Traffic Moto Racing– Moto Cross Extreme Racing– Hyper Car Driving Simulator– Extreme Car Driving City– Firefighter – Fire Truck Simulator– Car Driving Simulator– Extreme Sport Car Driving– SUV 4×4 Driving Simulator– Luxury Car Parking– Luxury Cars SUV Traffic– SUV City Climb ParkingGoogle bad apps list December 2018– Sparkle FlashLight– Snake Attack– Math Solver– ShapeSorter– Tak A Trip– Magnifeye– Join Up– Zombie Killer– Space Rocket– Neon Pong– Just Flashlight– Table Soccer– Cliff Diver– Box Stack– Jelly Slice– AK Blackjack– Color Tiles– Animal Match– Roulette Mania– HexaFall– HexaBlocks– PairZapGoogle bad apps list January 2019– SPORT TV– Prado Parking Simulator 3D– TV WORLD– City Extremepolis 100– American Muscle Car– Idle Drift– Offroad Extreme– Remote Control– Moto Racing– TV Remote– A/C Remote– Bus Driver– Trump Stickers– Love Stickers– TV EN ESPAÑOL– Christmas Stickers– Parking Game– TV EN ESPAÑOL– TV IN SPANISH– Brasil TV– Nigeria TV– WORLD TV– Drift Car Racing Driving– BRASIL TV– Golden– TV IN ENGLISH– Racing in Car 3D Game– Mustang Monster Truck Stunts– TDT España– Brasil TV– Challenge Car Stunts Game– Prado Car– UK TV– POLSKA TV– Universal TV Remote– Bus Simulator Pro– Photo Editor Collage 1– Spanish TV– Kisses– Prado Parking City– SPORT TV– Pirate Story– Extreme Trucks– Canais de TV do Brasil– Prado Car 10– TV SPANISH– Canada TV Channels 1– Prado Parking– 3D Racing– TV– USA TV 50,000– GA Player– Real Drone Simulator– PORTUGAL TV– SPORT TV 1– SOUTH AFRICA TV– 3d Monster Truck– ITALIA TV– Vietnam TV– Movies Stickers– Police Chase– South Africa TV– Garage Door Remote– Racing Car 3D– TV– TV Colombia– Racing Car 3D Game– World Tv– FRANCE TV– Hearts– TV of the World– WORLD TV– ESPAÑA TV– TV IN ENGLISH– TV World Channel– Televisão do Brasil– CHILE TVlast_img read more