Guatemala: Counter-narcotics raids net weapons, cash, plane

first_img GUATEMALA CITY – Law enforcement agents confiscated a small jet, 150 assault rifles and about US$63,000 in cash during a series of counter-narcotics operations in the northern department of Alta Verapaz on Dec. 21, Donald González, a police spokesman, said. Agents also apprehended 10 suspected members of the Los Zetas, a Mexico-based drug cartel, since President Álvaro Colom ordered a 30-day state of siege in Alta Verapaz on Dec. 18 in an attempt to stop Los Zetas from terrorizing the population. Police discovered $300,000 quetzales (US$37,735) in cash inside a small plane impounded at the airport in Cobán, and an additional $200,000 quetzales ($25,157) during a search at a residence, González said. Interior Minister Carlos Menocal said the government’s goal in declaring the siege is “to restore governability, attack and dismantle the organized crime structures established in Alta Verapaz,” according to EFE. Defense Minister Abraham Valenzuela said the army is considering establishing a counter-narcotics base in the department. Colom ordered the seizure after investigators concluded Los Zetas had hired hitmen to “take control” of Alta Verapaz more than a year ago, Ronaldo Robles, Colom’s spokesman, said on Dec. 19, according to EFE. The government’s move suspends some constitutional rights and enables law enforcement officials to arrest “anyone suspected of conspiring against the state” without a warrant, according to a statement. By Dialogo December 22, 2010 Colombia: Police seize 202 kilograms of cocaine Honduras: Authorities find 500 kilograms of cocaine in plane BOGOTÁ, Colombia – Three members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), including a squad leader, were killed in a gunfight with the army in the department of Arauca, a military spokesman said. The FARC member who died was second-in-command of the FARC’s Julio Mario Tavera squad based in Arauca, which is on the Venezuelan border, according to the Colombian daily El Espectador. A female FARC member was injured in the firefight and was transported to a regional hospital near the city of Arauquita, where she was treated for non-life-threatening wounds. The army confiscated guns, bullets, communications equipment and documents after the fighting ceased, according to EFE. The FARC commander who died in the firefight was one of the FARC’s highest-ranking leaders since its chief, Jorge Briceño, who went by the alias “Mono Jojoy,” was killed during a bombing of a FARC camp in the department of Meta on Sept. 22. TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras – Honduran Police and U.S. counter-narcotics agents raided a plane containing 500 kilograms (1,102 pounds) of cocaine in the jungle along the border with Nicaragua, Oscar Álvarez, Honduras’ minister of security said. The plane landed last week on a hidden airstrip on the outskirts of Awas Bila, about 500 kilometers (310 miles) northeast of the nation’s capital. “We discovered it when several unknown men unloaded the drugs from the plane, and when they saw us they fled,” Álvarez said to the Guatemalan website El Periódico. No arrests were made, but Álvarez said agents seized a truck, fragmentation grenades and a chainsaw, according to the Venezuelan website El Tiempo. Honduran officials said more than 1,000 tons of cocaine pass annually through the Central American nation from Colombia en route to the United States. Colombia: 3 FARC rebels die in firefight Colom said his country does not have enough police or military personnel to extend operations into neighboring departments but wants to increase the army’s size from 17,000 to 21,000 troops in 2011, according to EFE. BOGOTÁ, Colombia – Police seized 202 kilograms (445 pounds) of cocaine found in two stolen cars traveling from the department of Valle del Cauca to the nation’s capital, officials said. The narcotic, which was expected to be shipped to Mexico, is suspected of belonging to a syndicate allegedly headed by Diego Pérez Henao, according to the Criminal Investigation Department. Pérez Henao, who goes by the alias “Diego Rastrojo,” is suspected of operating several narcotics laboratories in the Andean nation, according to the department. “The vehicles carrying false plates were stolen on November 13 in Bogotá,” the department said in a statement.last_img read more

Governor Wolf Announces New Funding for Five Projects to Promote Energy Efficiency, Support Farmers, and Spur Economic Development

first_imgBedford CountyBedford County Development Association was approved for a $100,000 grant through the Pipeline Investment Program (PIPE) to extend natural gas pipeline into the Bedford County Business Park II in Bedford Township. The approximately 1,500-foot extension will make the lots within the business park more attractive to prospective clients while also providing gas service to YRC Freight. The total project cost is $200,000.Bucks CountyCouncil Rock School District was approved for a $2 million grant through the Alternative and Clean Energy (ACE) program for renovation and more than 10,000 square feet of additional construction on the Rolling Hills Elementary School located in Northampton Township. These improvements will lead to a U.S. Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Gold certification. The planned energy saving features include geothermal heating and cooling, energy-efficient lighting, automated energy control systems, low-flow water-saving fixtures, occupancy-based temperature and lighting, a 128.8 kW solar photovoltaic array, and an improved thermal envelope. The project is anticipated to reduce energy consumption by more than 1 million kBtu annually, and the low-flow water fixtures will reduce water consumption by nearly 54,000 gallons annually. The total project cost is $22,468,100.Chester CountyNeal B. King and Mary Lou King were approved for a $332,500, 15-year loan at a 3.75 percent rate through the Chester County Economic Development Council for the acquisition of a 41.5-acre parcel of farmland located in West Fallowfield Township. The Kings currently lease the land to grow feed for their dairy herd. The funding, approved through the First Industries program, will assist with the total project cost of $738,000.Franklin CountyThe Borough of Chambersburg was approved for a $584,100 grant through the PIPE program to expand multiple natural gas pipelines through the borough into neighboring Greene Township to provide new natural gas services for existing and future development including the site of the future Summit Health Care campus. The new construction will also provide natural gas service to the current First Church of God, the 190 homes within the Grand Point Crossing housing development, and a vacant 200-acre tract of developable land. Additionally, the borough plans to provide gas service through smaller extensions from the current natural gas pipeline to a hotel parcel and residential developments including Franklin Square, Chancellor Drive, Beechwood Lane, and Menno Haven retirement campus. The total project cost is $1,168,200.Lancaster CountyElisa and Patrick Fleming were approved for a $400,000, 15-year loan at a 2.5 percent rate through EDC Finance Corporation for the acquisition of a 60-acre crop and beef farm located in Paradise Township. The farm is located within the Lancaster County Amish Country tourism market and includes a bed and breakfast that offers educational tours to the public. The fourth-generation family farm is being purchased from the parent of Elisa Fleming. In addition to the bed and breakfast, the farm raises 25-30 beef cattle sold in the farm’s retail store and in bulk to restaurants. It also grows corn, hay, and soybeans that are sold locally. The funding, approved through the First Industries program, will assist with the total project cost of $947,598.A full list of approved projects and guidelines for each CFA program can be found on the DCED website. For more information about DCED, visit dced.pa.gov. July 17, 2018 Economy,  Energy,  Environment,  Infrastructure,  Press Release Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today announced five new project approvals through the Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA), that will benefit Pennsylvania residents and businesses through promoting energy efficiency, providing farmers with crucial loan funding, and building out infrastructure to bring abundant energy to homes and commercial buildings.“To spur economic development in Pennsylvania, it is vital for us to support our small family farmers, develop of our natural gas energy infrastructure, and help promote the construction and renovation of high-efficiency buildings that lower energy costs and help our environment,” Governor Wolf said. “These five projects approved today support those goals and will help make Pennsylvania a better place to live and work.”The approved projects include grants to support the renovation and construction of a highly energy-efficient school building and the installation of pipelines that will bring Pennsylvania’s abundant natural gas energy resources to more than 190 residential and commercial customers, boosting economic development in the areas where the projects are located. Also, two low-interest loans were approved to small family farms that will enable the farmers to acquire land.The following five projects were approved: Governor Wolf Announces New Funding for Five Projects to Promote Energy Efficiency, Support Farmers, and Spur Economic Development SHARE Email Facebook Twitterlast_img read more

The Latest: Bologna says staff member may have virus

first_img May 27, 2020 ___The final Asian qualifying place for the women’s soccer tournament at the Tokyo Olympics is set to be decided in February.The Asian Football Confederation says the postponed two-leg series between China and South Korea will be played Feb. 19 and 24. No venues for the games were announced.The games were previously postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak. The 2020 Tokyo Olympics have been postponed for one year.The 12-team women’s tournament is scheduled to start in Japan ahead of the Olympic opening ceremony on July 23, 2021. Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditThe Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:___Bologna says a member of its staff may have coronavirus and if it is confirmed the entire squad will go into quarantine. The Latest: Bologna says staff member may have virus Premier League clubs have voted unanimously to resume contact training in the latest step toward restarting the soccer season amid the coronavirus pandemic.The league says players are now able to train as a group and “engage in tackling while minimizing any unnecessary close contact.”Play has been suspended in the world’s richest league since March 13.The league says “discussions are ongoing as work continues toward resuming the season.”Players returned to training last week and have been practicing in small groups with social distancing maintained. Associated Press ___More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports,Tampa Bay Lightning advance to face Dallas Stars in Stanley Cup finals, beating New York Islanders 2-1 in OT in Game 6 Bologna says the latest series of tests revealed “a suspected positive case for COVID-19.”The club says that as a precaution the team will train individually on Thursday.It would be the first positive case in Serie A since the teams started training in groups if it is confirmed.Serie A has been suspended since March 9 because of the coronavirus pandemic. The league is hoping to restart on June 13.___ The Spanish soccer federation says it will allow games to be played on Mondays and Fridays until the end of the season even though a judge has denied the Spanish league’s official request to play on those days.League president Javier Tebas has said he wants matches to be played every day but the federation had been against the idea.The federation says it “wants to clearly show its good will” and is also willing to extend the exception into the beginning of next season depending on how the pandemic progresses and if games will continue to be played without fans.The league says it will appeal the judge’s decision. It says it jeopardizes the soccer industry in Spain. The league was not able to schedule matches on Mondays before the competition was suspended in mid-March.___last_img read more

High-speed rail plan back on track for 700-mile route

first_img“I think people are sick and tired of long commutes, tired of not knowing whether their plane is going to come in on time, tired of the high cost of gas and airline tickets,” Ma said in a phone interview, shortly after riding on the record-breaking French train. “I think Californians are frustrated with all that. High-speed rail, to me, is the solution.” The California High-Speed Rail Authority is set to hold public meetings in Los Angeles this month on a proposed Southern California route that promises 27-minute rides between Union Station and Palmdale. And California voters next year could be asked to vote on a bond measure that would provide about $10billion to build a statewide high-speed rail system. Still, the plan faces significant challenges. SACRAMENTO – Supporters of a $40 billion high-speed rail line in California are revitalizing their decade-long battle for a 700-mile route that could help relieve the state’s jammed freeways. The plan for the transit corridor has languished for years, unable to overcome weak political support and strong criticism of its hefty pricetag. But last week’s record-breaking run by a French TGV train that hit 357mph has revived interest in the route that could whisk passengers between LosAngeles and San Francisco in less than three hours. “I think this is the future for California,” said Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, D-San Francisco, one of several state lawmakers who traveled to France to witness the speed record. “I think it’s a ridiculous boondoggle,” said Robert Poole, director of transportation studies at the Reason Foundation in Los Angeles. “The entire huge cost of building the system would be paid for by the taxpayers of California. That’s true of no other large-scale infrastructure. If we build another north-south highway, it would be paid for by gas tax and tolls. … It makes no sense to me whatsoever from the taxpayer or traveler standpoint.” Poole thinks the Rail Authority is being overly optimist in projecting ridership of 100million by 2030 and operating revenue of $1billion a year. Californians, he said, prefer driving their cars regardless of traffic, and airlines already offer quick north-south routes at a reasonable price. Slashing the budget Meanwhile, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed slashing the Rail Authority’s budget next year to just $1.2million – down more than $13million from this year’s level. Kicked off the ballot in 2004 because of the state’s shaky economy, funding for the train was bumped off again in 2006 when lawmakers instead pushed for billions of dollars in bonds to fund freeway improvements. Now, Schwarzenegger wants to postpone the ballot measure for a third time, instead proposing more borrowing for prisons, schools, courts and natural resources. Schwarzenegger spokeswoman Sabrina Lockhart said the state does not have the bonding capacity to include high-speed rail. The proposal has a history of stops and starts after an initial private effort in the early 1980s was abandoned for lack of funding. After riding high-speed rails overseas, former state Sen. Quentin Kopp in 1994 introduced a bill to establish a commission to study the state’s need for the supercharged rail system. That gave birth to the California High-Speed Rail Authority. The state agency has struggled for political support ever since. The current route plan would zip passengers between San Diego and Sacramento at speeds up to 220mph, with stops and extensions throughout the Inland Empire, Orange County, Los Angeles County, Central California and the Bay Area. Cheaper than planes In Los Angeles, stops would include Union Station, Sylmar, Burbank and Palmdale Airport. A trip from Union Station to San Francisco is estimated to cost about $70, about 70percent of the airfare, said Mehdi Morshed, executive director of the rail agency. Unlike conventional trains that run on diesel, high-speed trains run on electricity that’s continuously fed through overhead electrical lines and on specially built tracks. The state agency wants to run it off existing power grids. Trains could carry up to 800 passengers, and the agency is now homing in on where it wants to lay the tracks where an estimated 100 trains a day could run. Attendance was sparse at two recent public meetings for the rail system at the Glendale Public Library. With a tight budget, the state agency has little money for publicity so the few meeting attendees were mainly high-speed rail groupies. “I can’t wait for it to happen,” said 73-year-old Vic Scheffer, who has followed the rail line’s tribulations for the past four years. “Anything on wheels and rails, I’m excited about.” Some tout highways But critics contend the project is not a good investment for the state. Norm King, director of the Leonard Transportation Center at Cal State San Bernardino, said there is no assurance the system would draw private investors, averting the need for taxpayer subsidies. “If we want to transfer people who are now paying their own money to take a trip from L.A. to San Francisco to be heavily subsidized by the taxpayer, I guess it is a good thing,” King said. King said money would be better invested in highway projects because roads would create more congestion relief to residents than a high-speed rail could ever provide. Kopp said it’s a misconception to think that a high-speed rail would need subsidies. He said private money will come after investors see the reality of the project, which will arrive when voters approve a bond. He cited successful high-speed rails in Japan and France. “They are money-makers,” said Kopp, board chairman for the state agency. “They are run privately.” Pointing to China, Argentina, South Korea and Taiwan – countries where high-speed rails run or are being built – Kopp said America’s resistance to the innovative system is keeping it behind the times with transportation. State Sen. George Runner, R-Lancaster, whose district would include the potential line’s station in Palmdale, said the high-speed rail would boost economic development in the region, particularly the long-sought expansion of Palmdale Airport. But he also warns the current plan may be too expensive and ambitious. Runner said he would prefer to see shorter regional lines financed with bonds that are repaid with revenue from fares. “I’m certainly supportive of the concept and the issue of high-speed rail,” Runner said. “The hurdles we have before us right now are the expense, and I think we’re adrift in terms of what the strategy is.” Ultimately, whether the plan can surmount current challenges will depend on the economy during the next two years and whether opponents and competitors emerge, said Bob Stern, president of the Center for Governmental Studies, a Los Angeles-based nonpartisan research organization. “If there is no other competition, the economy is OK, and a lot of money is spent educating the voters, then I think it has a chance,” Stern said. harrison.sheppard @dailynews.com (916)446-6723 Public meetings The California High-Speed Rail Authority has scheduled public meetings on the high-speed rail proposal. The sessions all will be held 3to 5p.m. and 6to 8p.m.: Tuesday, Sylmar Recreation Center, 13109 Borden Ave. Thursday, Palmdale City Hall, 38300 N. Sierra Highway. April 17, Los Angeles River Center & Gardens (Atrium), 570W. Ave. 26, Los Angeles. For more information, go to www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more