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July 22, 2014
News Americas, SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, Weds. July 23, 2014: A man who U.S. authorities claim is a high-ranking drug supplier in the Caribbean, has been busted along with nine others in a multi-million-dollar drug trafficking ring in Puerto Rico.
Javier Carrillo and the other 9 co-accused are charged with generating some $127 million in revenue by trafficking Colombian cocaine from the Dutch Caribbean territory of St. Maarten by boat and plane for almost a decade.
The group is also accused of conspiring to transport more than $12 million in cash from Puerto Rico to St. Maarten.
Carrillo and nine of those accused are already in custody.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office also claim the suspects laundered $1.2 million through Puerto Rico’s lottery system with help from a person who would offer them winning lottery tickets before they were claimed.
Officials said some suspects are accused of claiming to have won the lottery more than 27 times.
July 21, 2014
News Americas, BROOKLYN, N.Y., Tues. July 22, 2014: Caribbean American New York Congresswoman, Yvette D. Clarke, has come out in full support of a full investigation of the death of Eric Garner, a resident of Staten Island who died last week when he was placed in a choke hold during an arrest.
Garner, a 43-year-old father of six, died when cops attempted to arrest him at Victory Boulevard and Bay Street in Staten Island on July 17th for allegedly selling untaxed cigarettes.
Police attributed his death to cardiac arrest. Video shot by bystanders showed an officer bringing him to the ground in an apparent chokehold, with Garner gasping “I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe!”
“On behalf of the people of the Ninth District of New York and myself, I wish to express my most sincere and heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Eric Garner,” said Congresswoman Clarke.
Clarke expressed concern that the practice and use of the ‘choke hold,’ essentially choking people as a means of executing an arrest has continued to occur, despite regulations that prohibit its use by the New York City Police Department.
The chokehold, a hold derived from the martial arts and intended to prevent normal breathing, has been prohibited by New York Police Department regulations since 1993, though the Civilian Complaint Review Board has received several hundred complaints about chokeholds in recent years. Eric Garner suffered from severe asthma.
“I urge Mayor Bill de Blasio and Commissioner William Bratton to pursue a full and thorough investigation into the death of Eric Garner while in the custody of the NYPD, both to secure justice for the family of Eric Garner and to prevent such incidents from ever occurring again in the future,” Clarke added.
Meanwhile, Daniel Pantaleo, the eight-year NYPD veteran, identified as the cop who dragged Garner to the ground, was stripped of his gun and shield and will work in a non-enforcement capacity until further notice. He had two civil rights lawsuits filed against him during his career, including one that ended up costing taxpayers $30,000.
Justin Damico, the four-year cop who was also at the scene has been placed on desk duty pending an investigation, but did not have his gun and badge taken away.
And the Fire Department has barred two paramedics and two emergency medical technicians who responded to an unconscious Garner. The four emergency service workers, all of whom are Richmond University Medical Center employees, have been placed on modified duty and will not be going on ambulance calls pending an investigation and review of their response, a source said. Their identities have not yet been released.
Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network is funding a funeral for Garner which is set for Wednesday, Jluy 23 from 6:45 p.m. at Bethel Baptist Church in Brooklyn.
July 21, 2014
News Americas, SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, Tues. July 22, 2014: Five people are under arrest and 3,500 pounds of marijuana seized aboard a Guyana-flagged cargo ship in the Caribbean Sea, south of Puerto Rico, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) officials said Monday.
The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Northland said they detected a suspicious 68-foot motor vessel transiting the Caribbean Sea with five crewmembers onboard.
At a news conference in the U.S. territory’s capital of San Juan Monday, U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Robert Warren said the vessel, An Nurl, was stopped last week some 200 miles southwest of southern Puerto Rico, near Cabo Rojo.
A boarding team found 3,591 pounds (1,630 kilograms) of ganja hidden on the cargo vessel, he said. The haul was estimated to have a value of $3.5 million.
The individuals on board – Michael Dacosta, Shawn A. Ally, Nolan E. Connelly, Ron D. Griffith and Owen K. Drakes – have been detained and will be charged for conspiracy to possess a controlled substance on board a vessel subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.
The Northland handed over the drugs and alleged smugglers to Customs and Border Protection and Federal Bureau of Investigation special agents.
Since October 2013, the Coast Guard has seized 17,591 kilograms of cocaine and 4,341 pounds of marijuana during 25 counter-drug interdictions under Operation Unified Resolve, in partnership with regional law enforcement authorities in the Caribbean. The wholesale value for these seizures is worth more than $444 million.
If convicted, Dacosta, Ally, Connelly, Griffith and Drakes could face a sentence of 10 years to life in prison.
Guyana media reports claim the ship was registered to a local businessman and apparently carried rice between the South American country and Jamaica.
“HSI will continue working with our CCSF partners to investigate and prosecute those who, in flagrant disregard of our laws and way of life, try to smuggle or transport illegal contraband into or outside our area of jurisdiction,” said Angel M. Melendez, special agent in charge of HSI San Juan. “This seizure demonstrates what can be accomplished when law enforcement agencies work together with vigilance and a commitment to enforce our nation’s customs laws.”
July 20, 2014
Dr. Riyad H. Mansour, Ambassador and Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations addresses the media outside the Security Council during an emergency meeting about the situation in the Middle East at United Nations headquarters in New York, New York, USA, 20 July 2014. (Photo; Jason Szenes)
Ron Prosor, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, addresses the media outside the Security Council during an emergency meeting about the situation in the Middle East at United Nations headquarters in New York, New York, USA, 20 July 2014. (Photo; Jason Szenes)
News Americas, UNITED NATIONS, NY, Sun. July 20, 2014: On a day when UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon arrived in the strife-torn Middle East, both ambassadors’ of Israel and Palestine addressed the Security Council following an emergency meeting about the situation in the Middle East at United Nations headquarters on July 20, 2014.
Dr. Riyad H. Mansour, Ambassador and Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations, told the General Assembly they “called for this emergency meeting of the Security Council due to the existential crisis being faced by the Palestinian people under Israeli occupation.”
“With every moment that passes, the life of another Palestinian child or mother or father is cruelly taken by the Israeli occupying forces in their murderous rampage of airstrikes and artillery bombardment against civilian areas and now a massive ground invasion in the Gaza Strip, threatening the safety and survival of the entire Palestinian civilian population,” hr said. “As we were driving to this meeting, four additional children were killed. There names are: Rizeq Al Hayek (age 2), Sarah Bustan (age 13), Imad Ilwan (age 7) Qasem Ilwan (age 10),” adding that in less than 24 hours, “this Israeli assault has killed more than 40 Palestinians, including many children.”
He urged the Security Council “to adopt a resolution that condemns the Israeli military aggression against the Palestinian civilian population in the Gaza Strip, calls for its immediate cessation, calls for the lifting of the Israeli blockade on Gaza Strip, and calls for protection of the Palestinian people since Israel, the occupying Power, has clearly forfeited its legal obligations to do so.”
Ron Prosor, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, for his part, played fifteen seconds of a siren for the General Assembly telling those gathered “that’s how much time you have to run for your life.”
“Imagine having only 15 seconds to find a bomb shelter. Now imagine doing it with small children or elderly parents or an ailing friend,” he said. ”As I speak, there is a storm of rockets being fired by the Hamas terrorist organization in Gaza. Hamas is intentionally and indiscriminately threatening the lives of three and a half million innocent men, women, and children in Israel from north to south – from Beersheba to Tel Aviv to Haifa. In the last three days, 442 rockets have been fired into Israel – that’s one every 10 minutes.”
For his part, he urged the Council to follow “only one responsible course of action” – “condemn Hamas. Condemn terrorism. Condemn the rocket fire. Call on President Abbas to dissolve the unity government and support Israel’s right to defend itself. It is the only way to achieve peace in our region.”
The first major ground battle in two weeks of Israel-Hamas fighting on Sunday killed at least 65 Palestinians and 13 Israeli soldiers and forced thousands of terrified Palestinian civilians to flee their neighborhoods.
U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon has called Israel’s latest incursion “atrocious,” and said it must do far more to protect civilians.
A draft resolution calls for the protection of civilians, the lifting of the “Israeli restrictions imposed on the movement of persons and goods into and out of the Gaza Strip” and immediate humanitarian assistance to civilians in Gaza. The draft also calls for “renewed and urgent efforts by the parties and the international community” toward peace.
July 20, 2014
News Americas, WASHINGTON, D.C., Mon. July 21, 2014: The founder of the Stanford Victims Coalition, a group of thousands of investors who lost millions in the fraud perpetuated by R. Allen Stanford and the Stanford Financial Group and Stanford International Bank on Antigua, have vowed to continue to fight despite an appeal court ruling that claims they are ineligible under U.S. federal law to file claims seeking compensation for their losses.
Angela Shaw Kogutt, the founder of the Stanford Victims Coalition, insists: “We will continue to pursue all options available to the victims.” She added that her group is also weighing legal action against The Securities Investor Protection Corp. (SIPC), which insures U.S. brokerage accounts but has refused to pay Stanford victims even as qualified Bernie Madoff victims were deemed eligible for SIPC’s maximum coverage of $500,000 per account.
Kogutt also said the SVC will continue to pressure the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, to continue fighting. THE LAWSUIT The SEC sued the SIPC in 2012 on behalf of the Stanford investors, arguing they also were entitled to coverage, as Stanford’s U.S. brokerage was an SIPC member. But SIPC says its insurance covers only securities, and even if the Stanford CDs are considered securities, they are worthless.
JULY 18, 2014 RULING
Judge Sri Srinivasan on Friday sided with the SIPC. “In declining to grant the SEC’s requested relief, the district court expressed that it was ‘truly sympathetic to the plight’ of the victims,” Judge Srinivasan wrote in the unanimous opinion. “We fully agree. But we also agree with the district court’s conclusion….”
SEC/SPIC SEC spokesman John Nester said the agency was reviewing the decision. The SEC has 45 days to decide whether to appeal it, either by seeking a re-hearing before the appeals court or by filing a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court. The case marks the first time that the SEC, which oversees the SIPC, has filed a lawsuit against the non-profit corporation to try and force it to start a court liquidation proceeding. But the SIPC has said these investors did not qualify as “customers” under the law since the Stanford’s Texas-based brokerage Stanford Bank was an offshore bank. In a statement, SIPC President Stephen Harbeck said he appreciated “the considerable time” the court devoted to the case, and said SIPC has the “deepest sympathy” for the victims.
The SIPC, created by Congress, administers an industry-backed fund that is used to help compensate investors if their brokerage collapses.
Louisiana Republican Senator David Vitter, meanwhile, said Friday he will urge the SEC to appeal, and called again on President Barack Obama to nominate fresh faces to serve on the SIPC board. “The previous chairs of the board were only interested in protecting Wall Street,” Vitters told the Times-Picayune.
Some 28,000 investors—10 times the number of direct investors in the Madoff case—bought certificates of deposit from Stanford International Bank in Antigua, which was owned by Texas financier R. Allen Stanford. He lured investors with promises of significantly higher interest payments than provided by U.S. banks and financial companies. Several U.S. lawmakers were among those who had received donations from Stanford including Sen. John Cornyn, Texas Republican, U.S.V.I. Congressional Delegate Donna M. Christensen, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and former Rep and current Chicago mayor, Rahm Emanuel. Stanford was convicted of fraud and sentenced in June 2012 to 110 years in prison for bilking investors with fraudulent certificates of deposit issued by Stanford International Bank, his bank in Antigua. He is currently in federal prison.
July 20, 2014
Hard Beat’s Felicia J. Persaud, at podium, moderating the ‘Women in Business and Social Responsibility’ panel during the Empowering Women through Design 2014 symposium at the UN on July 18, 2014.
News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Mon. July 21, 2014: Just weeks after enduring a major surgery, Hard Beat Communications executive, Felicia J. Persaud, was at the UN on Nelson Mandela International Day to help put the spotlight on Women and Social Responsibility.
Hosted by the China Women’s Development Foundation (CWDF), the United Nations Office for Partnerships (UNOP), the Sino American Friendship Association (SAFA) and the Sino American Culture and Arts Foundation (SACAF), the symposium was held at the United Nations’ Headquarters on Friday, July 18, 2014 under the theme, ‘Empowering Women through Design.’
The ‘Women In Business And Social Responsibility’ panel was moderated by Persaud who stressed that it is indeed sad that “women still earn only 77 cents for every dollar that men earned in the United States.” She also cited a study conducted by researchers at Catalyst and Harvard Business School that suggested that “what’s good for women is good for business and also for society as a whole.”
Panelists discussing the issue included Roberta Annan, Founder of Frallain Inc. and CEO and Founder of Roberta Annan Consulting LLC (RAC), Cindy Ye, President of ANL Express, Ning Lu, Design Principal of Lu Ning Architecture PLLC and Tilsa Wright, author and publisher of SYM online magazine.
The symposium was attended by a global list of delegates including Zhang, MeiFang, Deputy Consul General of the General Consulate of the People’s Republic of China in NY; Yao, ShaoJun, Chief of the Social Affairs Section of the Permanent Mission of China to UN; Stewart J. Greenleaf, Sate Senator of Pennsylvania; Peter Zhang, President of Sino-American Friendship Association and Li, Li, President of Sino-American Culture and Arts Foundation and was followed by a charity dinner supported by Tiffany & Co., China Daily and ANL Express, which aimed to raise US $1 million at an auction to benefit the “Water Cellar for Mothers Project,” which supports poverty stricken women and families in rural areas with chronic water shortages in both China and Kenya and the “Talented Youth in Design” of New York.
Hard Beat Communications, Inc. is an award-winning, certified SBE/M/WBE global communications consultancy based in New York City. Hard Beat, founded in 2004, owns the brands CaribPR Wire, the PR newswire of the Caribbean and distribution partner of the PR Newswire; Caribbean and Latin America news service, News Americas; and Invest Caribbean Now. The company offers offering a myriad of services to clients including: • Global PR Wire Dissemination Service and Marketing Campaigns • Trade missions to the Caribbean and China • Content Creation and media training • App and website creation, development, marketing and hosting. • Conference/Event Management Services • Photographic Services – event, ground construction, aerial • Videography including Lapse time video • Promotional/Corporate Goods • Ad buys and ad planning with specialty in US ethnic media campaigns as well as the Caribbean and Latin America. For more log on to hardbeatcommunications.com.
July 19, 2014
Members of the Security Council at a Meeting on the Situation in the Middle East on July 18, 2014 at UN Headquarters in NYC.
News Americas, UNITED NATIONS, NY, Sun. July 20, 2014: United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is set to arrive in the Middle East today amid an escalation of violence in the Gaza Strip.
Ban Ki-moon is set to express solidarity with Israelis and Palestinians, and to help bolster regional and international efforts for a solution.
In a statement issued by his spokesperson, the Secretary-General called for an immediate end to the “indiscriminate firing of rockets by Hamas into Israel and Israeli retaliatory action.”
He asked the parties to do their utmost to protect civilians and UN premises and staff, and to ensure that humanitarian assistance continues to reach all those in need.
Since July 8th, when hostilities intensified, two Israelis were killed, including one civilian, and at least 365 civilians were injured.
Meanwhile, some 250 Palestinians, the majority of them civilians, have been killed, and more than 1,900 civilians were injured in strikes from land, air and sea.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in Cairo, and both reportedly agreed to the necessity of an immediate ceasefire and the urgency of holding a donors conference to start rebuilding the Gaza Strip, Mr. Feltman said.
Ban is currently reviewing a request by Abbas which would place Palestine under an international protection system administered by the UN.
Briefing the Security Council on the latest developments on Friday, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman said the Secretary-General is “prepared to do his part” to help the parties end the violence and find a way forward.
While Israel has legitimate security concerns, the United Nations “is alarmed by Israel’s heavy response,” said Feltman. He said over a five-day period, the Israel Defense Force (IDF) has so far conducted four ground incursions into Gaza and some 90 airstrikes, firing 91 missiles, as well as more than 500 shells.
Palestinians, meanwhile, have fired some 127 rockets and 29 mortar shells at Israel, during the same period.
“The Secretary-General is extremely concerned that this escalation will further increase the already appalling death toll among Gazan civilians,” Feltman said.
The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) said today that over 47,000 displaced Gazans have taken refuge in its facilities. The overall number of displaced people inside Gaza is likely to be far higher as many people will have taken sanctuary with family and friends.
July 19, 2014
Rev-Jesse Jackson UN, Secretary General -Ban-Ki-moon and NYC Parks-Commissioner Mitchell Silver at the UN tree plating on July 18, 2014.
Rev Jesse Jackson & UN Secretary General Ban Ki moon at the tree planting ceremony on July 18, 2014.
News Americas, UNITED NATIONS, NY, Fri. July 18,
2014: The United Nations on Nelson Mandela International Day, July 18, 2014, pledged to promote “desperately needed” acts of kindness and goodwill and uplift poor and underdeveloped communities worldwide.
“For the past five years, we have come together to celebrate the life and spirit of a unique individual who touched the entire world – Nelson Mandela – the Madiba,” General Assembly President John Ashe said during a special event at UN Headquarters.
“This year, for the first time, we celebrate his birthday without him. But while our hearts hang heavy with loss, we have his indelible memory and his important legacy to carry forward.”
In 2009, the Assembly declared July 18th “Nelson Mandela International Day” in recognition of the former South African President’s contribution to the culture of peace and freedom.
Friday was the first observance since Mandela’s passing last December.
Ban remembered Mandela’s personal connection to the earth as a gardener. Even in jail, he gained the right to plant a garden on the roof of the prison.
In tribute to that, Ban joined volunteers from MillionTreesNYC and UN staff to tend to dozens of newly planted trees near UN Headquarters and in the community of East Harlem.
Also participating in Friday’s event were Reverend Jesse Jackson, former New York City Mayor David Dinkins, and Nelson Mandela’s grandson, Kweku Mandela.
July 17, 2014
News Americas, MIAMI, FL, Fri. July 18, 2014: Despite his pleas, a Miami judge yesterday ruled that a U.S. national who surrendered to federal authorities last November after some 30 years on the lam for hijacking a U.S. jetliner to Cuba must serve time in a U.S. jail.
William Potts Jr., a self-described black militant, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for hijacking the New York-to-Miami flight to Havana in 1984.
The sentencing was imposed by U.S. District Judge Michael Moore even though Potts, 57, pleaded: “If you just give me a chance, judge, I’ll do you proud. I’m begging you, please, let me go back to my children.”
Potts has already served 13 years in a Cuban prison and spent 16 years raising a family on the island . Last November he surrendered to U.S. federal authorities saying he wanted to be reunited with his daughters, now living in the United States.
Still it is unlikely the former New Jersey resident will have to serve the full term as Judge Moore sided with the prosecution’s recommended sentence, which would allow Potts to seek parole in about seven years.
July 17, 2014
News Americas, GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Thurs. July 17, 2014: ‘Pirates of the Caribbean,’ the movie, seems to be playing out live off the seas of Guyana. Modern day pirates are being blamed as four Guyanese fishermen have disappeared from their boat off the seas near the coasts of the South American nation and its neighbor, Suriname.
The country’s Agriculture Minister Leslie Ramsammy said the attack reportedly occurred off the coast of neighboring Suriname.
The fishing boat’s captain claims he jumped into the Atlantic Ocean as the vessel was being boarded by machete-wielding bandits who then attacked his four crewmates and apparently dumped their bodies overboard.
The blood-spattered boat was recently found drifting at sea near De Hoop, Mahaica but the bodies of the four men – Andrew, of Lusignan, Dinesh also known as Monkey Brain, of Uitvlugt, Raymond Gomes, 37, and Chandrapaul Jallim, 19, both of Recht-door-zee, West Bank Demerara – have yet to be recovered.
Ramsammy is calling for greater cooperation between Guyana and Suriname in combating piracy.
Guyana’s fishermen have complained for years about pirates who seize catches and equipment and sometimes their boats. The pirates play hide and seek with the occasional coast guard patrols but they largely have free rein on the seas and there are sometimes deadly consequences.