By Marcos Ommati/Diálogo December 17, 2020 It doesn’t matter how many times you look at it: It’s always impressive to see 23,000 pounds of cocaine and nearly 8,800 pounds of marijuana. That’s the amount of drugs — with a street value of over $411 million, according to U.S. authorities — the crew of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter James offloaded on December 16, at Port Everglades, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.“This patrol highlights our crew’s continued commitment to protecting the American people from our adversaries,” said U.S. Coast Guard Captain Todd Vance, commanding officer of USCG James, during a press conference on the dock at Port Everglades. “Despite COVID, the James crew demonstrated supreme resilience, and the results of their exceptional performance are being showcased today.”Crew members of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter James offloaded approximately $411 million worth of drugs on December 16, 2020, at Port Everglades, Fort Lauderdale, Florida. (Photo: Steven McLoud/Diálogo)The drug busts were done with help from partner nations’ coast guards, including international crews from France, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. The drugs were interdicted in international waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean off the coasts of Mexico, Central and South America, including contraband seized and recovered during 20 interdictions of suspected drug smuggling vessels.“The [U.S.] Coast Guard’s strong international relationships, with key partners like the United Kingdom, France, and the Netherlands, along with our specialized capabilities and unmatched authorities, allow for a unity of effort to disrupt transnational criminal organizations, which threaten America and our partner nations,” asserted U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Karl Schultz.According to the U.S. Coast Guard Public Affairs Office, during at-sea interdictions, a suspicious vessel is initially detected and monitored by allied, military, or law enforcement personnel, coordinated by Joint Interagency Task Force South based in Key West, Florida. The law enforcement phase of counter-smuggling operations in the Eastern Pacific is conducted under the authority of the Coast Guard’s 11th District, headquartered in Alameda, California. The interdictions, including actual boardings, are led and conducted by members of the U.S. Coast Guard.“I am honored to be able to pay tribute to the successes of the team here today, and recognize the role the Royal Navy and U.K. National Crime Agency have played in this joint operation,” said Commodore Phil Nash, naval attaché at the United Kingdom Embassy in Washington. “Working seamlessly with U.S. and international colleagues, the presence of RFA [Royal Fleet Auxiliary] Argus has prevented the $54 million of drugs offloaded here from reaching the streets in the last few months; taken together with a wider effort this year by U.K. ships HMS Medway and RFA Mounts Bay, around $650 million of drugs have been stopped. This has been a genuine team effort — the key to success continues to be the close working relationship and collaboration between our nations.”Also at the event were Colonel Jarst de Jong and Captain Cédric Chetaille, naval attachés from the Netherlands and France respectively; Jean-Sébastien Conty, a political counselor of African and Western Hemisphere Affairs from the French Embassy in Washington; and Paul Jenkins, head of region for North America and the Caribbean at the National Crime Agency.
Riau Islands’ Batam COVID-10 task force declared HOG Eden Park church a new cluster in Batam on Sunday after 26 of its congregation members tested positive for the virus. According to the task force, 1-year-old twins were the latest among the 26 to test positive. The parents of the twins also tested positive for COVID-19. The task force head, HM Rudi, said there had been eight new cases in Batam as of Saturday. Of the eight cases, seven were related to the HOG Eden Park Church cluster. “The twins, Case 123 and Case 124, were among the eight new cases, and they allegedly contracted the virus from their parents,” Rudi said on Sunday as reported by kompas.com. The parents of the twins are Case 125, the 42-year-old father, and Case 126, the 43-year-old mother. Both babies are currently being treated at Elizabeth Hospital in Batam and they are reportedly in a stable condition. HOG Eden Park church was declared a new cluster after authorities conducted tracing of Case 49, who is a member of the church. Case 49 is in recovery. Meanwhile, the priest of the church is Case 82.Read also: COVID-19: Batam wants restrictions like Jakarta – but for three monthsAmong the churchgoers that tested positive for the virus are: a 30-year-old man identified as Case 111, a 37-year-old man identified as Case 112 and a 47-year-old man identified as Case 113. They all had close contact with Case 49 and Case 82.Case 114 and Case 115 are women aged 43 and 20, respectively, and are the daughters of case 113.Case 119 and Case 120 are husband and wife. Case 119 is the husband who works at the church.Batam’s Health Agency head Didi Kusmarjadi said the churchgoers gathered on April 26 to prepare for church online services.“Most probably, when they gathered in a meeting they did not follow health protocols, such as wearing face masks, physical distancing, maintaining hygiene and so forth,” Didi said as reported by tribunnews.com on Sunday.Prior to receiving swab test results, members of the HOG Eden Church are isolated at Tanjung Uncang Housing Complex in Batam. However, after receiving the results, those who are declared positive for the virus are to be isolated at Embung Fatimah Hospital in Batam.Read also: Galang COVID-19 hospital opens to step up fight against Indonesian epidemicWith the addition of HOG Eden Park church, Batam now has a total of five COVID-19 clusters. As of Saturday, Batam had recorded 128 cases of COVID-19 and 11 fatalities. Batam is the epicenter of the outbreak in the Riau Islands, which in total had recorded 195 cases and 15 fatalities as of Saturday. (trn)Topics :
Pune: Indian Super League (ISL) champions Bengaluru FC announced on Monday that its expansion of BFC Football Schools had reached Pune, in Maharashtra, where it will soon be functional in two new centres. The new programme, which will be in association with Sports Excel, will be for boys and girls between eight and fourteen years of age at Vidya Bhavan School in Model Colony, Shivajinagar, and for girls between eight and sixteen years of age at The Bishop’s Co-Education School, Undri. “We are delighted to tie up with Sports Excel because they are a brand that understands football coaching and professionalism. We saw a good turnout in Gujarat for our first BFC Schools centre outside Karnataka, and Pune was always on our radar. We want to give children in the golden age, the U8s, U10s and U12s, the opportunity to play football in a professional environment and a clear pathway to the Bengaluru FC youth academy. We’re looking to reach out to more schools within Pune, and hopefully also to other states in the future,” said club CEO Mandar Tamhane. IANSAlso Read: Bengaluru FC To Start Football School In Ahmedabad