Thunder From Under Thu, 21 Oct 2021 15:03:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Thunder From Under 32 32 Venezuela’s most dangerous gang, Tren de Aragua, spotted in Chile Thu, 21 Oct 2021 14:15:31 +0000

Chilean authorities are on high alert over reports that the Venezuelan gang Tren de Aragua is involved in smuggling migrants into the country – further evidence of the group’s regional expansion.

Chilean prosecutors have opened at least four investigations involving reports that members of Tren de Aragua are involved in the illegal transport of migrants from Bolivia to the country’s capital, Santiago, according to local Chilean media.

At least nine or 10 gang members have been arrested for helping up to 3,600 migrants enter Chile, Mega Noticias reported on October 15, citing an investigation by prosecutors in the north-central region of Chile.

Another prosecutor’s office in the northern region of Tarapacá, along the border with Bolivia, is said to be investigating three other cases of migrant smuggling involving the gang.

SEE ALSO: Chile News and Profile

According to Carolina Suazo, a prosecutor at the Attorney General’s office in northern Chile, witnesses spoke of the involvement of Tren de Aragua in move migrants under risky conditions along remote trails across the border.

The first reports from Tren de Aragua members in Chile date back to March 2021, when a group of 21 migrants said they were attacked by armed Venezuelan men after refusing to pay to cross the border, La Tercera reported.

Since then, Chilean police have found other cases of migrants shot dead by suspected members of Tren de Aragua over payment disputes.

InSight Crime Analysis

Tren de Aragua gradually spread throughout South America, often following the routes of migrant smuggling. Venezuela’s first “megabanda” or major criminal network, InSight Crime named the group its “criminal winner” in 2020 due to its pattern of criminal migration to Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and Brazil.

It now appears that Chile and Bolivia can be added to this list of countries in which the group is present.

Tren de Aragua has grown considerably since its beginnings in the Venezuelan state of Aragua, where it became involved in drug and arms trafficking and vehicle theft. In 2021, the group’s presence was confirmed along distant trails dividing Venezuela and Colombia, where it challenged control of lucrative criminal economies like migrant smuggling. This brought him into conflict with Colombia’s largest rebel group, the National Liberation Army (Ejército de Liberación Nacional – ELN), arguably the most powerful criminal actor in the region.

That he has to fight an opponent of this size is proof of Tren de Aragua’s resistance.

SEE ALSO: Profile of Tren de Aragua

Colombian and Ecuadorian officials also reported that the gang was active at border crossings between the two South American countries.

If correct, Tren de Aragua’s presence in Chile would represent a significant expansion of the gang’s operations, converting it from a transnational gang with strong ties to Venezuela into a true regional threat.

If Tren de Aragua established a permanent presence in Chile and Bolivia, it would be well placed to expand into other important cross-border economies, particularly drug trafficking and smuggling.

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Jerry Hopkins: community conversation | Opinion Thu, 21 Oct 2021 08:00:00 +0000

Our founders set up a simple government with three branches – an executive, a legislature and a judiciary that operate through a system of “checks and balances” to prevent any individual, group or branch from dominating the whole. Insane changes have been patiently and aggressively forced upon the nation and nothing has been said about them in the national media so as not to alarm the masses of the “Tea Party” who may encourage any “community conversation”.

Such “public discourse” is of crucial importance and should be encouraged by any reasonable media or political group. Such disagreement was effectively suppressed in Germany and other countries in the 20th century, leading to Hitler’s atrocities, Stalin’s excesses, and the tragedies of other dictators and mass murderers. Our founders recognized the dangers of these kinds of situations. We must learn the relationship between “public discourse” and the functioning of our government according to the wise rules of the Constitution. Not only do we have the assurance of a “community conversation”, but we also have the right to vote, if this is not suppressed by “martial law” or by political cheating. Dr. Larry Arnn, president of Hillsdale College in Michigan, wrote in his book The Founders’ Key: “James Madison particularly believed in the power of public discourse to improve the nation and the public. It stems from the belief that thinking before you act is a hallmark of human excellence. It is therefore an advantage that the sovereign people of our country have a lot of time to talk and a lot less opportunity to act. This is a good situation to place whoever has final authority. And while people are speaking, their representatives will remain in office until the next vote. And they will only be driven out if a sufficient number of citizens wish. “

So we have “limited government” in theory and ideally, as well as the ability to talk among ourselves, to have a “community conversation” about what we should believe and act. This is what I have underlined in these columns. We must unite to limit what the government and the leaders are trying to do. Indeed, we should reverse things like Obamacare. Arnn and others have also exposed the “fourth” branch of government that does not respond to the people. It is part of the government that we must understand and dismantle. Bureaucracy, the machine that runs government, was created to “serve” the people. This bureaucracy sets the rules, regulations and “laws” that dictate what people have to do and pay for. The most heinous of these bureaucracies was created by the Affordable Care Act to manage and ration health care.

So we should have a “limited government”, but in reality our government has become a vast bureaucracy that we have allowed to grow around us as an omnipresent and all-powerful “big brother”. A fourth branch has appeared, delimiting our government. Not only should we have “limited government”, but we should also be able to talk to each other, to have a “community conversation” about what we need to believe and act. This is what I have highlighted in these columns, what I specifically called “a community conversation”. Even that has become unacceptable to the government bureaucracy that runs things. We need to challenge the mass media and the drunken power bureaucrats in Washington and Austin to talk about what’s wrong and wrong. Our leaders have betrayed us in taxes, debts and expenses. Now is the time for us to act to reverse what politicians and government leaders impose on us. We must work together to limit what the government and the leadership are trying to do. Indeed, we must reverse what they did. Our conversation should be about the FACTS! Yes, there are serious issues with what our Democratic leaders have called “Social Security,” “Medicare,” the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” the Environmental Protection Agency. or a number of other federal bureaucracies.

It has become evident that many of our representatives, senators, judges or other members of the government do not respect our founding documents and intentionally defy the will of the people. These political leaders must be removed from their posts; this includes judges, as well as senators and representatives, and even the president or other sitting officer.

As the government grows and develops it becomes a creeping nightmare of rules, regulations and costs. It is anything but affordable and no protection is provided for ordinary citizens. It is the imposition of government control, management and madness on many areas of our lives, individual and corporate. The government cannot do a good job in education, the environment, health care, farm care or “social security”. He is too far from the people who need help. This is exactly why we need to reverse what has been happening since World War II – the federal bureaucracy. We need to start reducing government, limiting its reach and power.

Another book that describes how we came to this tragic state in America is Judge Andrew P. Napolitano’s Theodore and Woodrow: How Two US Presidents Destroyed Constitutional Freedom (One Republican, One Democrat). Dr. Larry Arnn emphatically emphasizes the judge’s point in his book, recommending: “We cannot soon have a government that operates entirely within the confines of the Constitution. This will take several years of restoration and recovery work. This will lead to the growth of civil institutions that match and surpass those built at the start of America. These must involve the entire citizen body in the management of government and society. It will require that we resume the hard work of bringing together, as much as humanly possible, the principles of our land, which are so high that they “never can. [be] perfectly achieved. It will require a different kind of community organization. It will require that we abandon bureaucracy and centralized administration as a form of rule. The Founders believed that it was not mainly by dictating means but by sharing ends that free men cooperated.

Our “community conversations” should result in a common agreement and commitment to act in a reasonable and appropriate manner to strengthen and sustain our country. As citizens, we must be patriots and active as voters. I would ask again, like I did before, don’t you think we need “tea”? We should all adopt the same basic and fundamental principles regarding our government and our political process. What do you think of what is going on and the direction our country has taken in recent times?

– You can send your thoughts to, or by post to Dr Jerry Hopkins, PO Box 1363, Marshall, Texas 75671. Dr Jerry Hopkins is a retired historian and professor.

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RED ZONE FILES: Search options – Journal Thu, 21 Oct 2021 02:06:02 +0000

There are no options, the PTI official said. There are always options. When there is none, we find them; and when they are not found, they are created. In recent days, Islamabad has been in the grip of “options” fever as the angry government spits political blood. In every meeting, at every meeting and at every private dinner, there is a speech, and a single speech: what are the options?

Dawn has explored the red zone deeply, spoken to people from all political backgrounds, and polled obscure figures for a list of all possible options. Well, based on all of those conversations, here they are.

OPTION 1: The PTI government completes its five-year term. This option is based on maintaining the status quo with regard to the current parliamentary arrangement as well as the absence of major internal or external upheavals. In other words, this option assumes that the PTI has overcome the controversy surrounding the appointment of the ISI Director General by asserting the constitutional powers enjoyed by the Prime Minister. However, the situation is not as sanitary as many party members would like to assume.

In the current scenario, Option 1 would be equivalent to the following: (a) Prime Minister Imran Khan will notify the new ISI CEO and the impasse on the appointment will end; (b) But the split between the PTI and the establishment is unlikely to heal; (c) the new ISI CEO will take over the overhang of this tension and will not have to go the “extra mile” for the PTI government; (d) this “slight setback” will result in problems for the government whose solutions were generally “outsourced”, including basic political management of members as well as legislative matters, and sometimes even ensuring a quorum; (f) the establishment – ravaged by controversy – will reconsider its priorities ahead of the next general election and whether that means a preference for a level playing field – relatively speaking, of course – PTI will be at a distinct disadvantage; (e) At best, the PTI is making its way to the general election and will be a weakened version of the party that, until early this month, boasted of another five-year term.

OPTION 2: An internal change with PTI remaining in government. This option is based on a decision that the status quo cannot be maintained. It also recognizes that “less is more” in the sense that the minimum number of cards in the deck must be shuffled to achieve the desired result. This would translate into intensive behind-the-scenes influence peddling – similar to that which took place before the 2018 election – to reduce Treasury figures to a manageable number. It would also be a delicate engagement with the opposition benches in order to forge an agreement that would allow them to cooperate. The opposition will obviously ask, “What’s in it for us?” The answer should be clear and categorical. Once done, the following things can happen:

(a) The opposition files a motion of censure against the Prime Minister under article 95 of the Constitution. Article 95 (4) says: “If the resolution (…) is adopted by a majority of the members of the National Assembly, the Prime Minister ceases to exercise his functions. (b) The house will have to elect a new leader and a member of the ruling PTI will be appointed by the party. (c) In accordance with the prior arrangements, he will be elected because those in the ruling coalition and the party that voted against the Prime Minister would now vote in favor of the new candidate. (d) The PTI will continue to lead the coalition but with a new Prime Minister. (e) This can only happen with the understanding and cooperation of the opposition. (f) The general election will be held on time in 2023.

OPTION 3: An internal change with PTI pushed into the opposition. This option is an advanced version of option 2 and will come into play if there is some resistance from the PTI on this option. Exercising this option would mean, like the previous option, weaning the coalition partners and the desired number of party members and involving them in a new coalition. This option would also require an advanced level of negotiations aimed at appointing the new leader of the chamber from the current opposition as well as guarantees for the conduct of legislative elections. Option 3 is a time consuming option as it has several moving parts that need to interlock in order to move smoothly like a well oiled wheel. Once the required preparation and homework is completed, Option 3 can be done as follows:

a) A new majority coalition is assembled, resulting in a change of coalition partners and disgruntled PTI members; (b) the PML-N cannot join the coalition as a partner in government but votes in favor for the vote of confidence; (c) the new coalition could revolve around the PPP as a larger party, with smaller coalition members as well as dissident PTI factions; (d) elections are held on time in 2023.

OPTION 4: PM calls for early elections. Sensing the creeping possibility of options 1, 2 and 3, the Prime Minister decides to exercise his own option of dissolving the National Assembly and opting for early elections. The Prime Minister knows that this may not be the best time to get a new term given the problems facing the electorate. Planning Minister Asad Umar said inflation would not slow down until at least the middle of next year. The Prime Minister would also know that choosing that option at that point would mean his hand was forced. However, he can calculate that given the other options, this one may be the least bad. However, here are some possible by-products of this option: (a) the PTI will face a hostile electorate due to difficult economic conditions and soaring inflation; (b) PTI can also face desertions in the ranks with elected officials sniffing the wind; (c) the establishment’s retreat will empower its opponents and deprive the PTI of some of the oxygen it inhaled while breathing deeply during the 2018 elections.

OPTION 5: Not an option at this time.

In the hard power game, perception has already started to shape reality in weird and capricious ways. Inside the red zone, the official smirk, yes, let’s go; and the swagger, yes that too. The faithful of the PTI party, imbued with the passion for their original ideals, remain as innocently optimistic as they were in 2013. games – they know there is a sudden chill in the air, and it doesn’t can not be good. The drooping of those shoulders and the grimace of that expression, it all tells a story they’ve heard so often. Things change. But not that much.

So options? There are always options.

Posted in Dawn, le 21 October 2021

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RBZ closes Forex platform to stem currency decline Wed, 20 Oct 2021 14:01:48 +0000


ZIMBABWEAN authorities shut down a popular black market currency tracking platform, the latest move to try and stop an accelerating decline in its currency.

The central bank has ordered the shutdown of and other sites that publish the parallel market exchange rate, Governor John Mangudya said in a telephone interview on Tuesday.

The website has been used by residents and businesses to guide their currency purchases on the streets of the capital, Harare, which they are forced to resort to when the central bank’s weekly auctions fail to deliver enough to meet demand. .

Zimbabwe is following Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, in accusing online platforms of fueling the collapse of their currencies.

Nigerian authorities last month targeted abokiFX, a platform that tracks the unofficial naira exchange rate, after central bank governor Godwin Emefiele accused the company of manipulating the exchange rate. abokiFX denies any wrongdoing.

“It’s cybercrime,” Mangudya said. “How is the rate determined on the computer?” It’s based on nothing but hot air. was unavailable Wednesday morning, with a notice saying “Sorry, this website is no longer up and running.”

The Zimbabwean dollar weakened 3.2% on Tuesday to 93 per dollar – the biggest drop in 14 months. It has plunged to around 175 to the dollar in the parallel market in recent weeks.

The instability in the forex market is due to relentless money supply growth, increased imports and long settlement times at weekly central bank auctions, the Chamber of Industries of the United States said last week. Zimbabwe.

To stop the currency’s decline, authorities have taken steps including arresting black market traders and launching an investigation into a currency abuse complaint against Simbisa Brands, the largest fast food giant. from the country.

Companies that set their prices using unofficial market rates have been threatened with having their business licenses revoked.

600 kg of smuggled sea cucumber worth $ 4 million seized on the south coast of Tamil Nadu in India, India News News Wed, 20 Oct 2021 08:48:24 +0000

An Indian Coast Guard (ICG) team in the southern state of Tamil Nadu seized 600 kilograms of sea cucumber from a small boat involved in smuggling.

The market value of the seized sea cucumbers is said to be around Rs 30 million (around $ 400,000).

Based on information, the ICG team located the suspicious vessel in Mandapam, Ramanathapuram district, and sealed off the route to block their escape.

Subsequently, the boat was found anchored off the coast of Uchhipalli in Ramanathapuram on Tuesday afternoon.

Coast Guard teams then searched the vessel and recovered 31 jute sacks of sea cucumbers weighing 600 kg. The boat, along with the seized sea cucumbers, were then taken to Mandapam and handed over to forest department officials.

Sea cucumbers are an important constituent of the marine ecosystem as they play a key role in maintaining the health of the ecosystem.

By excreting inorganic nitrogen and phosphorus, sea cucumbers improve the productivity of bottom-dwelling animals, those that live on the ocean floor.

One of the byproducts of sea cucumber digestion of sand is calcium carbonate, a key component of the coral reef. To survive, coral reefs must accumulate calcium carbonate, and therefore sea cucumbers play a vital role in their preservation.

Sea cucumbers also maintain the transparency of seawater by eating wastewater. The diet and excretion of sea cucumbers also increases alkalinity, which counteracts ocean acidification.

Illegal harvesting and overexploitation of these animals results in degradation of sediment health, reduced nutrient recycling and impact on biodiversity.

In India, sea cucumber is treated as an endangered species and is listed in Schedule 1 of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972.

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Biden Focuses on Climate and Families in $ 2,000 Plan | Washington, DC News Wed, 20 Oct 2021 02:03:00 +0000


WASHINGTON (AP) – Scaling back his ‘build back better’ plans, President Joe Biden on Tuesday described a more limited vision to Democratic lawmakers of a $ 2 trillion government overhaul program with at least $ 500 billion to fight against climate change and money for the environment. class priorities – child tax credits, paid family leave, health care and free preschool.

And he expects negotiations to end as early as this week.

The president met privately until the evening with nearly 20 centrist and progressive lawmakers in separate groups as Democrats appeared ready to drop what had been a larger package of $ 3.5 trillion for a smaller proposal and more achievable that can unite the party and gain passage in the very divided Congress.

Likely to be eliminated or seriously curtailed: plans for tuition-free community colleges, a path to legal status for immigrants who find themselves in the United States without papers, and a specific clean energy plan that was the piece master of Biden’s strategy to tackle climate change.

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Details were shared by those familiar with the conversation and granted anonymity to discuss the private meetings.

Biden felt “more confident” after the day of the meetings, press secretary Jen Psaki said. “There was broad agreement that there is an urgent need to move forward over the next few days and that the window to finalize a package is closing,” she said. .

After months of turmoil, Democrats are increasingly worried about having little to show voters despite their campaign promises. Biden’s ideas must all be funded by tax hikes on the wealthiest businesses and individuals, those who earn more than $ 400,000 a year.

The president is particularly keen to advance his national signing program to strengthen federal social services and tackle climate change ahead of his departure for a world climate summit next week.

Representative Ro Khanna, D-Calif., A member of the Progressive Caucus, said Biden had urged lawmakers to “do something now” to show US leadership on climate change on the world stage.

“He really believes in American leadership, American prestige is at stake,” Khanna said.

A key part of Biden’s proposals, Conservative West Virginia Coal State Senator Joe Manchin, has made it clear that he opposes the president’s original clean energy performance plan, which would oblige the government to impose penalties on electric utilities that fail to meet clean energy standards and offer financial rewards to those that do, in line with Biden’s goal of achieving 80% “clean electricity” d ‘by 2030.

Instead, Biden focused in his Tuesday meetings on providing at least $ 500 billion in tax credits, grants and loans to fight climate change, much of it coming from probably from a package compiled by Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore., the chairman of the finance committee. These include tax breaks for energy producers who meet emission reduction targets.

This clean energy approach may better align with Manchin’s stated goal of maintaining a “fuel neutral” approach to federal policy that does not favor renewable energy sources over coal and natural gas. who are dominant in his state.

Other climate change proposals being considered are a tax on carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels such as petroleum and coal or a levy on methane emissions – although Manchin told reporters earlier back in the day that a carbon tax was not in the mix.

Failure to act on climate change would have far-reaching consequences in the United States and abroad. Inaction, supporters of the Big Effort say, could cost the United States billions of dollars in weather disasters and threaten to uproot millions of Americans in hurricanes, wildfires, droughts and floods.

Representative Mark Pocan, D-Wis., Another member of the progressive caucus, called Manchin’s opposition on climate issues “one of the biggest challenges” threatening to stop a final bill.

On other fronts, Biden and the Democrats seemed more easily to unite around a lean package.

Biden wants to extend the $ 300 monthly child tax credit that was put in place during the COVID-19 crisis by one year, rather than letting it expire in December.

The policy has been hailed for sending money to families most in need. Democrats want to extend the credit for additional years, but limiting the length would help keep costs down. It must now be removed for single-parent households earning more than $ 75,000 a year, or $ 150,000 for couples, but those income thresholds could be lowered to meet the demands of Manchins and more conservative Democrats.

What had been envisioned as a federal paid family leave program lasting several months could be reduced to just four weeks.

Biden also wants to secure funding for health care programs, including new funds for home and community health care services, supporting the move away from widespread nursing home care.

And a new program to provide dental, vision and hearing benefits to elderly people on Medicare proposed by Senator Bernie Sanders, the Vermont Independent, should somehow stay, said Khanna, a Sanders’ longtime ally.

New grants are still expected to be included in the package to help families pay for child care as well as increased grants put in place during the pandemic for people buying their own health insurance.

Biden told lawmakers that after his top priorities there would be $ 300 billion left, which some say could be used for issues of housing assistance and racial justice. Biden also mentioned that the money could be used to renovate the homes of low-income people.

But Biden’s vision for a free community college for all is falling apart.

“This is not the robust vision that the president wants or that we want,” Khanna said.

At a long and “lively” lunch of Democratic senators earlier today, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said there was “universal agreement in this room that we must come to an agreement and that we have to do it “.

Schumer said he, Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi talk to each other on a daily basis.

Biden met in the White House for nearly two hours with the first group of lawmakers, progressives, who appeared convinced that a deal was within reach. The moderate lawmakers met for about 90 minutes in the evening.

“Everyone is talking,” said Manchin, who had his own meeting Tuesday with the president.

For months, Manchin and Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona have objected to the scope and scale of Biden’s agenda, testing the patience of colleagues who see a unique opportunity to reshape government programs. Sinema missed the Senators’ lunch, but had a separate meeting with Biden.

With Republicans totally opposed to Biden’s plans, the president needs all Democrats in the 50-50 split Senate to pass and can only spare a few votes in the House.

As the weather is slipping, Congress has set a deadline of Oct. 31 for the passage.

Associated Press editors Kevin Freking, Darlene Superville, Alexandra Jaffe, and Farnoush Amiri contributed to this report.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Biden stimulus fuels inflation, suggests Fed analysis Tue, 19 Oct 2021 19:52:00 +0000

Inflation is likely being temporarily boosted by the $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus relief program the Biden administration inaugurated earlier this year, a new study from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco suggested on Monday. .

The analysis could fuel a heated debate in Washington over whether the administration’s policies are contributing to price spikes. Critics of the government’s spending program that was enacted in March, including former Treasury Secretary Lawrence H. Summers, said it was poorly targeted and risked overheating the economy. Supporters of the relief program said it was providing essential assistance to workers and businesses still battling the pandemic.

The new paper sits somewhere in the middle, noting that the spending has had some effect on inflation, but suggesting that it is most likely temporary. Economists have estimated this will add 0.3 percentage point to the core personal consumption expenditure inflation index in 2021 and “just over” 0.2 percentage point in 2022. Core inflation removes volatile elements like food and fuel.

While these numbers are significant, they’re not what most people would consider “overheating” – the Fed is aiming for inflation of 2% on average over time, and a few tenths of a percent here and there isn’t. have no reason to be alarmed.