Thunder From Under Sun, 02 Jan 2022 23:51:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Thunder From Under 32 32 BSF partners with NGOs to control cattle smuggling in Bangladesh Sun, 02 Jan 2022 22:10:08 +0000 IN WHICH indicates that the smuggling of cattle from India to Bangladesh has been combated effectively, seizures of cattle along the eastern borders have fallen sharply in recent years. The latest data available from the Home Office (MHA) shows that seizures of cattle by the Border Security Force (BSF) at the Bangladesh border were only 20,415 until November 2021, up from 1 53,602 in 2015.

Data from the past seven years shows that 2018 was a turning point when livestock foreclosures fell almost 50% to 63,716, down from 1,19,299 in 2017. The numbers have fallen sharply in the past two years: 46,809 in 2019 and 20,415 in 2021.

Since coming to power in May 2014, the BJP-led government has placed particular emphasis on protecting cows and combating contraband cattle.

In 2015, speaking to BSF staff at a West Bengal border post, then Home Secretary Rajnath Singh said he wanted the force to crack down on contraband cattle so severely that the Bangladesh would stop eating beef.

Since then, the force has deployed additional personnel to monitor the border around the clock and stop the smuggling of cattle. He acquired more speedboats to hunt smugglers carrying cattle across rivers. He also took coercive action by firing lethal and non-lethal weapons at these cross-border criminals. Last year, in a statement, the BSF called cattle trafficking an act of “sedition”.

Sources at the BSF, however, said there were other reasons for the sharp decline in livestock seizures. “Previously, after we seized cattle, it was handed over to the customs authorities who put them up for auction. Cattle put up for auction were most often bought by the same smugglers who brought them back to the border. This has increased the number of seizures, ”explained a senior BSF officer.

In 2018, these auctions were stopped. “The local police were supposed to take possession of the seized cattle, but they did not cooperate. Thus, the BSF took care of the seized cattle with the help of certain NGOs and then handed them over to the cow shelters. BSF had to bear expenses, but this reduced the number of seizures, ”explained the officer.

Sources said other factors include Bangladesh increasing its own dairy capacity over the years and developments in the hinterland which have restricted the transport of livestock to the border. “The Haryana breed of cows is barely seized at the border now. But those from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar continue to arrive. If state governments act, BSF won’t have to do this job, ”said another BSF officer.

The decline in livestock seizures has also coincided with the decline in attacks on BSF staff by smugglers. From 103 injured BSF personnel in 2015, the figure has fallen to just 63 in 2021. This does not mean, however, less active interception efforts by the border guard force. Data shows that both lethal and non-lethal weapon fire by the BSF has remained constant over this period.

According to the data, there were 219 incidents of lethal gunfire involving the BSF at the Bangladesh border in 2015, which has now grown to 244 in 2021. In fact, that number was below 200 in just two years: 2017 (139) and 2018 (77). The year 2016 saw the maximum number of lethal weapon shooting incidents at 355.

Likewise, the fire from pump or pellet guns, which the BSF uses to deter cross-border criminals, also remained constant during the period.

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Whistleblower Warns Baffling Illness Affects Growing Number of Young Adults in Canadian Province | Canada Sun, 02 Jan 2022 14:40:00 +0000

A whistleblower from the Canadian province of New Brunswick has warned that a progressive neurological disease that has baffled experts for more than two years appears to be affecting increasing numbers of young people and causing rapid cognitive decline in some of those afflicted.

Speaking to the Guardian, an employee of Vitalité Health Network, one of the province’s two health authorities, said suspected cases are on the rise and young adults without previous health triggers are developing a catalog disturbing symptoms, including rapid weight loss, insomnia, hallucinations, difficulty thinking and reduced mobility.

The official number of cases under investigation, 48, remains unchanged since it was first announced in early spring 2021. But several sources indicate that the cluster could now number up to 150 people, with a backlog of cases involving young people still requiring assessment. further.

“I am really concerned about these cases because they seem to be changing so quickly,” the source said. “I’m worried about them and we owe them some sort of explanation.”

At the same time, at least nine cases have been recorded in which two people in close contact – but without genetic links – developed symptoms, suggesting that environmental factors may be involved.

  • One suspected case involved a man who developed symptoms of dementia and ataxia. His wife, who was taking care of him, suddenly began to lose sleep and suffered from muscle wasting, dementia and hallucinations. Now his condition is worse than hers.

  • A woman in her 30s has been described as non-verbal, tube-feeds, and drools excessively. Her caregiver, a nursing student in her twenties, has also recently started showing symptoms of neurological decline.

  • In another case, a young mother quickly lost nearly 60 pounds, developed insomnia, and began to hallucinate. Brain imaging showed advanced signs of atrophy.

The Vitalité employee, who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to speak in public and feared repercussions for speaking, said he decided to come forward amid growing concerns about the speed at which young people have deteriorated.

“It is not a disease of New Brunswick,” said the employee. “We are probably the region that raises the flag because we are mainly in a rural setting and in an area where people might be more exposed to environmental factors. “

But in January, the province of New Brunswick is expected to widely announce that the cluster of cases, first made public last year after a media note was leaked, is the result of misdiagnosis, which mistakenly grouped unrelated diseases together.

The Special Neurodegenerative Disorders Clinic, also known as the Mind Clinic, in the city of Moncton is the clearinghouse for referrals from the region as well as neighboring provinces. The potential cases have generally baffled doctors and withstood a battery of standardized neurological tests used to rule out certain conditions.

Using a case description guideline developed by a team of neurologists and epidemiologists, the clinic decides whether patients deserve further investigation or whether they may have a known disease or illness. Determining who’s in the group is subjective, in large part because the brain is notoriously difficult to study. Certainty is often not achieved until after the patient has died and the brain tissue can be fully tested.

Despite the vivid details surrounding the new cases, the province has worked to allay fears. In October, officials suggested the eight fatal cases were the result of a misdiagnosis, saying that instead of suffering from a common neurological disease, the victims died from known and unrelated conditions.

But experts familiar with the cluster are alarmed, in large part because of the age of the patients. Neurological diseases are rare in young people.

“The fact that we have a younger set of patients here argues very strongly against what appears to be the preferred position of the Government of New Brunswick – that cases in this group are grouped together in error,” said a scientist from Canada’s public health agency, which specializes in neurodegenerative diseases, but was not licensed to speak.

In October, the province also said an epidemiological report suggested there was no significant evidence of a known food, behavior or environmental exposure that could explain the disease.

Tim Beatty’s father, Laurie, a retired hardware employee, died in 2019 after the onset of the mental confusion around Christmas marked the start of his rapid deterioration.

Beatty says the family were “stunned” when they learned that her father was one of eight people a pathologist controversially said had been misdiagnosed and instead died of Alzheimer’s disease.

Beatty and her sister have pleaded for their father’s remains to be tested for neurotoxins, including β-methylamino-L-alanine (BMAA), which some believe may be the culprit of the disease.

In one study, high concentrations of BMAA were found in lobster, an industry that boosts the economies of many New Brunswick coastal communities. The province’s apparent resistance to testing suspected environmental factors has led to speculation among families that efforts to rule out the existence of a cluster could be motivated by political decision-making.

“If a bunch of people wanted to breed conspiracy theorists, then our government did a tremendous job promoting it,” Beatty said. “Are they just trying to create a narrative for the audience that they hope we absorb and move away from?” I just don’t understand it.

Documents obtained through freedom of information requests and seen by the Guardian showed scientists at the country’s public health agency saw BMAA as a possible cause, but needed the province to order testing .

“I don’t know why the province wouldn’t just do the science and watch. They have my father’s remains. We gave them full permission to do toxicology and do what needs to be done, ”Beatty said. “Yet nothing was examined.”

But experts nevertheless warn that the test itself is also more difficult than the public realizes.

While some medical tests can provide quick and accurate results, other types of investigation require a lot more work.

“What people are talking about really amounts to a full research investigation because then we know exactly what we are looking for,” said the federal scientist who was familiar with both the cluster and the testing process. “Right now, we have no way of interpreting the simple data you might get by testing a person’s brain tissue for a particular toxin. For example, how high are the “high” levels of a neurotoxin compared to the rest of the public? And when does this become a cause for concern? “

The scientist said the teams were ready to start the research, but “New Brunswick specifically told us not to go ahead with this work.”

Those familiar with the cluster are bracing for a January report, written by the province’s watchdog committee, which will determine whether the 48 cases are actually suffering from a neurological disease or the result of a misdiagnosis by neurologists.

Amid mounting tensions between specialists and the provincial government, a source close to the Mind Clinic said that postings for several positions at the clinic – a social worker, administrator and neuropsychologist – were recently made temporary, budget would no longer be recurring and the clinic would be converted into an Alzheimer’s and geriatrics clinic. Health Minister Dorothy Shephard told reporters on December 1 that speculation about the clinic closing was false.

“We keep telling patients that the country is behind them and that the tests will be done so that we can understand this. We tell them that we are going to get to the bottom of things to be able to help them, ”said the Vitalité employee. “And so far that has not happened. But they need us.

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]]> More than a third of Scots now say household bills are ‘unaffordable’ Sun, 02 Jan 2022 05:25:01 +0000 Nearly three in four Scots are worried about unaffordable energy bills in 2022, with many admitting to cutting back on diets to cope, a new study finds.

A YouGov survey found that 70% of Scots fear bills will become less affordable by November 2022. More than one in five were very worried.

Some 36% of people already find their bills unaffordable.

And 54% of those people said they would cut household spending, with 56% of those people specifically cutting groceries.

Others have stopped eating out or ordering takeout so they can pay their high energy bills. Meanwhile, others have made a habit of driving less to save on gas, and even to cancel vacations and trips.

Citizens Advice Scotland has described the energy market as being in “crisis”, with several suppliers exiting the market and raising the cap on energy prices.

The figures come after a year of challenges in the energy market for consumers in 2021, with the price cap increasing twice and several suppliers exiting the market.

The energy price cap is expected to be lifted again in April and could mean another record increase in consumer bills.

The energy industry has warned that household gas and electricity bills could rise by up to 50% in the spring as the UK faces a ‘national crisis’ over soaring prices of fat.

The Energy UK trading body has called on the UK government to step in to help lower the cost of bills when the price cap could easily exceed £ 2,000 a year.

The UK’s price cap on energy bills, which prevents companies from immediately passing higher costs on to their customers, is due to change on April 1, when industry regulator Ofgem is expected to significantly raise the cap.

As wholesale energy prices continue to soar, the UK’s price caps on energy bills are preventing companies from immediately passing these costs on to their customers.

As of October 1, the price cap, set by the industry regulator Ofgem, has been set at a record £ 1,277.

In Scotland, some 1.5 million Scottish households have seen their energy bills soar to £ 139 after the latest price cap hike.

Households that use a default energy tariff to purchase gas and electricity received the large increase.

The sharp 12% increase is due to a more than 50% increase in wholesale fuel prices, with gas prices reaching an all-time high as global economies recover from the COVID-19 crisis, according to Ofgem.

Citizens Advice Scotland who commissioned the latest research when launching Big Energy Saving Winter, a campaign to encourage people to get advice on dealing with rising energy bills.

Research in November asked more than 1,000 Scots if they feared energy bills would become less affordable over the next 12 months. Only 20% said they weren’t very worried and 5% said they weren’t at all worried, while 4% said they didn’t know and 1% preferred not to. to say.

CAS Fair Markets spokesperson Kate Morrison said: “After a tough year for consumers in 2021 when it comes to energy costs, people are bracing for a tough year in 2022.

“People have already experienced two tough price hikes in the past twelve months, and all the evidence points to more record hikes this coming year. That, together with rising inflation more generally, will cause real hardship for some people.

“It’s also important to note that people are concerned that bills will become more unaffordable – which doesn’t just mean higher bills, but more difficult household budgets in general, from rising prices in stores to decline or stagnation of income. ”

Monday January 3: The mountain of EXC SCOTLAND board tax debt hit record levels, rising sharply by nearly 50% in one year as concerns grow of a credit crunch during the coronavirus pandemic.

Official figures seen by the Herald show that in 2020/21 the amount of council tax that remained unpaid stood at £ 139.552million as of March 31, 2021.

Last year, before the pandemic hit, municipal tax debt stood at £ 95.4million, an increase of almost 25% from the previous year.

The amount currently owed in housing tax, which has led to the prosecution of tens of thousands of households, would have been affected by the economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, the councils having limited the debt collection processes to avoid to contribute to the financial pressure on municipal taxpayers.

The boards reported that repayment terms had been put in place, in many cases over a longer period.

In some cases, municipal taxpayers have arrangements that enter into the current year with the pursuit of tax recovery.

But Citizens Advice Scotland now fears that city council tax debt will grow even further in 2022, as the economic effects of the end of holidays, rising prices in stores, cuts in universal credit and soaring energy prices are hitting hard.

They say this will lead to a financial squeeze for more people, which will put extreme pressure on household decision-making about bills to pay, including council tax.

Municipal tax debt is currently the number one debt problem the Citizens Advice Bureau network sees.

Analysis of figures for 2020/21 reveals 1,422 people have sought help from the Citizens Advice network for a complex debt issue involving house tax, due to a cumulative total of £ 4.1million sterling in arrears of council tax.

The CAS said “worryingly” that the average debt was £ 2,925.84 – almost three times the average municipal tax bill of £ 1,198.

Figures from the first two quarters of 2021/22 show that figure is even higher, with average debt of £ 3,513.01 and total debt of over £ 3.5million.

Overall, this means CAS customers have incurred more than £ 7.6million in tax debt during the pandemic.

The CAS calls on people to use the Scottish Government’s municipal tax reduction program which can help reduce future payments. For some people, it can also provide a back date of up to six months.

CAS Financial Health spokesperson Myles Fitt said: “This is a really tough winter for so many families across Scotland. The combination of rising energy bills, the income impact of the end of the holiday, and the weekly £ 20 reduction in universal credit created a perfect financial storm for the thousands of households already in trouble. money or who just managed to get by. .

“Council tax debt is the biggest debt problem the Citizens Advice network in Scotland sees, and people have racked up millions of pounds in arrears during the pandemic. Worryingly, the first data for 2021/22 suggests that this problem is getting worse – and this is before the perfect storm of rising costs and falling income hits people. ”

According to official figures, the local authority with the biggest headache when it comes to collecting municipal taxes remains the city of Aberdeen, which did not collect 8.1% of what was billed after being given a rate. 6.4% last year.

They were followed by North Ayrshire and Glasgow City (7.9%), East Ayrshire (6.8%), North Lanarkshire (6.7%) and Dundee City (6.3%).

The council with the best collection record for a second year in a row is Stirling which failed to collect 2.9% of the council tax billed, followed by Shetland (3%), Angus (3.1%), East Dunbartonshire (3.3%), Perth and Kinross (3.4%) and East Renfrewshire (3.6%).

It comes as the Scottish government said earlier this month it would lift restrictions on municipal tax increases next year, ending a flagship policy the party has pursued since taking the control of the decentralized government in Edinburgh in 2007.

Since 2007, the SNP has frozen or controlled increases in housing tax rates. Scottish local councils have complained strongly in recent years about struggling to fund vital services.

But Cosla, the body representing the Scottish councils, warned that next year’s funding settlement would be ‘disastrous’ for communities and essential services have been left in a ‘precarious position’.

Councilor Gail Macgregor, her resource spokesperson, said the funding outlined in Ms Forbes’ Scottish budget represented a reduction of £ 100million.

But Ms Forbes said she insisted the spending plan offers “real growth” for the boards.

She added: “This protects the core budget in terms of cash flow and also ensures that local governments receive a fair share of the health and social care consequences, which they have long been calling for.”

A Scottish government spokesperson said: ‘The average tax bill for councils across Scotland is lower than other countries in the UK. The housing tax places an important administrative and financial responsibility on each local authority and is an essential element in the financing of local public services.

“Councils have a range of actions they can choose to take if someone is unable to pay their council tax. These include discussing and agreeing to payment plans.

“The Council Tax Reduction Scheme exists to prevent people from taking on municipal tax debt. People having difficulty meeting their council tax payments should contact their local authority to find out if they are eligible for a reduction which can be backdated up to six months.

“Currently, more than 475,000 households benefit from a certain reduction in the housing tax (CTR). A reduction can be up to 100%, and beneficiaries save on average over £ 750 per year.

“Enforcement measures are also open to municipalities, including legal action when a household has chosen not to pay the housing tax it owes. ”

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The role of corruption and drugs in the insurgency of Thailand’s Deep South – Analysis – Eurasia Review Fri, 31 Dec 2021 23:11:17 +0000
Why any negotiated solution to the insurgency will be extremely difficult

Institutional corruption and drug trafficking in Thailand’s deep south are important dynamics of the ongoing insurgency. These two issues have often been overlooked in most analyzes of regional conflict.

Until the early 2000s, drug trafficking in southern Thailand was mainly controlled by the Chinese diaspora based in Hat Yai, in Songkhla province. Hat Yai is the main railway junction in the south and the junction of major roads. The city has become the main transit point for heroin shipped from the Golden Triangle to Malaysia and the rest of the world via Sadao, near the border.

As the Chinese mafia shifted from narcotics and prostitution to legitimate businesses, the Deep South provinces and Yala and Narathiwat became larger smuggling transit points, taken over by local Thai-Chinese.

With porous borders along the mountainous areas of Yala, the Golok River along much of Narathiwat, and an area of ​​high seas along the Patani coastal region, the Deep South has become the main smuggling region.

With the decline in the importance of heroin and the increase in demand for methamphetamines and crystal meth, this illegal trade has become much more fragmented. In addition to the production of narcotics in the Golden Triangle, producers are also emerging from countries like Cambodia, which brings more players into the trade.

According to Thai authorities, the drug trade in the Deep South has become closely linked with insurgent groups.

It was not necessarily designed by the central command of the insurgency groups. The command and control of insurgent groups such as Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) is not centralized, where the base cells most often act autonomously. These cells are exploited by middle-aged Malaysian residents and, more recently, young Malaysians, who have become involved in narcotics as users and sellers. According to sources, some operate protection rackets for smugglers in what one might call “tolls”, while others are more directly involved in smuggling. Others act as “guns” to protect gang territory and maintain the line between competing gangs.

Other sources report that rogue members of the Thai security forces are intensely involved in smuggling through southern border areas. Thai authorities have invested more than 264 billion baht in equipment and infrastructure, which is a perfect cover for illicit activities in the southern border provinces.

With over 50,000 military and paramilitaries in the region, and an equal number of officials working at the provincial and district levels, there are enormous opportunities for corrupt activity.

Areas where massive corruption takes place at the government level lie in annual military and civilian budget allocations, equipment purchases, infrastructure construction, and awarding of service contracts to third parties. The leakage of annual budgets could be more than 30 percent. This level of corruption is a deterrent for any peace agreement that would result in a dramatic reduction in the military presence and activities in the southern border provinces.

About 25 percent of the 7,000 deaths during the insurgency were caused by disputes and violence over drug trafficking in the region, which the United Nations is estimated to be worth between $ 30 billion and $ 61 billion annually in Thailand. . Much of this trade passes through the deep south.

Much of this insurgent funds has been laundered through Islamic savings cooperatives and Wakafs, or endowments to finance micro, small and medium enterprises in Patani, Yala and Narathiwat. As a result, the illicit drug trade has become a major pillar of local community development. To some extent, this source of funding has become a powerful tool for the insurgents to gain support and empower Muslim communities. The insurgents were able to offer the Muslim community assistance that the Thai authorities did not provide.

Muslim communities in Thailand’s southern border province are currently facing a narcotics epidemic where around 35% of the population is addicted to a cocktail of local kratom leaves, cough syrup and Coca Cola, often cut diced with ice. Most users are between 14 and 24 years old.

The Deep South Thailand uprising seen in this perspective helps explain why both sides have little enthusiasm for peace negotiations, which does very little to bring about a transition to peace in the region. At present, there are incentives to maintain the status quo so that money can continually be earned through embezzlement and leakage of funding through corruption, and smuggling of fuel, weapons. illegal, human trafficking and drug trafficking can continue unabated.

Murray Hunter’s blog can be accessed here

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nrl: Nrl takes 18,000 crore loan for expansion | Guwahati News Fri, 31 Dec 2021 22:34:00 +0000 Guwahati: Numaligarh Refinery Limited has achieved financial close on its upcoming 6 MMTPA refinery expansion project by linking project debt of Rs 18,904 crore with a consortium of 12 lending banks led by the State Bank of India. This is the largest single borrower fundraiser in North East India.
NRL, co-owned by Oil India Limited, the Government of Assam and Engineers India Limited, is pursuing an integrated mega refinery capacity expansion project to triple its refining capacity from 3 MMTPA to 9 MMTPA at a cost of Rs 28,026 crore. As part of the project, the company is also laying an oil pipeline (approximately 1,640 km) from Paradip, Odisha, to Numaligarh, as well as a crude oil import terminal at Paradip for the reception of imported crude.
LNR (Corporate Communications) Deputy Director General Madhuchanda Adhikari Choudhury, in a statement, said the loan agreement signing ceremony was held in Guwahati on Thursday in the presence of senior officials from all banks. from the member consortium, representatives of Oil India Limited, the Assam government and other stakeholders.
OIL CMD and president of NRL, SC Mishra, in his audiovisual message pledged to provide continued support to this endeavor.
SBI Chairman Dinesh Kumar Khara, in his audio-visual message, expressed his joy at being the main banker that has fueled the Northeast’s growth story through the Numaligarh refinery expansion project. Source link

Car sales grow 24% in nine months in 2021 Thu, 30 Dec 2021 18:11:06 +0000

The Cambodian auto industry is largely made up of used cars, which account for nearly 72% of the market, but this trend is likely to change in the near future.

The Kingdom’s vehicle sector has seen notable growth in both sales and imports, by around 24% in the nine months of 2021, according to the Cambodian Automobile Industry Federation (CAIF).

The Cambodian auto industry is largely made up of used cars, which accounted for nearly 72% of the market at the end of 2021. However, this trend is likely to change in the near future.

Tan Monivann, President of the Cambodian Automobile Industry Federation said Khmer time that economic growth and the emergence of the middle class in Cambodia have boosted new car sales. The demand for new brands of cars in Cambodia is increasing by 15% per year, in line with the growth of the Cambodian economy.

According to Monivann, Cambodia’s national economic growth has increased by 4% in 2021 according to the World Bank’s Economic Outlook. Economic growth has helped Cambodians earn high income to buy new cars. Also, people choose to drive a new car because a new car has a long warranty of quality. In addition, a new car is equipped with the latest technology and security systems and has after-sales service. There are 40 official brands distributed by new cars by the end of 2021.

Aimed at meeting the growing demand for new cars in the local market, Cambodia attracts around nine automobile manufacturing plants to Cambodia in 2021.

According to a press release, Mikami Masahiro, Japanese Ambassador to Cambodia, told Prime Minister Hun Sen on December 28 that Toyota is one of the largest auto distributors in the Kingdom which has unveiled an investment plan to establish a factory in ‘vehicle assembly which in turn will meet the demand for new cars in the local market.

Monivann is optimistic that the new auto manufacturing plant will bring more benefits to the people. He said the new factory promotes low-cost cars in the local market. Toyota Company is the big company that manages reputation and helps in job creation for Cambodians.

RMA Group CEO Ngorn Saing said Khmer time as the trend of new cars increases in market share because a Cambodian has a good understanding of the quality of new cars. “People are switching to new cars because the income is higher with the installment payment options,” he said.

Toyota Company has entered the market is a good opportunity for national economic growth with attracting more foreign investors for the supply of auto manufacturing spare parts

In the Cambodian automotive sector, there are many multinational companies that invest with strong competitiveness. The customer has a better choice with an attractive promotion. The number of newly registered vehicles in 2021 was 920,000 automobiles in total and 5.2 motorcycles in Cambodia, according to a report released by the Ministry of Public Works and Transport.

Emirates passenger tries to smuggle MAD 2.8million worth of diamonds into Dubai Thu, 30 Dec 2021 13:59:09 +0000

Diamonds valued at over $ 770,000 (MAD 2.8 million) were found hidden in the luggage of a passenger on a flight to Dubai from India.

Customs officials at Chennai International Airport intercepted a passenger who was due to board an Emirates flight to the United Arab Emirates early in the morning on Tuesday, December 28.

Authorities responded to specific information gathered during an investigation and found the diamonds hidden inside the telescoping handle of the passenger stroller suitcase.

The 1,052.72-carat diamonds were valued at around $ 773,970 (Dh 2.84 million).

Passengers traveling to or from the United Arab Emirates with more than Dh 100,000 in cash, or an equivalent amount in any other currency or other financial instrument, must declare this to customs.

All precious metals or stones with a value of 60,000 Dh or more must also be declared.

Anyone importing gemstones to the UAE above this amount must provide supporting documents upon arrival, such as original invoices from an exporting company with their stamp and signature, a packing list showing quantity and a list of jewelry studding details.

According to customs law, the penalty for smuggling undeclared items into the UAE can range from a fine to three months in prison, as well as confiscation of goods and tools used in the smuggling process.

Brazen smuggling attempts: in pictures

Updated: December 30, 2021, 13:58

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Biden administration asks Supreme Court to intervene in Remain-in-Mexico legal battle Thu, 30 Dec 2021 03:27:55 +0000

The Justice Ministry on Wednesday asked the Supreme Court to intervene in a trial this has forced U.S. border officials to resuscitate a Trump administration program that forces migrants to wait in Mexico for their asylum hearings.

Citing “flawed” lower court rulings that mandated the revival of border policy, government lawyers representing the Biden administration said the case should be swiftly reconsidered by the Supreme Court, urging the conservative-leaning high court to hold oral argument in April.

At the center of the Justice Department’s request are two lower court rulings against the Biden administration’s attempts to end the so-called Remain-in-Mexico policy, officially called the Migrant Protection Protocols, or MPP.

In August, Republican officials in Texas and Missouri convinced a federal judge to order the Department of Homeland Security to reinstate the Remain-in-Mexico protocols, which were suspended hours after President Biden took office in January.

US Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, appointed by former President Donald Trump, ruled that Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas did not sufficiently explain the end of the policy. He also found that the termination led the United States to violate a law that governs the detention of certain migrants.

The Biden administration quickly appealed the decision, and in late October Mayorkas released a new, more comprehensive notice of termination, arguing that the “unjustifiable human costs” of the policy on asylum seekers stranded in dangerous Mexican border towns outweighed its role in deterring migrants from traveling to the United States

But the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this month rejected the Biden administration’s appeal and upheld Kacsmaryk’s decision. In a scathing opinion, a panel of Republican-appointed judges declined to consider Mayorkas’ second sack attempt, dismissing the administration’s argument that the new memo rendered the case moot.

To comply with court orders, the Biden administration re-launched a version of the Remain-in-Mexico rules in El Paso, Texas, earlier this month. U.S. authorities have so far returned 200 adult asylum seekers to Mexico as part of the relaunched program, according to the International Organization for Migration, which treats migrants.

Justice Department attorneys said on Wednesday lower court rulings, if upheld, would force the administration to continue the retention policy in Mexico until the Mexican government ceases to cooperate or Congress allocates enough funds to detain most migrants who reach the US border. .

In short, the lower courts ordered DHS to implement and enforce the short-lived and controversial MPP program in perpetuity, ”government lawyers wrote.

The Biden administration has asked the Supreme Court to review the Fifth Circuit’s interpretation of a law governing the detention of migrants, as well as its decision to ignore Mayorkas’ second termination memo.

After launching the MPP in 2019, the Trump administration returned 70,000 migrants to Mexico, where many found themselves awaiting their hearings in U.S. court in squalid camps or places plagued by criminality and violence. cartels. Hundreds of people said they were assaulted, kidnapped or otherwise victimized while waiting in Mexico.

While Biden and progressive supporters have sharply criticized the policy, the Trump administration argued that the program effectively reduced border apprehensions by deterring migrants who were not entitled to U.S. asylum from traveling to the United States. North.

The Biden administration has so far limited returns under reinstated rules from staying in Mexico to Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, but the policy is expected to be extended to the southern border in the coming weeks.

Haitian families cross the Rio Bravo river
Haitian families illegally cross the Rio Bravo River to surrender to US authorities at the Ciudad Juarez border in Mexico with El Paso, Texas.

Christian Torres / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

To address concerns raised by the Mexican government, the Biden administration made several changes to the protocols before restarting them during the first week of December, including expanding the categories of at-risk asylum seekers who cannot be returned to Mexico.

The American authorities also offer migrants to be vaccinated against COVID-19[female[feminine and ask them if they fear being hurt in Mexico before sending them there.

While the reinstatement of the Remain-in-Mexico rules was ordered by the court, the Biden administration retained another Trump-era border restriction that allows the United States to expel adults and families quickly. migrants to Mexico or their country of origin without examining them for asylum.

The Biden administration has argued that the pandemic era policy, known as Title 42, is needed to prevent coronavirus outbreaks inside migrant detention facilities along the US-Mexico border. .

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Stock Futures Stable After Dow, S&P 500 Closes At Record Wed, 29 Dec 2021 23:07:46 +0000

U.S. stock index futures were little changed in overnight trading on Wednesday after the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at new highs.

Futures contracts linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average edged up, while S&P 500 futures were unchanged. Futures on the Nasdaq 100 were slightly lower.

On Wednesday, in regular trading, the S&P 500 rose 0.14% to its 70th year-end record. This is the second most record-breaking close for the benchmark in a calendar year, just behind the 77 closing records of 1995.

The Dow Jones rose 90 points, or 0.25%, to also close at a record high – its first since November. The benchmark of 30 stocks had its sixth consecutive positive session. The Nasdaq Composite, however, was down 0.1%. Chip inventories were under pressure, with AMD, Xilinx and Nvidia all falling by at least 1%.

Travel-related stocks also fell amid lingering concerns over Covid-19, with the NYSE Arca Airline index falling 2.5%.

On the flip side, a number of consumer stocks hit all-time highs during the session, including Domino’s Pizza, McDonald’s, Yum Brands, Costco and Procter & Gamble.

The three main averages are in the green for December. The S&P and Dow Jones are on track for a second positive month in the past three, while the Nasdaq Composite is on track for a third consecutive month of gains.

Wednesday’s bullish action for the Dow Jones and S&P continued a historically strong period for stocks, which has been dubbed the “Santa’s Gathering.” The S&P 500 has gained during the period – the last five trading days of the year followed by the first two sessions in January – 78.5% of the time since 1928, according to Bank of America.

“Santa has been good to investors this holiday season, and we expect another year of positive returns in 2022,” said Scott Wren, senior global markets strategist at Wells Fargo Investment Institute.

With only two trading days remaining in 2021, the large averages are also on course to end the year in the green. The S&P and the Dow Jones are up 27.6% and 19.2% respectively. The Nasdaq gained 22.3%, while the Russell 2000 is up 13.9%.

“2021 has been a great year for the equity markets,” said Anu Gaggar, global investment strategist for Commonwealth Financial Network. “Between federal stimulus measures to keep the economy going, the Fed’s accommodative monetary policy keeping markets liquidity and interest rates low, and continued medical improvement leading to surprising growth, markets have been in the best of all possible worlds, ”she added.

Looking ahead, Gaggar said 2022 performance depends on earnings and market valuations.

The gradual rise in Treasury yields could prove to be a hindrance for 2022, especially in growth-oriented sectors of the market. The 10-year US Treasury yield rose above 1.5% on Wednesday.

“We expect interest rates to rise slightly in 2022 based on short-term inflation expectations above historical trends and improving growth expectations once the impact of the variants of COVID-19 will fade away, “said Lawrence Gillum, fixed income strategist for LPL Financial. “Our year-end 2022 forecast for the 10-year Treasury yield is 1.75-2.00%.”

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Lanka prepares an agreement on an oil park with India; Wang to travel to Colombo after spitting, and may offer sweeteners Wed, 29 Dec 2021 01:17:16 +0000 Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi will visit Sri Lanka next week amid a crippling economic crisis that has seen Colombo look to Delhi for help and swiftly execute the long-delayed India-Sri Lanka plan to the joint development of the Trincomalee petroleum reservoir farm.

Wang Yi’s two-day visit, scheduled for Jan. 7-9, will take place amid a row between the two countries over a contaminated shipment of organic fertilizers that has led to unexpected tensions between the two countries .

After Colombo cancels order to import 99,000 tonnes of fertilizer, Beijing blacklisted Sri Lankan People’s Bank and accused it of “vicious” default on letter of credit .


India Angle: 1987 Agreement

INDIA’S INTEREST in the petroleum tank farm dates back to the signing of the India-Sri Lanka Agreement of 1987, which stipulated in the annex that the renovation works of the tank farm located in the northeastern province of Trincomalee would be undertaken jointly by the two of the countries. The deal remained dormant as India and then Sri Lanka fought the Tamil Tigers. An attempted relaunch in 2003 came to nothing. In 2017, the two sides agreed to operationalize the long-standing deal, but opposition from unions at Ceylon Petroleum Corporation delayed any progress on the file.

Earlier this month, as the Chinese company launched arbitration proceedings for $ 8 million in compensation, Sri Lanka ended the controversy by agreeing to make a payment of $ 6.4 million. dollars.

Wang Yi’s visit will be important for the sweeteners he can offer the Rajapaksa government to recover the lost goodwill.

Meanwhile, Colombo continues to finalize plans for the joint development with India of a huge park of petroleum reservoirs in Trincomalee. Although neither country puts it so loudly, Delhi could in return offer financial assistance to help Sri Lanka overcome its current crisis.

“We said that the two issues should progress in parallel and that progress of one should strengthen the progress of the other towards strengthening economic ties,” an official source said, adding that the coming month may see major developments on the Trincomalee oil tank farm agreement. .

Sri Lanka’s foreign exchange reserves fell to $ 1.6 billion at the end of November. The shortage has resulted in a drop in food imports, pushing up the prices of basic necessities in the country. An IMF bailout is the last option Sri Lanka is unwilling to take.

Earlier this month, international rating agency Fitch downgraded Sri Lanka’s rating from CC to CCC, warning that the country was likely to default on two international sovereign bonds, one to come in January 2022 for $ 500 million and the other maturing in July for $ 1 billion.

The Central Bank of Sri Lanka called Fitch’s action “hasty” and said it had ignored Colombo’s diplomatic efforts with friendly countries to secure financial assistance. A statement from the bank said cash flow was expected by the end of December 2021 and March 2022.

“The government and the Central Bank remain confident that these flows will materialize and that the level of gross official reserves at the end of 2021 will remain above $ 3 billion. Fitch appears to have ignored the SWAP reserve facility with the People’s Bank of China of approximately $ 1.5 billion, ”the press release said.

In addition to loans and foreign currency term financing agreements with China during the year, Sri Lanka signed the three-year stand-by swap agreement with Beijing in March 2021. The governor of the Central bank said earlier this month that the government could take advantage of it to pay. for imports from China.

But Colombo has also asked India for help. Sri Lankan Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa, who visited Delhi in November, was offered a “four-fold package” – a line of credit for fuel imports only from India; the early finalization of the joint India-Sri Lanka development plan for the Trincomalee oil park; a currency exchange offer to help Lanka pay off its external debt; and the facilitation of Indian investments in various sectors.

Earlier this week, the Sri Lankan weekly Sunday Times reported that Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila had tasked the chairman of Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) to form a subsidiary, Trinco Petroleum Terminal Ltd, which will be the ad hoc vehicle for India-Sri Lanka. joint development of the Trincomalee petroleum park.

The decision is expected to be approved at a cabinet meeting next week. The newspaper reported that President Gotabya Rajapaksa agreed to the formation of the branch.