Nuts and bolts of trafficking
Drug traffickers have invented a new twist in the smuggling racket. Customs officials say they found a Peruvian man with a box of metal bolts in his baggage, trying to board a flight to South Africa. Agents using a scanner discovered that the bolts, which came with nuts screwed on them, were hollowed out. A total of 20.4kg of cocaine was packed inside.
Afghan pullout criticized
Former CIA director Michael Hayden says President Barack Obama is pulling troops from Afghanistan too soon. The retired general told a forum in Utah on Wednesday that it would be more strategic to draw down US troops after next summer, when fighting is expected to be heaviest. Hayden said some US troops should remain in Afghanistan for the long term, even if the number of troops is relatively small. He said the commitment of troops is more important for stability in the region than the number of troops. He spoke at a forum hosted by Republican Senator Orrin Hatch at the Utah Capitol.
Harper hails new trade pact
Visiting Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper defended a free-trade agreement with Bogota on Wednesday, despite criticism about reported human rights violations in the country. Asked about alleged human rights violations in the country, Harper hailed the nation’s “progress” in tackling the issue. He said the deal, which comes into force on Monday, will include agreements on the environment and human rights.
Inmates’ Facebook disabled
Facebook has agreed to disable the profiles of prison inmates in California whose accounts have been updated while they are behind bars. “Access to social media allows inmates to circumvent our monitoring process and continue to engage in criminal activity,” California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation secretary Matthew Cate said in a statement on Monday. “This new cooperation between law enforcement and Facebook will help protect the community and potentially avoid future victims.” CDCR said prison inmates are allowed to have Facebook profiles created prior to their incarceration, but “if any evidence shows the account has been used while in the facility, Facebook Security will disable the account.” It said there have been “numerous instances in which inmates, using their Facebook accounts, have delivered threats to victims or have made unwanted sexual advances.” Inmates are maintaining their accounts using smuggled cellphones or having someone on the outside do it for them, the CDCR said.
New settler homes approved
Interior Minister Eli Yishai has given final approval for the construction of 1,600 new settler homes in east Jerusalem, his spokesman Roei Lachmanovich said yesterday. He also said Yishai was set to give final approval for another 2,700 settler homes in east Jerusalem neighbourhoods in “a couple of days.” “He has approved 1,600 homes in Ramat Shlomo and will approve 2,000 more in Givat Hamatos and 700 in Pisgat Zeev,” Lachmanovich said. The 1,600-house construction in Ramat Shlomo has already caused a diplomatic rift between Israel and Washington. However, Lachmanovich said the final approvals were “economic” not political, tying the final go-ahead to protests over housing prices and the cost of living that have shaken Israel in recent weeks.