More than 135 people have been arrested in an investigation of global telemarketing scams that have victimized 5 million people, many of them elderly, US Attorney General John Ashcroft said on Tuesday. \nSchemes targeted in the yearlong investigation, dub-bed "Operation Roaming Charge," have cost victims an estimated US$1 billion. \nAmong them: a US$500 millionphone billing scam that involved members of the Gambino crime family in New York. \nThe probe also uncovered bogus lottery and sweepstakes scams, fake preapproved credit cards, offers of nonexistent investments, tax evasion scams and so-called recovery rooms in which people posing as law enforcers offered to help victims recoup their losses for a fee. \n"Most often, these criminals target the elderly, the needy and the vulnerable," Ashcroft said at a news conference. \nThe investigation, which involved close cooperation with Canadian officials, focused on a growing trend in which fraudulent tele-marketers prey on US citizens from foreign countries. Thirty-five of those arrested were operating in foreign countries, and more than 100 suspects were arrested in the US. \n"In today's world, telemarketing fraud schemes have become more sophisticated and international in scope," said Chris Swecker, assistant FBI director for the criminal investigative division. \nAbout 70 people have been convicted on US and Canadian fraud charges dur-ing the investigation, which has involved 190 search warrants in the two countries. The Federal Trade Commission, Postal Inspection Service and other federal agencies have brought numerous civil complaints.
At least 25 people were yesterday killed in an attack on a Sikh-Hindu temple in Afghanistan’s capital where worshippers were offering morning prayers, the latest assault claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group. The incident came as the nation reels from a US$1 billion cut in US aid and struggles with a raging insurgency, political deadlock and rising coronavirus cases. Witness Raju Singh Sonny told reporters that a man dressed in a police uniform burst into the temple in central Kabul, shot a guard and started attacking worshippers in the main hall. “Several other attackers also entered the building and they were going
The COVID-19 pandemic might weigh on the nation’s economy through the second quarter and erase up to 1.4 percentage points from GDP growth this year in the worst-case scenario, National Development Council Minister Chen Mei-ling (陳美伶) said yesterday. The government would seek to retain GDP growth of more than 2 percent by introducing relief funds and stimulus measures that could be stepped up if necessary, she said. “The virus outbreak might affect the economy for six months,” twice as long as previously expected, as it has spread to Europe and the US, Chen told a meeting of the Legislative Yuan’s Economics Committee
Italy has logged a shocking spike in its already staggering COVID-19 death toll, with officials warning the peak of the crisis was still days away, as the global infection rate surges relentlessly upward. With more than 300,000 people infected in Europe alone, the disease shows few signs of slowing. Italy recorded 969 deaths from the virus on Friday — the worst one-day toll anywhere since the pandemic began. One COVID-19 patient, a cardiologist from Rome who has since recovered, recalled his experience at a hospital in the Italian capital. “The treatment for the oxygen therapy is painful, looking for the radial artery is difficult.
DANGEROUS TREND: The rocketing infection rate has sparked a rush to buy guns, US store owners said, as customers start to panic about societal breakdown World leaders were yesterday set to hold online crisis talks on the COVID-19 pandemic that has forced 3 billion people into lockdown and claimed more than 21,000 lives. With the disease tearing around the globe at a terrifying pace, warnings are multiplying over its economic consequences, with experts saying it could cause more damage than the Great Depression. Amid squabbling between the leaders of China and the US over who is to blame, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for the world to act together to halt the menace. “COVID-19 is threatening the whole of humanity,” Guterres said. “Global action and solidarity are crucial.