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L.A. man accused of smuggling king cobras in potato chip cans

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Wednesday, July 26th, 2017

A Los Angeles man was arrested on Tuesday after federal prosecutors said he arranged to smuggle into the United States three live, highly venomous king cobra snakes hidden in potato chip canisters.

The man identified as Rodrigo Franco was charged with illegally importing merchandise into the country.

The parcel was said to have come from Hong Kong and was intercepted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents on March 2 containing the 2-foot-long snakes concealed inside the canisters.

Three Albino-Chinese soft-shelled turtles were also found in the package, the prosecutors said.

He faces a maximum of 20 years in prison if convicted, although federal sentencing guidelines typically call for less time behind bars. – UNTV News & Rescue

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U.S., South Korea and Japan discuss military drills, North Korea denuclearization

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Thursday, June 14th, 2018

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo attends a bilateral meeting with South Korea’s President Jae-in at the presidential Blue House in Seoul, South Korea June 14, 2018. REUTERS/Kim Hong-ji/Pool

SEOUL, South Korea – The top diplomats from United States, South Korea, and Japan promised on Thursday (June 14) to work together to ensure North Korea gives up its nuclear weapons programme after U.S President Donald Trump’s summit with the North’s leader Kim Jong Un.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono met in Seoul two days after Trump and Kim signed a statement agreeing to pursue the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

Pompeo insisted that Pyongyang was committed to giving up its nuclear arsenal but said it would “be a process, not an easy one,” while Kono said he expects arrangements to be made for a summit between Japan and North Korea to resolve long-standing issues.- Reuters

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Trump, Trudeau, and Pena Nieto celebrate 2026 World Cup bid win with tweets

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, June 14th, 2018

The United States, Mexico and Canada will jointly host the 2026 World Cup, overwhelmingly winning a vote by soccer’s world governing body on Wednesday (June 13), even though U.S. President Donald Trump has frayed relations with his neighbors and others during his 18 months in office.

Trump, who has called for a wall to be built on the U.S. southern border and paid for by Mexico as part of a tougher immigration policy, just days ago personally criticized Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over a trade dispute.

U.S. Soccer Federation President Carlos Cordeiro suggested to reporters on a conference call after Wednesday’s vote at FIFA’s Congress in Moscow that bringing the three countries together was more of a challenge than any Trump effect in overcoming the challenge from the competing bid from Morocco.

The North Americans pledged their tournament would generate an $11 billion profit for FIFA – greater than any previous World Cup finals – a financial shot in the arm for world soccer’s governing body, which has been rocked by a corruption and bribery scandal ensnaring top officials.

Morocco, which has now failed in five bids to host the World Cup, said their tournament would make $5 billion.

Trump praised the outcome on Twitter as the result of “a great deal of hard work.” Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto tweeted “We did it!” and Trudeau also took to Twitter to say: “Congratulations to everyone who worked hard on this bid – it’s going to be a great tournament!”

Under Trump, relations between the United States, Canada, and Mexico have plumbed new lows thanks to disputes in the renegotiation of the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement, known as NAFTA, a $1.1 trillion trade pact that ties the three countries’ economies together and which Trump has said should be scrapped.

Although it will be the first World Cup to be hosted by three countries, most matches will be played in the United States. As part of the bid, Trump pledged that those traveling to the United States for the tournament would not be subject to stringent visa restrictions.

Even if Trump were to be elected for a second four-year term in 2020 he would not be president when the World Cup kicks off in 2026. — Reuters

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Ronald Dela Rosa to go after smugglers

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Tuesday, May 29th, 2018

Director of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Ronald Dela Rosa

 

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – Former Police Chief now Director of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Ronald Dela Rosa has an additional task after being chosen as president of the newly formed Anti-Crime Council of the Philippines (ACCP.)

A multi-sectoral council composed of law enforcement agencies, businessmen and other non-governmental organizations, ACCP aims to fight crimes and illicit trades particularly smuggling which is highly rampant in the country.

Dela Rosa said they are considering the adoption of the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) Oplan Tokhang in pursuing smugglers in the country.

“Kung ano iyong pinaka objective ng organisasyon which is to fight illicit trade iyon ang ating tutukan ngayon how to help the government fight illicit trade to particularly iyon smuggling,” said Dela Rosa.

Reports show that the government is losing P200 billion in revenue annually due to smuggling. Jess Arranza, the president of the Federation of Philippine Industries said one factor that contributes to the proliferation of smuggling activities in the country is the implementation of the Tax Reform Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law. He cited as an example the rampant smuggling of cigarettes which is being blamed on the high excise tax imposed on tobacco products.

“Ikaw ba kapag bagsak ang presyo sa isang country pupunta ka? Ikaw smuggler ka, hindi ka pupunta sayang lang ang pagod mo, tutubuin mo centavo ang hinahanap nilang tutubuin piso, limang piso, sampung piso, dollar pa,” Arranza said.

(If you were a smuggler, would you go to a country where prices of goods are low? You’d be wasting your efforts earning a few centavos. Smugglers look to earn one peso, five pesos, 10 pesos, even in dollars.)

Meanwhile, the PNP expressed its support to Dela Rosa and vowed to join the agency in the conduct of Oplan Tokhang to smugglers.

“Probably ang suporta natin dito ay sa security side kung talagang mangangailangan sila ng security or enforcement coming from the Philippine National Police,” said PNP Chief Director General Oscar Albayalde.

The agency encourages businessmen to report to them incidents of smuggling and ACCP will call the attention of police to launch Oplan Tokhang. ACCP vows to file appropriate charges against personalities who are involved in such illegal activity – Mon Jocson / Marje Pelayo

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