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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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SoKor says NoKor expresses commitment to ‘complete denuclearization’

by UNTV   |   Posted on Friday, April 20th, 2018

FILE PHOTOS: (Left-Right) North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in (REUTERS)

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in will sit down at the border “truce village” of Panmunjom to discuss a range of issues, including Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program.

Days before the upcoming summit, South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in said the North has expressed its commitment to “complete denuclearization” of the Korean peninsula and is not seeking conditions.

Moon also explained that the North has not attached any conditions that the US cannot accept, like the withdrawal of American troops from South Korea.

“Now, North Korea is expressing a will to seek a complete denuclearisation to the international society. Also, they are showing us a will to have dialogues,” said the South Korean president.

North Korea has defended its nuclear and missile programmes, which it pursues in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions, as a necessary deterrent against perceived US hostility.

The United States stations 28,500 troops in South Korea, a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean war.

North Korea has said over the years that it could consider giving up its nuclear arsenal if the United States will its troops from South Korea and withdrew its so-called nuclear umbrella of deterrence from South Korea and Japan.

However, in the latest development, Moon revealed that Pyongyang has expressed willingness to drop its demand that the United States withdraw troops stationed in the South in exchange for denuclearization.

This comes after President Donald Trump announced he is willing to leave the meeting with Kim if it falls short of his expectations. -Reuters


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US says chemical arms inspectors still have not entered site of Syrian attack

by UNTV   |   Posted on Wednesday, April 18th, 2018

A boy walks along a damaged street at the city of Douma in Damascus, Syria, April 16, 2018. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki

The United States believes inspectors from a global chemical weapons watchdog have not yet been able to enter the site of the April 7 alleged chemical weapons attack on the Syrian town of Douma.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said on Tuesday she was aware of reports from Syria that inspectors from the organization for the prohibition of chemical weapons had been able to see the site but the team has not entered Douma.

She said the United States had information that both chlorine and sarin nerve gas were used in the attack and was concerned that evidence was deteriorating the longer inspectors were kept from reaching the site.

“The longer that it takes to get OPCW (Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) inspectors in to take a look at soil samples and other information that they can get on the ground, that delay further degrades any evidence that’s on the ground. So that is our chief concern,” Nauert said. — Reuters

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BOC confiscates over P2-M worth of ‘ukay-ukay’

by UNTV   |   Posted on Wednesday, April 11th, 2018

Bureau of Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña showing the shipment containing “ukay-ukay”

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Customs (BOC)  has confiscated 40-foot container van containing “ukay-ukay” or secondhand clothes which arrived on February 27 at the Manila International Container Port (MICP) .

The garments came from Hong Kong and were misdeclared as household goods and personal effects from Proline Logistics Philippines Inc.

As the vans passed through an X-ray scanner, Customs officials noticed that it contained used clothes wrapped inside balikbayan boxes.

Alert order was issued by the BOC to avoid the release of said shipment.

Under the law, importing “ukay-ukay” (used clothes) is prohibited.

“I have been receiving reports there are still ‘ukay-ukay’ diyan sa (in) Baclaran. So these are the things that we will address but we will be concentrating on our port,” said BOC Commissioner Isidro Lapeña.

The commissioner reminded the public about the dangers of purchasing second-hand items such as clothes.

“Do not patronize itong mga ‘ukay-ukay’ because of health issues. Hindi natin alam kung saan nanggagaling itong mga used clothing na ito eh. Pwede ito manggaling sa ospital at hindi na-sterilize at hindi na sanitize,” said the commissioner.

(Do not patronize these ‘ukay-ukay’ because of health issues. We don’t know where these used clothing came from. They could have come from the hospitals and have not been sterilized nor sanitized.)

Importers may be held liable for violations of Republic Act 4653 and Section 1400 of Republic Act 10863 or the Customs Modernization Tariff Act.

Meantime, 50 alert orders per day will be issued by BOC in ports nationwide to avoid illegal entry of shipments such as “ukay-ukay”. — Mai Bermudez | UNTV News & Rescue

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