Argentina Pushes for $20 Billion in Renewables Investments

first_imgArgentina Pushes for $20 Billion in Renewables Investments FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Benedict Mander for the Financial Times:With a large expanse of semi-desert in its north, Argentina is one of the windiest and sunniest places in the world. Centre-right president Mauricio Macri is hoping to attract up to $20bn over the next decade as part of a target to generate a fifth of Argentina’s power from renewable energy sources by 2025 — compared with less than 1 per cent today.“We want to be a key player in renewables. It’s a hot sector,” says Marcelo Mindlin, chief executive of Pampa Energia, which bid to invest about $400m in an auction last month that the government hopes will drive more than $2bn in investments this year to provide 1,000 megawatts of mostly wind and solar energy.Argentina’s effort to develop renewable energy comes amid a broader push by developing countries, whose investments in renewables surpassed those of developed nations for the first time in 2015 as generation costs fell. Last year also marked the first time there was more new generation capacity from renewable energy than from all other technologies combined.Although China accounted for more than a third of global investment in renewables of $286bn last year, Latin America is piling in too. Mexico and Chile more than doubled investment in renewables last year, while more than half of Uruguay’s power is now from renewable sources, with hydroelectricity providing most of the rest.Similar success in Argentina, which some analysts rate as the most interesting investment opportunity in renewables anywhere, would offset disappointment at the pace of new investments into the huge Vaca Muerta shale formation in Patagonia. Although it boasts some of the largest reserves of shale oil and gas in the world, Vaca Muerta has so far failed to take off due to low oil prices and high drilling costs.Full item ($): Argentina turns to renewable energylast_img read more

Higher Electricity Bills in Michigan for Keeping Coal Plants Alive

first_imgHigher Electricity Bills in Michigan for Keeping Coal Plants Alive FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Andy Balaskovitz for Midwest Energy News:Customers of a Michigan co-op would see significant bill increases for keeping Upper Peninsula coal plants online, according to new figures from the region’s grid operator.The Midcontinent Independent System Operator, or MISO, has issued a new cost calculation for operating three coal plants in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula — notably the Presque Isle plant in Marquette — to maintain reliability in the area.Totaling $49.7 million, the bills for keeping those plants open over a period in 2014-2015, known as System Support Resources payments, will become due in less than three weeks and range from thousands of dollars to more than $11 million for one U.P. utility.For what are relatively small utilities, the payments could have a significant impact on ratepayers across the U.P.Full article: Upper Peninsula ratepayers to pay millions to keep coal plants onlinelast_img read more

Conversion of 1,800MW Intermountain coal plant in Utah to 840MW gas-hydrogen facility moving forward

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):The Intermountain Power Agency, owner of the 1,800-MW coal-fired Intermountain power plant in Delta, Utah, has picked Black & Veatch Corp. as the chief engineering company to oversee the facility’s conversion into an 840-MW combined-cycle facility that will run initially on a mix of natural gas and hydrogen and will ultimately operate on hydrogen alone, the Kansas-based engineering and consulting firm announced June 3.The municipal power agency’s selection of Black & Veatch follows its recent order of advanced turbines from Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Americas Inc., which has a long track record of working with hydrogen-fired turbines at industrial sites, for the new plant. The two single-shaft combined-cycle units are designed to run on a mix of 30% hydrogen and 70% natural gas upon completion in 2025, increasing to 100% hydrogen by 2045.Mitsubishi Hitachi is also working with Magnum Development LLC to create a renewable hydrogen generation and storage facility adjacent to the plant, part of a planned 1,000-MW multitechnology energy storage complex. The project partners aim to use excess renewable energy from across the Western U.S. to generate “green hydrogen” via electrolysis and store it in an existing underground salt dome beneath the power plant.The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, which operates the Intermountain facility and is the largest buyer of its power, intends to use the converted plant to help meet California’s target to completely decarbonize all retail power sales in the state by 2045. Several other municipal utilities in California and Utah that currently purchase power from the coal-fired plant have agreed to purchase power from the re-powered project.“Using renewable energy in the form of green hydrogen will help California meet its zero-carbon state goals for 2045,” Brian Sheets, project manager with Black & Veatch’s power business, said in a statement. “The location in central Utah is also significant because the local geology provides the capability to store excess hydrogen in large underground caverns, and existing regional transmission infrastructure will serve as a hub for collecting and transporting renewable energy to southern California.”[Garrett Hering]More ($): Intermountain Power Agency selects firm for coal plant’s hydrogen conversion Conversion of 1,800MW Intermountain coal plant in Utah to 840MW gas-hydrogen facility moving forwardlast_img read more

Canoe Camping the Catawba River

first_imgThey call it “canoe camping.” You paddle a distance, camp for the night, and paddle some more the next morning.My plan: wake up early, pack and then paddle down the Catawba River.What actually happened: woke up late, tossed some stuff in the car and paddled down the Catawba River.American Rivers, an organization that works to protect rivers and streams, recently rated the Catawba River the fifth most endangered river in America. The number one threat to the river is contamination from coal-ash ponds. But that isn’t the only threat.More on the threat of coal-ash ponds: The French Broad River Threatened By Toxic WasteI wanted to do something other than read about the problems, so this past Sunday I put into the Catawba in McDowell County, North Carolina and paddled downstream. A 60% chance of rain should have persuaded me to stay home, but it didn’t. And I started to paddle, ignoring the thunderheads on the horizon.I paddled a couple miles downstream and entered Lake James, the first of many man made lakes along the river. This particular lake is formed by three hydroelectric dams, all of which are owned by Duke Energy. The Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation recently filed Notice of Intent to Sue Duke Energy for illegal discharges of toxic waste into the Catawba, a river that starts in the mountains of Western North Carolina and flows 440 miles to the Atlantic, a river that provides water to millions of residents of both North and South Carolina.As I was paddling into Lake James, a bass boat came roaring by, its driver warning me to “get in quick” because the storm was “blowing in off the mountain.” I couldn’t help but think about the storm brewing in the water beneath our boats. I told him I was on my way, but when it came time to turn left for the dock or right for more lake, I turned right.Paddling flat water is lonely. You watch a point in the distance, wondering if it is getting smaller or larger, and it is hard to tell. You feel the strain in your arms, numb from the constant effort. Your mind wanders, thinking about the things you’ve done wrong and the things you’ve done right. But sometimes you have to let it go, and after four hours and 10 miles of paddling, I paddled into Lake James State Park and camped for the night.It took me some time to put in the next morning. Old bones, soreness, one man breaking down a six man tent, gloomy skies — whatever the reason, I kept a slow pace. Even the water seemed lackadaisical, it had a lazy and thick undulation, like it suffered an emotional depression that was just too much to bear. But I stayed focused on the mechanics: two strokes on the left, two strokes on the right and onward.An hour and a half and four miles later I reached the hydroelectric dam at the head of Lake James. The portage around the dam required three round trips, one mile each, and two hours after beginning the portage I put back into the river below Bridgewater Hydroelectric Dam in Burke County, North Carolina.Catawba_portageThe dam releases water frequently, apparently to meet the demand for electricity during peak power times. The sirene indicating that water was being released sounded just as I finished the portage. And what first looked like a stream in a time of drought suddenly became a swollen river with a quick flow.Most experienced paddlers would consider this section of the Catawba a lazy river ride, even with the released water, but the first set of waves I encountered spilled over the bow of my canoe, ruining my phone and camera. The rapids would be considered Class I, if that, and they were fun, although costly. Two hours and 7.5 miles later, after encountering several flat water sections with little flow, I arrived at the public access in Glen Alpine, Burke County, North Carolina. My canoe camping journey completed.Along the way I saw a family of ducks, two deer in the middle of the river, a blue heron the size of a pterodactyl and several swimming groundhogs that I have been told are muskrats. In 24 hours I paddled 21.5 miles, and I endured three miles of portage. During my paddle, I thought about the river, and what I could do to help. I wondered if what I saw would remain for my children and for my grandchildren. I don’t have the answers, but I know the Catawba needs to stay where it is, I know it needs to stay healthy, and I hope we all care enough to make that happen.Brian Plemmons is an outdoor enthusiast and a writer who paddles, climbs, hikes and bikes all across Western North Carolina.last_img read more

Because It’s There

first_imgThe only sound was that of the wind rushing past my ears.Groves of leafless birch and maple and mountain-ash whizzed by in the peripheries.My friend Jess’ old school Cannondale road bike quivered underneath my weight and the speed of the descent. We weren’t just riding downhill – we were flying.It was my first time on a real road bike, and I felt like I was riding less of a bike and more of a fence post on wheels.When is this hill going to end? I kept asking myself, gripping the handlebars.There are two reasons why I find such discomfort in downhills. For starters, I’m inclined to attract rocks, regardless of the activity I’m involved in. Kayaking, mountain biking, heck even hiking. Rogue rocks seemingly always make their way into my path. As my speed continually pushed toward 40mph, I was certain that a loose pebble would find itself just on the edge of my skinny tire and cause me to fly spread eagle down the strip of paved road.Secondly, downhills are only the sign of more climbing to come. We were still about a two hour’s ride from Jess and his wife Theresa’s place outside of Champion, Penn., a ride that would total just over 25 miles. Now, as you all are by now aware of, I’m no biker, and Jess and I hadn’t necessarily set ourselves up for success that day – we were both recovering from mild hangovers and a lack of sleep.“It’s only 25 miles or so,” Jess had casually mentioned at the beginning of the ride, “but 25 miles on backcountry roads in Pennsylvania is like 50 miles anywhere else.”I’m not sure if he was trying to empower me, or scare me, or maybe just inform me. Ultimately, the knowledge that my already throbbing head would likely throb even more as I huffed and puffed up and down the Pennsylvania countryside was an unappealing thought, to say the least.Still, it was an unusually warm and beautiful November day in the north with a high around 65 degrees. There was no sense in sitting around in our dehydrated zombie state – we were both far too active to let a rare nice day slip by unattended.Right from the start we were climbing hills.Unaccustomed to the pace of road cyclists, I tried desperately to maintain my speed, cranking furiously up and up and up until my breathing turned into wheezing which then turned into gasping.“Dude, you flew up that thing,” Jess said once he caught up. “Go slower next time, you’re gonna kill yourself.”Slower? I seriously doubted my abilities to maintain my balance if I went much slower than the sloth-like rate I’d been pedaling. Not only was it my first time on a real road bike, but it was my first time using clipless pedals. If I slowed my momentum, I’d surely topple over and eat pavement.It was just our first climb of the day, and with Jess’ description of the terrain-to-come lingering in the back of my mind, I was already predicting that I’d be walking up hills sooner rather than later.IMG_0294IMG_0301IMG_0302After that first tortuous climb, the road evened out into a flowy combination of ups and downs. We rolled through farmlands, passing by old red barns and fields of livestock and freshly cut corn. Aside from the creaking of the saddle, the click of gears changing, it was quiet. Peaceful. I was finally getting in the rhythm of the ride.“Alright this is the first big downhill,” Jess yelled over his shoulder, interrupting my tranquil state. “Just tuck low, and trust your bike.”Trust my bike? The thing felt like it weighed no more than 50lbs. I’m surprised it hadn’t buckled beneath my body already.Without another word, Jess took off, zooming down the hill and gaining speed at an astronomical rate. I tenaciously rolled forward, allowing gravity to do the pedaling for me. I’d been warned about braking too hard, especially with the front brake. Unwilling to fully commit to the downhill but too nervous to use the brakes, I compromised by tucking and holding on for the ride.Images of my bloodied, battered body lying crumpled on the side of the road flashed through my mind. I was riding neck and neck with cars in the lane beside me – I must have surely clocked close to 45mph.When is this hill going to end?Finally, I saw Jess up ahead bank hard to the right and I followed suit, careful to brake gradually. Jess was all smiles but I’m sure my stricken face matched my white-gripped knuckles.“Dude that was awesome!” he said.I nodded meekly in agreement.We trudged on. My thighs were starting to burn from the climbs. It felt like we were going up more often than coming down (which, subtly, I was grateful for). As we neared the end of our ride, Jess turned to me from his perch in the saddle, smiling from ear to ear.“It’s Snowball Hill then home sweet home.”Just the sound of Snowball Hill made me cringe. I was starting to get shaky. My headache had since subsided, but my body felt taxed, weak. We rounded a bend in the road and all of my worse fears about this ride came to in the form of one long, stout climb – Snowball Hill.“No. Hell no. That’s not happening,” I immediately said. “I have no shame. I’ll walk up that thing.”“No way you’re riding up it,” Jess insisted. “I’m not letting you get off your bike. It’s not that bad.”Not that bad? I had to crane my neck to look up the climb and it didn’t just level out and end where it rounded around a corner out of sight – oh no. This beast should be called Snowball Hills. Up and up and up it wound, relentless in its pitch and twisty curves.We started climbing, but I’d abandoned any hope of actually making it to the top before the gradient had even started to steepen. I pedaled slowly, painfully, focusing all of my energy on matching my breaths with my downward push. My heartbeat was working its way up into my throat, the sweat on my brow dripping down my nose.“Come on you got this,” I kept hearing Jess say but I wasn’t really listening. I was deep inside my brain, pulling every last reserve of mental fortitude to keep trucking forward. My legs could barely complete an entire spin forward, my thighs, my glutes, were screaming. We rounded the bend that was out of sight from the base and I looked ahead at the road, discouraged to find that it didn’t level out as I had prayed it would but continued to climb.And then out of nowhere, I stopped thinking about all of that. I suddenly stopped noticing how bad my legs were killing me or the tweak in my right shoulder or my parched throat and grumbling stomach. It was like an inner-outer body experience – inner in the sense that my only thoughts were of breathing, in, then out, in, then out – outer in the sense that I quit judging our distance by landmarks. I quit caring altogether about how much further we had to go. I powered on, like that climb would never end.Eventually, though, it did.“Yeah Snowball Hill!” Jess said, dismounting his bike and giving me a high-five.I looked around and found the private lane sign that read its namesake off to my right. Seeing it made me feel quite silly, like we’d just exerted our last bit of strength to summit…what…someone’s driveway? It felt so pointless, so futile. All of that work, all of that sweating and cursing, for a climb that was likely less than a mile, for a hill that a car would have cruised up in a matter of seconds.But then I thought about the pioneers of the adventure world and the present-day athletes that continue to push the limits of their bodies and unveil the remote spots on the map. Why did they do it? There’s the argument that some pursue these physical exploits in search of fame or wealth, but I don’t know many athletes who are reeling in riches from kayaking trips or climbing expeditions. No, there must be some other answer.And then, the words of Everest legend George Mallory came to mind from my college honors thesis. When asked, “Why climb Everest?” Mallory responded with,“Because it’s there…If you cannot understand that there is something in man which responds to the challenge of this mountain and goes out to meet it, that the struggle is the struggle of life itself upward and forever upward, then you won’t see why we go. What we get from this adventure is just sheer joy. And joy is, after all, the end of life. We do not live to eat and make money. We eat and make money to be able to live. That is what life means and what life is for.”While Snowball Hill was certainly no Everest, it was definitely a struggle. And so, yes, perhaps we could have spent our hangover recovery day lounging on the couch, watching movies, and nursing our headaches. Perhaps we could have hopped in the car and gone for a Sunday drive around the countryside. But instead, we used our bodies for what they were intended for – to move, to meet challenge, and to overcome those obstacles, one hangover Snowball Hill at a time.last_img read more

Outdoor Updates: 17-acre bog near Pisgah Loop Scenic Highway preserved by Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina

first_imgRead the full story here: http://outdoornewsdaily.com/artists-sought-for-residence-program-at-porcupine-mountains-wilderness-state-park/ Seventeen acres of bog land in Jonas Ridge, bordering the Pisgah Loop Scenic Highway, has been purchased for permanent protection by the Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina. Foothills Conservancy says that Southern Appalachian mountain bogs are rare and contain vulnerable ecosystems. Foothills Conservancy plans to donate the property to the county to own and manage with a N.C. Clean Water Management Trust Fund conservation easement. “It means a lot to me to have that land protected,” said Hazel Shell, former owner of the bog land. “It isn’t being used, and I think Jonas Ridge needs something that residents of Jonas Ridge and all people of Burke County can enjoy.” Michigan’s largest state park, located in the state’s Upper Peninsula, is accepting applications for the Porcupine Mountains Artist-in-Residence Program for residencies in the spring, summer and fall of 2020 and the winter of 2021. The program is open to artists whose work can be influenced by the northern wilderness setting of the park. The finding is a reminder of a dark chapter in American history when 120,000 Japanese Americans were held in ten different concentration camps during the Second World War. Camps operated in California, Arizona, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah and Arkansas. Read the full story here: https://wqad.com/2020/01/04/hikers-in-californias-sierra-nevada-found-the-remains-of-a-japanese-internee-from-world-war-ii/ The Artist-in-Residence Program offers writers, composers and all visual and performing artists an opportunity to experience the beauty of the park and express it through their art form. Residencies last a minimum of two weeks and artists are given the use of a rustic cabin and, if desired, a three-night backcountry permit to explore the 60,000-acre park. Applications are due by Feb. 14, 2020 and can be found at www.Porkies.org/Artist-in-Residence. center_img California hikers find the body of Japanese internee from World War II Got artistic talent and an urge to head north? Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park is seeking an artist in residence. Read the full story here: https://foothillsconservancy.org/2019/12/foothills-conservancy-of-north-carolina-purchases-17-acre-bog-in-jonas-ridge-for-permanent-protection-and-future-public-use/ Two hikers in California’s Sierra Nevada range came across human remains during a hike last October. After reporting their finding to Inyo County, the remains were recovered and identified as those belonging to Giichi Matsumura, a Japanese man who had lived in an internment camp during World War II. 17-acre bog near Pisgah Loop Scenic Highway preserved by Foothills Conservancy of North Carolinalast_img read more

Hike Salem in Virginia’s Blue Ridge

first_img VisitVBR.com | VisitSalemVA.com Explore the region by way of the Roanoke Valley Greenways. More than 30 miles of trails connect Downtown Roanoke, parks, and nearby waterways. These paved and natural surface trails are perfect for a casual walk, run, or bike ride close to town. Stop at Green Hill Park for picnic spots and access to the Roanoke River. At the end of the day, head into the City of Salem for family-friendly patio dining at El Jefe Taqueria or Mac and Bob’s. If you’re looking for craft beer and good times, stop by Olde Salem Brewing Company and Parkway Brewing Company for a taste of the mountains. The Virginia Triple Crown is a must-see while you’re in the area. Hike the Appalachian Trail to Dragon’s Tooth, McAfee Knob, and Tinker Cliffs for three of the most iconic viewpoints in Virginia. They are the perfect spots for a challenging hike with views of the changing leaves. Cover Photo: Hike the Appalachian Trail to Dragon’s Tooth, McAfee Knob, and Tinker Cliffs for three of the most iconic viewpoints in Virginia. Photo by Rochelle Masudal Après Hikecenter_img Discover more trails on foot or bike at Carvins Cove. Known as one of the best mountain biking trail systems in America’s East Coast Mountain Biking Capital, you’ll find more than 60 miles of trail, ranging in difficulty, to ride. You can also fish or paddle the 600-acre reservoir for a new perspective of the natural reserve. Dining at Mac and Bob’s Take Virginia’s Blue Ridge Stay Safe Pledge when you visit the area to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by following social distancing guidelines and wearing a mask when around others. With a location in Downtown Roanoke and the Valley View Mall, Walkabout Outfitters is a one-stop-shop for everything you need out on the trail. Whether you’re looking for something you forgot to pack or need tips on the best hikes in the area, these local outdoor enthusiasts have you covered. Conveniently located near Carvins Cove, Just the Right Gear Bike Shop has you covered for a day in the saddle, including gear, apparel, and advice. After time spent climbing mountains, head underground at Dixie Caverns for views of unique, towering formations. Stop into the antique store and rock shop for a souvenir to remind you of your trip. This fall, visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge to take in the stunning fall colors from the soaring mountain peaks surrounding the Roanoke Valley. This metro mountain destination will keep you busy all day with more than 1,000 miles of trails for hiking, biking, and paddling.last_img read more

United Kingdom Seizes Cocaine

first_imgBy Dialogo December 05, 2014 The National Crime Agency (NCA), Border Force and Irish police seized the drugs, with a street value of more than 40 million pounds (about 62.67 million dollars), after finding them in a banana shipment aboard the Star Stratos. Though no arrests have been made, the NCA believes the shipment was coordinated by an organized crime group. The agency’s Border Policing Command is working in conjunction with Ireland’s police force, known as the An Garda Síochána, to determine who is responsible for the cocaine shipment. In 2012, criminal organizations cultivated more than 60,000 hectares of illegal coca crops in Peru, according to the UNODC’s annual report, “Peru: Cocaine Cultivation Monitoring 2012.” The South American nation is home to 13 coca-growing regions, in which 60,400 hectares are used illegally for coca cultivation, according to the report. In Peru, El Gordo allegedly led a huge criminal network that generated massive profits from the illegal seizure and resale of properties that were legally owned by individuals and the government. He’s suspected of establishing about 50 front companies to launder the money he generated from fraudulent transactions. Law enforcement officials are also investigating El Gordo for alleged narco-trafficking connections. Ninety-three percent of the country’s coca is used for the drug trade, with the remaining plants harvested legally for traditional consumption and industrial use, according to the country’s National Commission for a Drug-Free Life (DEVIDA). Agents with Colombia’s Central Directorate of the Judicial Police and Intelligence (DIJIN), with the assistance of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), arrested him in the city of Cali on November 13. At the time of his arrest, El Gordo, who had been in Colombia for two months, was allegedly producing counterfeit documents so he could flee to Sweden. Peru surpasses its coca eradication goal With a few weeks left in the year, Peru has eliminated slightly more than that target, preventing “more than 233 tons of cocaine from being produced,” the ministry said in a prepared statement, but it did not provide the exact number of hectares destroyed by security forces. Peru has surpassed its 2014 goal of eradicating 30,000 hectares of illegal coca plants – the main ingredient used to make cocaine – the Interior Ministry said on December 2. South and Central American cartels and narco-trafficking groups are targeting Europe because cocaine sells for higher prices than in the United States, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). They’ve used Portsmouth International Port because it serves as a hub for the ferry, cruise and cargo industries that gives them efficient access to France, Spain and the Channel Islands. The NCA has more than 300 border investigators at major ports, while the Border Policing Command has more than 120 officers responsible for more than 150 countries worldwide. Peruvian law enforcement agents have seized 17 estates from Rodolfo Orellana, who was one of the country’s most-wanted fugitives when security forces captured him in Colombia in November and returned him to Peru. They’re looking for the estimated$100 million dollars that Orellana’s network is allegedly hiding, according to the Peruvian daily El Comercio. About 300 kilograms of Colombian cocaine were discovered by security officials in a cargo vessel docked in the United Kingdom’s Portsmouth International Port on December 1. Peruvian security forces seize 17 estates from Rodolfo ‘El Gordo’ Orellana Known as “El Gordo,” Orellana is charged with money laundering and illicit association by the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol). Peruvian law enforcement agents have seized 17 estates from Rodolfo Orellana, who was one of the country’s most-wanted fugitives when security forces captured him in Colombia in November and returned him to Peru. They’re looking for the estimated$100 million dollars that Orellana’s network is allegedly hiding, according to the Peruvian daily El Comercio. About 300 kilograms of Colombian cocaine were discovered by security officials in a cargo vessel docked in the United Kingdom’s Portsmouth International Port on December 1. Peruvian security forces seize 17 estates from Rodolfo ‘El Gordo’ Orellana The NCA has more than 300 border investigators at major ports, while the Border Policing Command has more than 120 officers responsible for more than 150 countries worldwide. Ninety-three percent of the country’s coca is used for the drug trade, with the remaining plants harvested legally for traditional consumption and industrial use, according to the country’s National Commission for a Drug-Free Life (DEVIDA). In Peru, El Gordo allegedly led a huge criminal network that generated massive profits from the illegal seizure and resale of properties that were legally owned by individuals and the government. He’s suspected of establishing about 50 front companies to launder the money he generated from fraudulent transactions. Law enforcement officials are also investigating El Gordo for alleged narco-trafficking connections. Peru surpasses its coca eradication goal Known as “El Gordo,” Orellana is charged with money laundering and illicit association by the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol). Agents with Colombia’s Central Directorate of the Judicial Police and Intelligence (DIJIN), with the assistance of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), arrested him in the city of Cali on November 13. At the time of his arrest, El Gordo, who had been in Colombia for two months, was allegedly producing counterfeit documents so he could flee to Sweden. In 2012, criminal organizations cultivated more than 60,000 hectares of illegal coca crops in Peru, according to the UNODC’s annual report, “Peru: Cocaine Cultivation Monitoring 2012.” The South American nation is home to 13 coca-growing regions, in which 60,400 hectares are used illegally for coca cultivation, according to the report. South and Central American cartels and narco-trafficking groups are targeting Europe because cocaine sells for higher prices than in the United States, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). They’ve used Portsmouth International Port because it serves as a hub for the ferry, cruise and cargo industries that gives them efficient access to France, Spain and the Channel Islands. With a few weeks left in the year, Peru has eliminated slightly more than that target, preventing “more than 233 tons of cocaine from being produced,” the ministry said in a prepared statement, but it did not provide the exact number of hectares destroyed by security forces. Peru has surpassed its 2014 goal of eradicating 30,000 hectares of illegal coca plants – the main ingredient used to make cocaine – the Interior Ministry said on December 2. The National Crime Agency (NCA), Border Force and Irish police seized the drugs, with a street value of more than 40 million pounds (about 62.67 million dollars), after finding them in a banana shipment aboard the Star Stratos. Though no arrests have been made, the NCA believes the shipment was coordinated by an organized crime group. The agency’s Border Policing Command is working in conjunction with Ireland’s police force, known as the An Garda Síochána, to determine who is responsible for the cocaine shipment. “Our investigation into the organized crime groups likely to be responsible for this shipment continues,” Tom Dowdall, the Border Policing Command’s deputy director, told reporters. “Our investigation into the organized crime groups likely to be responsible for this shipment continues,” Tom Dowdall, the Border Policing Command’s deputy director, told reporters. last_img read more

Military Leaders Assemble in Peru, Discuss Mutual Solutions to Global Challenges

first_imgBy Marcos Ommati/Diálogo August 28, 2017 Agradecido al comando Sur por habernos tenido en cuenta a los Sub Oficiales para la participación de este gran evento. Por la presente les felicito por este excelente medio de comunicación, por otro lado les solicito , de ser posible, las ponencias de tan brillante evento, a la espera de sus noticias, saluda atentamente, Dr. José María Oliú Carbonell.- Finding ways to confront global challenges common to virtually every country in the Southern Hemisphere was the main objective of the 2017 South American Defense Conference (SOUTHDEC). The annual event, co-hosted this year by the Peruvian Armed Forces and U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), was held in Lima, the capital of Peru, from August 22nd to 24th. “Threat networks, whether in the form of transnational organized crime, transregional terrorist organizations or violent extremist groups, are predominant throughout the region, and many of them have the world at their fingertips, meaning, they reach far beyond Latin America and the Caribbean,” said U.S. Navy Admiral Kurt Tidd, SOUTHCOM commander. “The activities carried out by U.S. Southern Command support the various operations executed by members of the law enforcement community to dismantle, weaken, or in some way, disrupt these criminal networks that operate within our area of responsibility,” he added during the opening ceremony. Violence and corruption “These groups escalate violence and spread corruption, minimizing the effectiveness of each country’s governance, and signify a real threat to stability in the region,” stated Navy Admiral José Paredes, chief of Defense of the Peruvian Armed Forces. For his part, Peruvian Minister of Defense Jorge Nieto agreed. He told the audience he is working on establishing the Emergency Military Unit (UME, per its Spanish acronym), in order to coordinate the country’s military response to natural disasters, particularly the meteorological phenomenon known as El Niño Costero, which has caused floods, landslides, and other natural disasters throughout the country. Transregional and transnational threats Participating partner nations Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and the United States participated in three round-table events. Colombian Army General Juan Carlos Salazar Salazar, the commander of the Colombian Military Forces Joint Command, moderated the first round table, titled “Illuminating Transregional and Transnational Threat Networks.” “It’s important to remember that the armed forces aren’t there just to complement the activities of each nation’s national police,” he said. Cyber threats Brazilian Air Force Major General Ricardo Reis Tavares, moderated the second panel of discussions, which focused on cyber defense strategies in several countries to combat this type of threats. “In Brazil alone, in the last two years, there has been a 270 percent increase in the number of cyber-attacks. It is still a very new space, without limits, and whose vulnerabilities should be dealt with,” he said, adding that these include crime, terrorism, espionage, and hacking. The third round table addressed the armed forces’ support for humanitarian aid and disaster relief operations. “I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the help provided by our South American brothers and sisters, as well as the United States, through SOUTHCOM, while our population faces such difficult times,” said Adm. Paredes. “In the time we have spent together, we have engaged in stimulating discussions focused on truly global issues. Challenges like illicit networks, cyber security, and humanitarian crises aren’t confined to one location or one particular space. They affect so many countries, regions and hemispheres, and by working together we can defeat this common enemy,” concluded Adm. Tidd. For the first time since the inception of SOUTHDEC in 2010, this year’s edition celebrated a concomitant Senior Enlisted Leaders conference. Noncommissioned officer development is an ongoing effort undertaken by regional militaries in order to professionalize and increase the operational readiness of their NCO corps. SOUTHDEC 2018 will take place in Argentina.last_img read more

Training Ship Esmeralda Fulfills Long-lasting Tradition

first_imgBy Amitai Nadav/Diálogo November 27, 2017 Chilean Navy Captain Patricio Espinoza Sapunar, commander of the training ship (BE, per its Spanish acronym) Esmeralda, described the instructional cruise as “extraordinary.” “I met many personal and professional challenges,” Capt. Espinoza told Diálogo. A highlight of the journey, he said, was the opportunity to “lead this marvelous group of people, made up mostly of young people full of energy and anxious to discover and learn.” After cruising more than 14,000 miles throughout the Americas for five months, the BE Esmeralda finished its 62nd instructional cruise September 30th, 2017, at the port of Valparaíso—and kept up with its training tradition for Navy officers. On board: 290 troops, including 74 midshipmen from the Chilean Navy Academy and 35 sailors from the Chilean Noncommissioned Officers Academy, among others. “I think that my greatest satisfaction is to have returned to the port of Valparaíso without any accidents and with my entire crew,” Capt. Espinoza said. Daily learning “Midshipmen and sailors have theoretical classes every day,” Capt. Espinoza explained. “The material is varied, everything from leadership to ethics, including basic naval officer tasks and obligations of a sailor aboard a warship.” To educate students, the instruction included practical classes on celestial navigation, astronomy, engineering, and malfunction management. “We had to do astronomical calculations, find stars using a sextant, and calculate the vessel’s position,” explained Midshipman Francisca Peñaylillo, one of the 38 women aboard the BE Esmeralda. “At the beginning it was somewhat difficult because of the vessel’s movement and weather conditions. But with experience, calculations came out better and better.” Another challenge included overcoming the fear of heights when climbing the masts—a daytime activity for students. “At the beginning, I had a hard time going up the mast,” Midshipman Peñaylillo said of the four 48.5-meter-high masts. “I was scared of climbing, but with time, I overcame it and got used to it.” One of the great benefits of traveling aboard the BE Esmeralda is the practical experience acquired, such as sailing maneuvers that also reinforce teamwork. “For good teamwork and to be able to have good form during a sailing maneuver, the entire crew needs to work as one,” explained Capt. Espinoza. Sergeant Major Cristián De la Hoz, the vessel’s chief petty officer, reaffirmed the importance of cooperation. “Sheeting a sail is not something that just one person does. It’s done as a team, and we take advantage of that.” Living on a vessel in close quarters for long periods of time was another challenge for the recent graduates. According to Capt. Espinoza, it meant “knowing how to share and maintain a good relationship in places with little space during long periods of navigation, bad weather conditions, and limited communication with relatives.” According to Midshipman Peñaylillo, they overcame that challenge. “We learned to get along with other seafarers […], to get to know people better, to share in situations other than work,” she said. School and embassy On May 7th, the training ship, also known as the “White Dame” because of its white hull, set off from Valparaíso for its instructional cruise. During the tour, the ship visited Balboa and Colón, Panama; Norfolk and Boston, United States; Halifax, Sept-Îles, Charlottetown, and Quebec, Canada; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Cartagena, Colombia; and Iquique, Chile. During its decades of navigation, the BE Esmeralda—the third largest training ship in the world, which is 113 meters long and 13 meters wide—stopped in more than 300 ports as a training ship and floating embassy. Chile acquired the ship from Spain in the 1950s. The BE Esmeralda entered the port of Valparaíso for the first time on September 1st, 1954. The ship fulfilled its diplomatic mission and offered students the opportunity to see different cultures and share their Chilean traditions in the countries visited. The BE Esmeralda also participated in maritime events, such as the 100th anniversary of the Norfolk Naval Base, the Sail Boston 2017 naval parade (both in the United States), and the international Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta, celebrating Canada’s 150 year anniversary. Capt. Espinoza expressed satisfaction at “being able to represent my country along with my people, displaying our flag at sea and in every port we entered, and holding high the good name of Chile and our beloved Navy.” Midshipman Peñaylillo, in turn, was thankful. “I believe this is an experience I will remember for the rest of my life,” she concluded. “I saw new places, made new friends, and one day I hope to return to this vessel as an instructor or as a crew member to tour different places representing my country once again.”last_img read more