first_imgHelp for Import-Impacted ManufacturersLowell, Mass., June 6, 2005 The New England Trade Adjustment Assistance Center, Inc. (NETAAC), is a government funded non-profit organization that offers cost share assistance for imported-injured manufacturers through grants from the U.S. Department of commerce. NETAACs goal is to help New England manufacturers increase profitability and retain employees while competing with imported products.The New England Trade Adjustment Assistance Centers Executive Director, Richard McLaughlin, is pleased to announce the approval of the new grant from the US Department of Commerce, under the Trade Adjustment Assistance Program for firms. These funds will allow us to continue our efforts within the six New England states, stated Mr. McLaughlin.Annually NETAAC provides grants for business services on a cost shared basis to assist New England manufacturers to compete profitably within foreign import markets. Mr. McLaughlin continued to state the NETAAC has assisted over 1200 New England Manufacturers through this program. To be eligible, manufacturers must show a decline in sales and employment, within the most recent twelve months, due to increasing imports into the U.S. domestic market.The Trade Adjustment Assistance for firms is a federal program, which is regionally managed. NETAAC is one of a network of eleven non-profit Trade Centers nationally. A recent study by The Urban Institute concluded, Participating firms do well as a result of their participation. They found that both sales and employment increased after assistance and at rates significantly better than those of a control group of similar firms did. They attributed this positive result to the depth of breath of technical assistance available through the program as well as the ability to customize the assistance to the individual needs of a firm and to deliver it through the best available outside experts.For more information about the New England Trade Adjustment Assistance Center, you can visit their website at www.netaac.org(link is external). Formal inquiries can be made directly to the center located at 600 Suffolk Street, Fifth Floor North, Lowell, MA 01844 or by calling (978) 446-9870.last_img read more


first_img SANTO DOMINGO — At first glance, Marino Vinicio Castillo RodrÌguez doesn’t look the warrior. Dressed in an impeccable, tailored suit, he’s the epitome of a successful second-generation attorney and grandfather. But when Castillo talks about his fears for his country of nine million inhabitants, the humor drains from his eyes. He said the Dominican Republic is at risk of being overwhelmed by organized crime syndicates from Colombia, Mexico and even Europe. As a leading law-and-order crusader and now the anti-narcotics adviser to President Leonel Fernández Reyna, Castillo has been monitoring and assessing the country’s shifting crime landscape since the early 1990s when Colombian traffickers were using the Caribbean to channel drugs into Florida. “We have clear evidence that the Sinaloa cartel is developing a structure here and we have representatives of European crime groups including from Russia, Ukraine, the Balkans and Italy,” said Castillo, interviewed at his office in Santo Domingo. “Our situation is becoming very grave. The crackdown on the cartels in Mexico and Colombia has pushed the problem to the little islands of the Caribbean, and the cartels are using us as a bridge for smuggling narcotics into America and Europe.” Judging by the record drugs seizures and the rise in drug-related homicides, the problem is growing. Dominican authorities appear to have largely halted drug loads being flown into the country and dumped from low-flying light aircraft for pickup — a preferred delivery method for many years. DNCD reports drug-running flights down dramatically In February, the Dominican Republic’s ambassador in Washington, Anibal de Castro, trumpeted that air interdiction success before a Senate committee, saying “releases of drugs from aircraft in the country” had virtually been eliminated. The decisive factor, said the diplomat, had been the deployment of an OH-58 helicopter equipped with night vision and eight Brazilian-made Embraer Super Tucano patrol aircraft, bought with the assistance of a $93.7 million loan from Brazil’s government development bank. Roberto Lebron Jimenez, spokesman for the Direccion Nacional de Control de Drogas (DNCD), said that before the Dominican military took possession of the new aircraft, authorities reported about 200 clandestine drug-running flights into the country per year. Now, he estimates there are just a handful. However, the drug traffickers have shifted to the sea, exploiting 1,100 miles of Dominican coastline and taking advantage of the country’s strategic role as a container-traffic hub linking the United States, Latin America and Europe. The coastline is hard to lock up. Traffickers use private leisure craft, fishing vessels and often speedboats capable of carrying more than 4,000 pounds of cocaine at a time. Drugs are brought in from Central and Latin America, then dispersed to the United States — often via Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands — or to Europe in commercial maritime traffic. Smaller loads are smuggled out by “mules” or in air cargo. “We are a haven for international tourism, have five major international airports and seven major commercial seaports all with a huge amount of container traffic. And we share the island with Haiti, which is a failed state and where the Colombian cartels have been operating for a quarter of a century,” Castillo said. “It is impossible for us to search each and every container. The volume is just too great.” Dominican cocaine seizures are skyrocketing Recent seizures illustrate the growing problem. In 2011, Dominican authorities confiscated 6,715 kilograms of cocaine — a 48 percent jump from the 4,527 kilos seized the year before. During a two-week period in December 2011, according to official statistics, DNCD police intercepted 1.3 tons in four shipments of cocaine. The international flavor and the mixing of crime syndicates come through frequently with each major seizure and raid. On Feb. 7, Dominican anti-drug authorities arrested 29 people, including five Puerto Ricans and 17 Russians as well as Colombians and Dominicans, and seized 122 kilos of cocaine tagged to be shipped to Puerto Rico. Two luxury villas, several apartments, a cargo ship, a speedboat and an airplane were confiscated as well. The cocaine, found in a villa located in the exclusive Casa de Campo resort near La Romana, was to be loaded onto the Carib Vision, a vessel ostensibly used to transport molasses. The load was destined for Puerto Rico when it was intercepted, the DNCD’s LebrÛn said. On Dec. 15, anti-drug police seized 1,077 kilos of cocaine from a 24-seat Challenger jet about to take off from La Romana on the southeast coast. The aircraft had registered a flight plan for the Belgian city of Antwerp. This time, the police arrested Dutch citizen Johannes Nicolass and British citizen Edgar Rowson, right before the scheduled takeoff. By Dialogo April 02, 2012center_img And last October, DNCD members confiscated 1,098 kilos of cocaine hidden in medical equipment bound for Le Havre, France, from a vessel at the multimodal port of Caucedo. Sinaloa cartel behind drug trade, say officials The amounts of cocaine being seized — thought to be only a fraction of what gets through — are worrying enough. What weighs heavily on Castillo’s mind are signs that the Sinaloa cartel, Mexico’s largest crime syndicate, has targeted the country for expansion. “We are not in a position to cope with this,” he said. Dominican officials blame the Sinaloans for the slaying last August of three Colombians and a Venezuelan in Santiago, 96 miles north of Santo Domingo. The killings were thought to be a reprisal, and the corpses were found in the upscale district of Cerro de Gurabo near where a Spaniard had been killed a few days earlier. Castillo confirms a link to the murders with the Sinaloa cartel, but declined to go into details. He said the presence of the Sinaloans was brought home to authorities when a Mexican national, LuÌs Fernando Bertolucci Castillo — also arrested last August — acknowledged he was a member of that cartel and was in direct contact with drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman. The first public acknowledgment by the Dominican government of the Sinaloa presence came in February when Anibal de Castro told the U.S. Senate, “the Sinaloa cartel is seeking to create a route to Europe using the Dominican Republic.” The Mexican crime presence is not new entirely, Castillo said. In December 1999, Dominican police seized three drug transport planes owned by Mexican drug lord LuÌs Horacio Cano. Castillo said he’s now aware that the Sinaloa cartel controlled a company which in 1999 bought (and has since sold) four state-owned sugar mills during a privatization process. The mills — at Haina, Boca Chica, San LuÌs and Consuello — were all located near seaports, and had access to landing strips. Anti-drug authorities target Cibao region What’s different now is the level of activity, the alliances being formed with local crime gangs, and indications that the Sinaloa cartel intends to operate locally. “They are buying property, from oceanfront residences to hotels and businesses,” Castillo said. DNCD officials said the main focus of the Sinaloa cartel is in El Cibao, the northern region that’s home to nearly half the country’s population as well as its second-largest city, Santiago de los Caballeros. The officials claim that local crime groups, including the Samana crime gang led by Avelino Matias Castro — currently wanted for allegedly ordering the assassination of a Dominican journalist — provide logistical support while helping the Sinaloa cartel to secure precursor chemicals needed for the production of amphetamines. The Mexican presence introduces a new dangerous element, said Castillo, noting the Sinaloa cartel’s notoriously violent history as well as its ability to corrupt. Like its Caribbean neighbors, the Dominican Republic has seen a jump in violent crime and homicides in recent years. From 2001 to 2009, the country’s homicide rate nearly doubled to 23 murders per 100,000 inhabitants. In addition, drug addiction among Dominicans is growing — a consequence, officials believe, of local crime groups being paid by Colombian and Mexican cartels in cocaine as well as cash. Last year, the country recorded 4,173 seizures of crack cocaine alone. For Castillo, the battle is on. “But we need a lot more help,” he said. IF DR. CASTILLO IS SO COURAGEOUS DENOUNCING THE DRUG TRAFFICKERS, THAT IS A REALITY IN DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, THE PRESENCE OF THE DRUG CARTELS, WHY DOESN’T HE DENOUNCE HIS GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS THAT ARE POINTED OUT AS ACCOMPLICES OF THESE CARTELS, HE SHOULD HAVE A MORE SERIOUS STANCElast_img read more


first_imgSayNopeToDope NZ Media Release 12 June 2020An analysis by the Police Association of the cannabis referendum and the possible legislation that would result from legalisation has raised significant concerns around continued gang presence and difficulties in enforcement.In the article in the June edition of Police News, concerns raised by the Police Association include:Difficult for voters to understand the legislationLimiting potency will simply empower the gangsMixed messaging around enforcementPolice will be open to accusations of bias or inconsistencyHome grows will be difficult to police – and difficult to tell the difference between home grow and dealerThe proposed controls will result in gangs remaining significant playersWith the help of senior lawyers, the SayNopeToDope campaign has also analysed the proposed legislation. Our 4-page summary, Analysis – Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill, highlights significant concerns around:home grows, and the large quantities that can be grownconsuming drugs at home in front of children and young peoplehigh quantities of purchase and possessionage restrictions which will be difficult to enforce, as already evidenced by tobacco & alcoholhome production of edibles and dabbing e.g. butane hash oil (already an issue in NZ and overseas)restrictions on potency which will be difficult to enforce and will empower the black marketdifficulties for councils to ban pot shops in their local areasincreased regulation which will mean increased demand for policing (rather than a reduction as argued)education and prevention is mentioned, but only in relation to usesignificant concerns around workplace impairmentcontradicts our SmokeFree 2025 policyThe analysis is also available online https://saynopetodope.org.nz/2020/05/01/control/Coalition member and ex-Detective Senior Sergeant Dave Pizzini says “The biggest irony of the proposed legislation is that cannabis is actually a driver of crime and road trauma. Why would we open the floodgates on a substance that is harmful to young people, workplace safety, and our already overloaded mental health services.”ENDSlast_img read more


first_imgCOLOMBO (Reuters) – Former Sri Lanka batsman Chamara Silva has been banned for two years from all cricket-related activities for misconduct and violating ‘spirit of the game’ during a domestic match, the country’s cricket board said on Sunday.Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) had formed an enquiry committee to investigate potential fixing angle in a Tier B first class match between Silva-led Panadura Cricket Club and Kalutara Physical Culture Club which saw unusual scoring rate.“… two teams have been found guilty of misconduct and not playing to the spirit of the game, and NOT of match fixing,” SLC said in a statement.While Silva and counterpart Manoj Deshapriya have been suspended for two years, all other players and coaches have been handed a one-year ban from cricket.The match has been declared null and void, while each club has been slapped with $3300 (£2,428) fine.Silva has played 11 Tests and 75 one-dayers for Sri Lanka, the 37-year-old’s last international outing being a Twenty20 match against Pakistan in 2011.Caption: Chamara Silva has played 11 Tests and 75 ODIs for Sri Lankalast_img read more


first_imgMASON CITY — The City Council in Mason City last night unanimously approved the details of the first bid package to start the process of constructing a multi-purpose arena as part of the River City Renaissance project. The arena will be constructed in the space formerly occupied by JC Penney on the west end of Southbridge Mall.The 13-day bidding period started back on December 28th with bids due for this package on January 10th.  Matti Roinila is an architect with ICON Architectural Group of Grand Forks North Dakota, the group selected to design the arena. He says the first bid package involves demolition and excavation of the arena site. The first bid package includes things like: electrical demolition; mechanical demolition; concrete slab, exterior wall and interior partition demolition; and earthwork and mass excavation. “Anything that can’t be re-used in the new facility will be demoed out.”Councilman Tom Thoma asked if the trade tariffs could have an impact on the bids on the project. Roinila says while nothing is out of the question with the project, it is a possible reality within the construction industry, but the timing and scope of the project may help. “It hasn’t gone to the full extent that a lot of us thought it might have in the past six months. Regardless, I think where we are in this bidding climate right now is very advantageous. Not too many winter projects during winter months have an enclosed building that you can do excavation, you can do concrete footing work. That’s a very big advantage of this project has in having somewhat of a controlled environment to do some of the initial legwork versus doing it in the winter months.”Some have raised concerns about the impact of businesses leaving Southbridge Mall in the recent months would have on financing the project. Councilman Paul Adams asked Community Development Director Steven Van Steenhuyse to once again explain that the portion of the project’s financing from the Iowa Reinvestment Act deals with new taxes generated from the components of the River City Renaissance project. Adams asked, “The grant from the Iowa Economic Development Authority is hotel/motel tax and state sales tax that is rebated back from the state to the city only on the new hotel, only on the new arena, and only on the convention space correct?” Van Steenhuyse replied that it also included and tax revenue generated by the indoor/outdoor performing arts pavilion on the mall’s north side. “Any sales tax generated from any other business within the district don’t count toward that.”The City Council is scheduled to approve the lease on the arena space with Southbridge Mall management at the council’s January 15th meeting. You can watch video from last night’s council meeting by clicking on the video player belowlast_img read more