quarta-feira, 27 de outubro de 2010
CHIHUAHUA, Mexico, Oct. 27 (UPI) -- The former top prosecutor in Mexico's Chihuahua state says her brother was coerced into making a video accusing her of ordering killings and taking payoffs.
Patricia Gonzalez told the Los Angeles Times she believes police angry at her efforts to end corruption in their ranks kidnapped her brother and forced him to make the video. The video, posted Monday on YouTube, shows Mario Gonzalez in shackles with guns pointed at him.
"During six years, I received threats from police, ex-state police and organized crime groups," Patricia Gonzalez said in an e-mail message to the Times. "The motive for the kidnapping, I believe, is related to revenge by the drug cartels and some state police or ex-police who resisted working with institutional transparency and a new model of justice".
Patricia Gonzalez stepped down this month as attorney general of Chihuahua, Mexico's largest and most violent state.
In the video, Mario Gonzalez says he served as a go-between for his sister and the Juarez drug cartel.
He accuses his sister of ordering the killing of Armando Rodriguez, who had written about their family.
Guinea has scheduled its long-delayed presidential run-off vote for 7 November, according to a presidential decree read out on state TV.
The vote was initially due to be held in July, but street violence and political infighting have forced it to be postponed three times.
An inconclusive result in June elections forced the run-off.
Guineans has been subjected to 52 years of authoritarian rule since it gained independence from France.
Last weekend, the two rival presidential candidates - Alpha Conde and Cellou Dalein Diallo - appealed for calm following two days of violence in the capital, Conakry.
The pair had earlier accused each other's supporters of inciting violence.
Prosecutors in Mexico say gunmen have killed at least 15 people at a car wash in the west of the country.
At least two others were injured in the attack early on Wednesday in Tepic, Nayarit state.
Local media reported that the victims were mostly young men who lived at a drug rehabilitation centre.
Police say rehab facilities are increasingly being targeted by drug cartels who suspect the clinics of harbouring members from rival gangs.Addicts targeted
The attack came only days after gunmen shot more than a dozen recovering addicts in Tijuana, in Baja California.
And in September, 28 patients were killed in attacks on two rehab clinics in Ciudad Juarez.
The victims in that attack were lined up against a wall and murdered in what police said were reprisal killings.
The world's largest soft drink producer Coca-Cola plans to invest some $1 billion in developing its production in Russia, the president of the company's Russia, Ukraine & Belarus Business Unit said on Wednesday.
Zoran Vucinic also said at an international forum in the city of Nizhny Novgorod on the Volga that by 2020 Coca-Cola is to double the volume of its business in Russia.
Nizhny Novgorod has hosted a Coca-Cola drink plant since 1996.
Coca-Cola, based in Atlanta, Georgia, sells its products in over 200 countries. The company entered the market of the Soviet Union in the late 1980s. In 2009, the company said it intended to expand its business in Russia.
LONG BEACH, Calif., Oct. 27 (UPI) -- California Gov.Arnold Schwarzenegger refused once again to take sides in the race to succeed him, calling Meg Whitman and Jerry Brown "great candidates".
Republican Whitman and her Democratic rival, a former governor, appeared Tuesday with Schwarzenegger at the annual women's conference hosted by the governor's wife, Maria Shriver, The Sacramento Bee reported. About 14,000 people attended.
Whitman was booed by many in the audience when she refused Brown's offer of a cease-fire on negative ads, one he made at the suggestion of Matt Lauer, the host of NBC's "Today".
After seven years as governor, Schwarzenegger's popularity is at its lowest ebb, so his endorsement might not help either candidate. The moderate Republican had kind words for Brown's performance as governor from 1975 to 1983 and for Whitman's as CEO of eBay.
"I think that both of them are great candidates," he said.
The race is the most expensive in California history with so many negative commercials Lauer called it a "blood-bath." Whitman has spent a reported $141 of her own fortune.
FORT COLLINS, Colo., Oct. 27 (UPI) -- A teenage boy has been charged in the death of a girl killed by a falling rock while on a hike, Colorado prosecutors said.
The boy, a 15-year-old from Texas, is not being named because he is a juvenile. He was charged Tuesday with reckless manslaughter, the Larimer County district attorney told the Denver Post.
Audra Brownell, 17, of Sparta, Mich., was killed in Estes Park, Colo., on June 17.
She was on a backpacking trip with a youth group from the Rockford Reformed Church in Rockford, Mich., and died instantly from "multiple blunt force trauma," according to the Larimer County coroner, who initially ruled the death an accident.
District Attorney Larry Abrahamson told 9News the boy was with another tour group. He had gone up the cliff ahead of her and kicked rocks loose, causing a 30-pound stone to fall and hit Brownell on the head as she sat next to her boyfriend.
Abrahamson said he believed the act to be unintentional and hoped to reach a plea bargain.
WEST HARTFORD, Conn., Oct. 27 (UPI) -- A young woman is charged with making bomb threats that twice closed a University of Connecticut campus last week.
Kendriana Manning, 19, of East Hartford was arrested Tuesday, the Hartford Courant reported.
The Greater Hartford UConn campus in West Hartford got two e-mails Oct. 19 warning a bomb would explode, police said. Two days later university officials received another, more threatening, e-mail.
The campus was shut down, students evacuated and classes canceled on both days as police searched the buildings and grounds. No bomb turned up either time.
After tracing the e-mails' origins, police arrested Manning. She has been charged with falsely reporting an incident, second-degree breach of peace, first-degree threatening, second-degree harassment and an act of terrorism.
By Evan Halper, Los Angeles Times
Reporting from Sacramento —An eccentric, globetrotting multibillionaire who doesn't own a home in California — or anywhere, for that matter; he says he has little use for owning things — is about to breathe life into efforts to shake up Sacramento.
Nicolas Berggruen will give at least $20 million to a group of Californians who long to restructure state government so it is more responsive to voters, more responsible with public funds and ready to reposition the state to meet the challenges of today's economy.
On Wednesday, he will bring together a who's who of California public policy on the campus of Google — a symbol of California innovation — to announce that he is putting up his millions to help push forward whatever the group agrees upon in the next six months as changes needed to make state government work again.
Berggruen, 49, says he envisions a California government that is competent, flexible and efficient — able to close the innovation and entrepreneurship gap that is emerging between California and places such as Singapore and China.
The members he has chosen for the Think Long Committee for California run the ideological gamut. Reaganite George Schultz and Bush administration veteran Condoleezza Rice will weigh in, as will Democrats Willie Brown and Gray Davis. Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt and Los Angeles philanthropist Eli Broad will also serve on the committee. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will be a guest at the first meeting.
Los Angeles Times
DAMMAM: Saudi Arabia offers new investment opportunities worth $500 billion in energy, transport and industrial projects, Amr Al-Dabbagh, governor of the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority, (SAGIA) announced here on Tuesday.
Speaking to businessmen at Asharqia Chamber, he said the Ministry of Finance has been giving tax exemption incentives to investors in underdeveloped regions of the Kingdom to woo investment and achieve balanced development of regions.
“These incentives are aimed at increasing investment projects in underdeveloped areas such as Jazan and the Northern Border Province,” he said. Al-Dabbagh also disclosed plans to establish new international economic cities in the Kingdom.
He, however, said there is no plan at the moment to establish the Kingdom’s fifth economic city in the Eastern Province. The government has established four economic cities in Rabigh, Madinah, Hail and Jazan.
“Our goal is to make Saudi Arabia one of the top 10 countries in the world in 2010 in terms of competitive investment climate by providing a healthy investment condition and establishing a knowledge-based society,” the SAGIA chief said.
The World Bank declared Saudi Arabia the 13th most competitive country in the world in its annual Doing Business report for 2009, thus ensuring the Kingdom is well poised to achieve its goal of becoming one of the top 10 most competitive countries by 2010.
For the fifth consecutive year, the report ranks Saudi Arabia as the best place to do business in the entire Middle East and Arab world, ahead of Bahrain (20th), the UAE (33rd) and Qatar (39th). The report also ranks Saudi Arabia ahead of advanced economies such as Japan, Germany, France, and Switzerland.
He said SAGIA has been working to speed up the Kingdom’s economic growth by promoting investments in strong areas such as energy. He said the Saudi share in joint investment projects reached SR574 billion ($153 billion) or 51 percent from a total of SR1.13 trillion ($300 billion). About 101,000 Saudis are working at foreign and joint investment projects, he said, adding they represent 27 percent of total workers. Saudization in national investment projects is at 9.9 percent.
He said the total exports of joint investments reached SR109.8 billion while exports from nonoil Saudi investments totaled SR78.1 billion. Joint and foreign investment projects pay monthly salaries worth SR29.3 billion while their total sales reached SR395 billion. Local purchase of these projects totaled SR225 billion.
Serbia's Privatization Agency terminated its contract with Bultsvet, a company owned by controversial Bulgarian tycoon Hristo Kovachki, for the sale of a factory in the town of Leskovac.
The contract concerns the privatization of the Nevena cosmetics factory in the city of Leskovac.
The Serbian Privatization Agency has already terminated contracts it had with 13 of the total of 15 companies owned by Kovachki, the Nevena factory trade union informed. In May 2009 the Agency aborted Bultsvet's contract for the acquisition of metal working factory Metalac Ivanjica.
According to Serbian newspapers, the reason for the contract terminations is that Kovachki has not fulfilled the respective production schedule and welfare program. The Serbian Privatrization Agency had given Kovachki 15 consecutive deadlines before the termination.
"The termination of this contract put an end to the agony of 257 workers, who hadn' t been paid in months", explained Nebojsa Petrovich, Nevena factory union leader, as cited by the Serbian agency BETA.
Kovachki, whose political project in Bulgaria, a centrist party called LIDER, failed to win seats in July's parliamentary election, has diverse business interests, ranging from manufacturing to banking and from energy to retail.
This is not the first time the Bulgarian energy tycoon raises controversy in Bulgaria's neighbor Serbia. In May the Serbian newspaper Blitz mentioned his possible ties with alleged Balkan drug lord Sreten Josic.
Since 2008, Kovachki has been under investigation in Bulgaria for tax evasion estimated by the prosecution at BGN 16 M.
Bulgaria's cabinet paid BGN 54 500 in compensations to two victims of police brutalitiy under the rule of the European Human Rights Court in Strasburg.
The largest amount went to the parents of Gancho Vachkov aka Ganetsa, who was killed in 1999 by a police anti-terrorist task force team.
According to the Court, the operation to arrest Ganetsa was wrongly planned while police used unnecessary force and fired shots without need; the following probe of the killing had many flaws such as failing to collect evidence from officers who were involved in the arrest and to even identify them, along with the coroner's report that suicide could have been a likely cause of death.
"All this shows the total lack of police obeying the law, and taking responsibility for their actions," the magistrates wrote.
The Bulgarian cabinet also ordered Wednesday a payment of EUR 18 000 incompensations to Vasil Petrov from the town of Velingrad. He was arrested during a robbery and shot by two policemen while attempting to escape. He received serious kidney and liver injuries and damage.
Two other people were awarded EUR 11 000 over the slow justice process in the country – Margarita Kotseva has been fired from a psychiatric ward in the city of Veliko Tarnovo in 1996 and her case against the employer is still dragging on; Dimitar Filipov spent two years behind bars on theft charges which have not been proven.
Bulgaria's President, Georgi Parvanov, is the "Octopus" head and Aleksei Petrov's patron, Plamen Nikolov, parliamentary secretary of the socialist cabinet "Videnov"insists.
Nikolov claimed Wednesday that even before the summer 2009 general elections people within the President's institution mulled in a panic different scenarios for failing the future cabinet of the central-right Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB) party.
The former parliamentary secretary further maintains the now-deceased, Iliya Bozhinov, was pressured to assign the rights of his "Taxi C Express" business to Petrov under the secret orders of Parvanov. The President has been promised that in exchange for the favor, the "Octopus" would turn the cab company into a surveillance team serving the interests of the Bulgarian Socialist Party.
Iliya Bozhinov, founder and Chair of Bulgaria's alternative left-wing party "Bulgarian Left Wing," died suddenly in August 2010, while vacationing in a camping site in the Black Sea coast. The cause of death was listed as "serious stomach ailment".
The close ties between Petrov and Parvanov date from the end of the 90s of the last century, Nikolov says, adding one proof is the inclusion of the former undercover agent of the State Agency for National Security (DANS), Aleksei Petrov, in a BSPhigh-level delegation in China.
In April, 2010, the former Member of the Parliament from the right-wing Democrats for Strong Bulgaria (DSB) party, Gen. Atanas Atanasov, stated the President was the one issuing an order to stop the pending dismissal of Petrov from the National Security Services where the latter was employed in 2003.
Aleksei Petrov aka the Tractor was arrested in February during a special police operation, codenamed "Octopus" on a number of criminal charges. Considered one of the top underworld figures after the fall of Communism, Petrov was recently released under house arrest.
CHICAGO, Oct. 27 (UPI) -- Tornado watches and thunderstorm warnings were posted in the mid-Atlantic region Wednesday as a massive storm moved east across the United States.
In the Washington area, the National Weather Service also warned of possible flash floods.
The storm wreaked havoc in the Midwest Tuesday with winds of more than 60 mph in parts of Minnesota.
The NWS reported the low-pressure system shattered records in both Minnesota and Wisconsin. A pressure of 28.20, the equivalent of a Category 3 hurricane, recorded just after 5 p.m. Tuesday in Bigfork, Minn., not only set a record for the state but appears to be the lowest pressure ever recorded in the continental United States not associated with a tornado or tropical cyclone.
By daylight Wednesday, much of northern Minnesota was blanketed with snow, with 9 inches reported in St. Louis County.
Tornadoes were reported in the Chicago area and in Wisconsin, Indiana and Ohio. In a Chicago suburb, a woman survived when a tree uprooted by a tornado crashed into the windshield of her car, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. Possible tornadoes hit in the south.
High winds forced airports across the Midwest to cancel hundreds of flights.