New Delhi: The poll of polls of exit polls done by NDTV predicted 302 seats for the BJP-led NDA, 122 for the Congress-led UPA and 118 for “non-aligned” parties. The poll of polls predicted BJP making major gains in Odisha and West Bengal, two states where it has been relatively weak but where it put a lot of effort to gain ground. It predicted that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will win 10 seats in Odisha and 14 in West Bengal. Odisha’s ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD), it said, was likely to win 10 seats while West Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress was predicted to win 26 seats. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss account details under automatic exchange framework However, it predicted that the BJP-led NDA will suffer losses in Uttar Pradesh and will get 49 seats compared to 73 seats it won in 2014. The grand alliance of the Bahujan Samaj Party, the Samajwadi Party and the Rashtriya Lok Dal was poised to win 29 seats in the state while the Congress was likely to win only two seats. In Bihar, it predicted that the ruling NDA will sweep the polls winning 32 seats, while eight will be won by the Grand Alliance that includes the Rashtriya Janata Dal, Congress and other parties. Also Read – Afghan Taliban frees 3 Indian hostages in exchange for 11 top militant leaders: Reports The BJP-Shiv Sena combine was predicted to suffer some losses in Maharashtra where its tally is expected to come down from its 2014 tally of 42 to 36. The Congress-NCP combine, it said, was likely to win 11 seats in the state. The poll of polls predicted significant gains for the DMK-led front in Tamil Nadu, predicting that it will win 27 seats compared to 11 by the AIADMK-led front that includes the BJP. It predicted that the Congress-led UDF was poised to win 14 seats in Kerala while five seats would be won by the ruling LDF and one by the BJP. It predicted the BJP retaining its dominance in Gujarat, Rajasthan (it won all seats in the two states 2014) and Madhya Pradesh. The poll of polls projected that BJP is likely to win 24 seats in Madhya Pradesh, 23 in Gujarat and 22 in Rajasthan. The Congress is expected to win five in Madhya Pradesh and three each in Gujarat and Rajasthan, the poll of polls said. In Andhra Pradesh, it said that the Telugu Desam Party was poised to win 10 seats and the YSR Congress 15. In Chhattisgarh, it predicted that the BJP was poised to win six seats compared to five by the Congress. The poll of polls predicted the BJP almost repeating its performance in Haryana and Karnataka. It predicted eight seats out of 10 seats for BJP in Haryana and 19 in Karnataka and two and nine respectively for the Congress in the two states. The poll of polls said that the ruling TRS was likely to win 14 seats in Telangana, while two seats could be won by the Congress and one by the BJP. It predicted that Congress would win eight seats in Punjab and the SAD-BJP combine will win four and the AAP one. In Jharkhand, the tally is likely to be eight for the NDA and five for opposition alliance that includes the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) and the Congress. In Delhi, the poll of polls predicted six seats for the BJP and one for the Congress.
Rabat – A Muslim woman in Hijab was the victim of a racial attack last week in Montreal, Canada, as she was trying to take the subway to work.The woman, identified as Hanane Mehdi, said her attacker, another woman, made racist comments and attacked her physically.She told Canadian media that she was on a crowded subway car when the woman came up to her and started yelling at her and pushing her. “You veiled women should return to your country,” the woman reportedly told her. In an interview with local television station TVA, Mehdi said she tried not to respond. However, the attack resumed when the tube arrived at another stop.“Suddenly I see the lady who attacked me,” she told TVA. “She started hitting me in the face, which got all red. I felt her hitting me from behind until people got involved.”Her 9-year-old daughter, Marwa, became upset when her mother arrived home with bruises all over her head.“I was so scared I was sick,” Marwa said in French. “I didn’t know it could happen to my mother and I almost cried because I love my mom and I don’t want that to happen to her.”Mehdi Hassan has reportedly filed a complaint against the perpetrator. An investigation is under way as police examine the subway’s surveillance camera footage.
WASHINGTON — U.S. long-term mortgage rates rose moderately this week, remaining at historically low levels that can lure potential purchasers in the spring homebuying season.Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average rate on the 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage increased to 4.12% from 4.08% last week. Two weeks ago, the benchmark loan rate marked its steepest weekly drop in a decade, from 4.28%.The average rate on the 30-year loan stood at 4.42% a year ago.The average rate this week for 15-year, fixed-rate home loans rose to 3.60% from 3.56%.The Associated Press
NORWALK, Conn. — Hearst Corp. executive Mike DeLuca has been named as president and group publisher of Hearst Connecticut Media Group.DeLuca will have oversight of the company’s eight daily newspapers in the state, including the Connecticut Post and New Haven Register, as well as 14 weekly newspapers and four magazines.DeLuca previously was executive vice-president of ad sales for Hearst Newspapers. He also will continue to lead LocalEdge, a unit of Hearst Media Services that provides marketing leads to businesses.Jeff Johnson is president of Hearst Newspapers. He said DeLuca’s record as a media executive and advertising sales leader will help “further the mission to expand news operations in Connecticut.”The Associated Press
Meanwhile CID sources said that more illegal detention centers could exist at other locations around the country.According to CID sources, even if such detention centers are in operation within camps, they cannot be subjected to inspection without a court order. (Colombo Gazette) The Working Group visited the Navy Base in Trincomalee and the underground cells used in the past to secretly detain people. It also met with the CID officers who are investigating the case of 11 individuals who were abducted in Colombo in 2008 and brought to Trincomalee. ITJP says it is prepared to the release the names and ranks of 10 naval members whom survivors state were involved in torture at this site, as well as the details of an officer and other guards present who were fully aware of the torture going on.According to ITPJ, some detainees were taken from Point Pedro in Jaffna to the Trincomalee detention center and ITPJ says it has the names of the Point Pedro personnel involved in transporting detainees to Trincomalee.It also revealed the names of two marine intelligence officers allegedly in charge of the Trincomalee secret site from 2009-2012. Now an organization led by Yasmin Sooka, a former member of the UN Expert Panel on Sri Lanka, also known as the ‘Darusman panel’ says it has the names of the Navy officers involved in transporting detainees to the Trincomalee camp. The International Truth and Justice Project (ITJP) of which Yasmin Sooka is the Executive Director, said it has given the UN Working Group gave the GPS coordinates for the location of the secret cells in the camp (GPS: 8’33’26’13 N, 81’14’32’87 E) and the names of naval intelligence officers whom witnesses say were in charge of the site.This information as well as detailed site sketches by survivors was shared by ITJP with WGEID in a confidential written submission before their visit to Sri Lanka. ITPJ says the Government must question the Naval Commanders in office during this period to ascertain if they knew of the existence of this secret detention site. More details have surfaced on the secret cells said to have being in operation at the Trincomalee Navy camp, including the names of the Navy officers alleged to have been involved in taking detainees to the site.The Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, which concluded a visit to Sri Lanka last week, said that the detention cells at the Trincomalee Navy camp could not have been in operation without the knowledge of the top officials.
The opening address would be delivered by the Prime Minister. Other speakers include Jeevan Gnanam – Chairman SLASSCOM, Heidi Austlid – CEO IKT Norge, Jostein Magnussen – Founder Netlife Research, Finn Worm-Petersen – CEO Tiqri, Dag Honningsvag – Chairman 99X Technology, Stein Inge Haaland, CEO – Embla Innovation and Mangala Karunaratne, Founder & CEO Calcey Technologies.The industry and company presentations will be followed by a panel discussion moderated by Dag Honningsvag. SLASSCOM will also host a Business Networking Event on 3rdOctober in association with IKT Norge and the Seafood Exporters Association at The Gallery, Mesh for business leaders and visiting delegates. He is scheduled to visit Oslo from 3rd to 5th October accompanied by the Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development and Rural Economic Affairs Wijith Wijayamuni Zoysa. The ICT Investment Roundtable is planned for 5th October and is organized by IKT Norge (ICT Norway), SLASSCOM and the Sri Lanka Embassy in Oslo. Jeevan Gnanam and delegates from multiple SLASSCOM member companies also participated in the Oslo Innovation Week held during 23-28th September. Three startup companies, Park and Pay, SixerVideo and Tracified, selected through DisruptAsia 2018 were also given the opportunity by IKT Norge to be highlighted on a global stage at the Oslo Innovation Week.Meanwhile, SLASSCOM in association with Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and the Sri Lanka Embassy in Sweden will host an event on 1st October to promote the “Island of Ingenuity – Sri Lanka Knowledge Services” brand, at the Embassy in Stockholm.The event is being done as part of the Economic Diplomacy Programme of the Foreign Ministry led by Ravinatha Aryasinha, Additional Secretary – Economic Affairs and Trade. The event is organized by Sudantha Ganegama Arachchi, Ambassador Designate to Sweden, Harsha Vithanaarachchi, Chargé d’affaires, Sri Lanka Embassy in Sweden and Leif Ohlson, Secretary General Sweden-Sri Lanka Business Council. There will also be multiple case studies to highlight this relationship over the years. Thomas Sald, Senior Vice President Research & Development, will present a case study on IFS, a Swedish IT company operating in Sri Lanka since 1997which currently employs over 1,000 knowledge workers. Klas Arvidson, Business Development Manager for Creative Software, will present a case study on Cambio Healthcare. During his visit, Jeevan Gnanam will also engage in discussions with local trade chambers and visit the Kista Science City. (Colombo Gazette) Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is to visit Norway where he will have talks with the Norwegian Government and others.The Sri Lanka Association for Software and Services Companies (SLASSCOM) said that as part of the visit SLASSCOM will host multiple events in Norway and Sweden with the participation of the Prime Minister. At the event, Jeevan Gnanam will speak on the world-class talent and collaboration opportunities in Sri Lanka for Swedish software development companies, corporates and SMEs. Leif Ohlson will elaborate on some of the challenges facing the Swedish technology industry and Sri Lanka’s potential to address these.
ALBANY, N.Y. — New York officials seeking additional cleanup of the Hudson River have filed a promised lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.The federal lawsuit filed Wednesday seeks to overturn the EPA’s decision in April to give General Electric Co. a “certificate of completion” for its removal of polychlorinated biphenyls from the upper Hudson River.Boston-based GE discharged tons of PCBs from factories north of Albany decades ago and completed removal of 2.75 million cubic yards (2.1 million cubic meters) of contaminated river sediment in 2015.But Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Attorney General Letitia James, both Democrats, have said PCB contamination in the river remains unacceptably high.An email message seeking comment was sent to the EPA. In April, agency officials said more time and testing are needed to fully assess the $1.7 billion cleanup.The Associated Press
You can find a lot of things on Kijiji, but a neutron beam from a nuclear reactor isn’t one of them.That’s why a team of Canadian scientists, headed up by Brock University Associate Professor of Physics Thad Harroun, is travelling to Sweden next week in hopes of striking up a partnership to access the European Spallation Source (ESS), a neutron beam source facility being built there.The meetings are meant to prepare for next year’s closure of Canada’s National Research Universal nuclear reactor in Chalk River, Ont.The 60-year-old reactor — the world’s oldest operating research reactor — is slated to shut down in March 2018, after which Canadian and other scientists will no longer be able to use the highly specialized equipment in their experiments.“We understand the decision, but we’re a casualty of that decision,” says Harroun, who is President of the Canadian Institute for Neutron Scattering and a working group leader within the Canadian Neutron Initiative (CNI).Harroun says until another Canadian nuclear research facility is built, “We’d like to press the Canadian government to put in a stop-gap emergency measure so that we can continue our research elsewhere.”That could mean the government purchasing ‘beam time’ at a foreign facility, as well providing upgrades to the nuclear reactor at McMaster University, says Harroun.The CNI has its eye on Sweden’s European Spallation Source, a highly sophisticated facility under construction in the southern Swedish city of Lund that is expected to “both greatly exceed and complement today’s leading neutron sources,” says the ESS website.The CNI has asked the federal government for $24 million over the next three years and $19 million a year between 2021 and 2029 to purchase experimental time and expertise at foreign laboratories such as the one in Sweden, as well as upgrading the nuclear reactor at McMaster.Harroun says a neutron beam source is very important “for the basic discovery science that impacts everyone researching materials.”A neutron beam is made up of a stream of neutrons that chemists, biologists and physicists use to study their various samples of everything from metals and polymers to nano-structures, drugs and foods. The beams come from nuclear reactors and particle accelerators.“We use it much like an X-ray beam to study the atomic structure of cell membranes,” says Harroun, who uses neutron beams in his cell membrane research.He says the beams are “especially suited” for biological and other specimens that contain a lot of hydrogen.“Neutron beams have key advantages in scientific research: They’re non-destructive; they penetrate through materials really well; and they’re the only one that probes magnetic structures,” says Harroun.The Canadian Neutron Beam Centre lists examples of past neutron beam research that benefits many Canadians, including:Development of light metals to reduce vehicle emissions for internal combustion engines.Analysis of nuclear power plant components to improve reliability and safety.Measurement of the hydrogen storage capacity of materials to support a shift to hydrogen-powered transport.Development of targeted nanoparticles to enhance drug treatments.The soon-to-be-closed National Research Universal nuclear reactor in Chalk River had put Canada on the world research map.Canadian Bertram Brockhouse shared the 1994 Nobel Prize in Physics for breakthrough neutron scattering research he conducted at the facility.In addition to the Chalk River facility, Canadian researchers currently use a small amount of foreign neutron beam sources, including France’s Institut Laue-Langevin and the NIST Center for Neutron Research near Washington, D.C.Through an agreement funded by the Canada Foundation for Innovation and McMaster University, some additional research is done at the Spallation Neutron Source in the U.S. But that agreement is also set to expire next March.“We’re really under the gun,” says Harroun. “Unless there’s special intervention, Canadian researchers are going to be shut out of the whole neutron beam research world pretty soon, making it that much harder for us to do our experiments.”
Iman Shumpert has been rapping since he was a fledgling, so when asked about other “NBA rappers” he wasn’t very impressed. For example, Shumpert had this to say about one of the NBA’s most notable MCs-Metta World Peace, “Oh, he’s horrible. He is horrible.”Shumpert has a theory, “There’s a difference between guys who rap and ‘NBA rappers’.”In the video, Shumpert takes a moment to explain why “NBA rappers” are so bad and why he proclaims himself the best rapper in the league.
Pollution sonore : les vols de nuit réservés aux avions les moins bruyantsFrance – L’Autorité de contrôle des nuisances sonores aéroportuaires (Acnusa) vient de rendre son rapport annuel. Elle préconise notamment de réserver les vols de nuit aux avions les moins bruyants, c’est-à-dire ceux qui respectent les normes en vigueur depuis 2006.Alors que la question des vols de nuit et surtout des nuisances sonores qu’ils engendrent “est aujourd’hui au cœur des préoccupations des riverains”, l’Acnusa demande qu’elle soit placée au centre d’une “nouvelle discussion prenant en compte la totalité de la période de huit heures de sommeil”.L’autorité souhaite que, d’ici fin 2014, seuls les avions du chapitre 4, à savoir ceux qui répondent aux normes en vigueur depuis 2006, soient autorisés à voler la nuit. Et de souligner que “le respect de la tranquillité des riverains doit également se traduire par le recouvrement effectif des amendes”.Ayant pouvoir de sanction, l’Acnusa a infligé 331 amendes en 2009, correspondant à un total de près de 3 millions d’euros. Un important recul par rapport à l’année 2008, lors de laquelle 454 amendes avaient été prononcées pour un montant total de plus de 4 millions d’euros. Toutefois, l’Autorité déplore que plus de la moitié de ces amendes restent aujourd’hui impayées.Dans son rapport, l’Acnusa s’inquiète égalementdes questions d’urbanisation autour des aéroports, précisant qu’elle “a malheureusement pu vérifier combien l’urbanisation autour des aéroports est loin des préoccupations du ministère de l’Écologie” avant de se déclarer “très préoccupée par la situation autour de l’aéroport de Paris-Orly”. En effet, alors que d’après la Direction générale de l’aviation civile (DGAC), entre 30.000 et 50.000 logements situés à proximité des aéroports français n’ont pas encore été insonorisés, il est désormais possible d’augmenter la capacité de logements dans un périmètre exposé aux nuisances sonores de l’aéroport d’Orly.En 2010, l’Acnusa devrait être chargée du contrôle de la pollution atmosphérique autour des aéroports. Pour pouvoir gérer de manière efficace cette nouvelle compétence, elle réclame au gouvernement une augmentation de ses moyens. Si aucune augmentation de budget ne lui est accordée, elle “ne sera pas en mesure d’assumer à la fois la procédure des amendes, les contrôles et les études à mener tant sur le bruit que sur la qualité de l’air” souligne-t-elle dans une lettre adressée à Nicolas Sarkozy.Le 17 avril 2010 à 18:03 • Emmanuel Perrin
Posted: May 3, 2019 00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave SettingsPOWAY (KUSI) – A massive show of love and support in Poway tonight as members of the Chabad of Poway synagogue arrived to observe their first Sabbath since last Saturday’s deadly shooting.KUSI’s John Soderman is in Poway with more on this story.Earlier today: 00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave SettingsPOWAY (KUSI) – When sundown comes, Shabbat will begin, the start of the Jewish Sabbath. Tonight, there were special prayers of remembrance all across San Diego for the victims of the synagogue shooting in Poway.KUSI’s Sasha Foo has more on the story. KUSI Newsroom, KUSI Newsroom May 3, 2019 Chabad of Poway observes first Sabbath since Saturday’s deadly shooting Categories: Local San Diego News FacebookTwitter
Poverty activists and the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance are planning to rally at the state Capitol Thursday in support of an expiring state law that they say has been a huge help in curtailing homelessness.They were taken by surprise when a move to extend the law, seen to have a broad base of support, was abruptly killed during a Senate committee hearing late last week.“We don’t want to go back to the days when we had twice as many homeless folks downtown,” said Andy Silver, the executive director of Clark County’s Council for the Homeless. “We have made such progress, we don’t want to go in the wrong direction.”Beginning at 10 a.m., supporters of the law will bang a gong 5,043 times to recognize each individual who was counted as living outside in Washington state on the night when the 2013 “Point in Time” count, a federally mandated census of the homeless, was taken.A spokesman confirmed that Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver, will join the rally — a move that underlines how much bipartisan support the bill has enjoyed.
KEY WEST, FLA. (WSVN) – Key West International Airport has announced that they will resume commercial service Wednesday.Officials said commercial flights will be on a limited schedule the first few days and recommend that travelers contact their airlines for specific information.“I’m very proud of the hard work and dedication that the airport maintenance employees have shown over the course of this trying time,” Monroe County Airports Director Donald DeGraw said in a press release. “We are excited to start commercial service and serve our valued customers.”The airport has been closed for 12 days due to Hurricane Irma and the damage the storm caused.Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
2019 Toyota Camry Review #8 @Toyota_Hybrid TS050 wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the second time this Super season! Well done to @alo_oficial, @kazuki_info and @Sebastien_buemi!#WEC #SuperFinale #LeMans24 pic.twitter.com/fEgnzaxiRc— 24 Hours of Le Mans (@24hoursoflemans) June 16, 2019 Post a comment Toyota Also taking home class wins were the No. 36 Signatech Alpine (LMP2); No. 51 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE (GTE Pro) and the No. 85 Ford GT of Keating Motorsports (GTE Am class). The win was something of a redemption for the Blue Oval, as the automaker’s own factory-backed effort failed to finish better than fourth place in GTE Pro in the car’s last race.For full race results, see the race’s official site, 24LeMans.org. 0 Roadshow Car Culture Toyota More From Roadshow 2020 Toyota Corolla review: More emotional, still sensible 2020 Toyota 4Runner first drive: Same as it ever was — mostly Tags Enlarge ImageToyota took 1-2 at the grueling 24 Hours of Le Mans, just not in the expected order. Toyota It was a foregone conclusion, yet it was anything but. On Sunday, Toyota’s Gazoo Racing team notched its second 1-2 victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in as many years. It’s an impressive achievement and Toyota’s was a dominant performance. Yet the win didn’t come without some surprises, including a costly final-hour gaffe that resulted in the longtime race-leading car No. 7, of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José Maria López, slipping into second place.It was no surprise that the pair of Toyota TS050 hybrid racers would dominate the 87th running of France’s legendary endurance race from the opening laps to the close of the 24th hour. They were the only factory-backed cars contesting the top-tier LMP1 class. But a final-hour puncture (the second in as many hours) and some pit-lane drama centering on a bum tire sensor triggered the replacement of the wrong wheel, costing the No. 7 car a storybook victory. Instead, the No. 8 car of Fernando Alonso, Sébastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima, took the checkered flag, taking the FIA WEC series win in the process. Toyota’s 1-2 finishing order results mirror those of last year. Share your voice
Stay on target The Fast & Furious franchise is back in our lives this week with Hobbs and Shaw, and we couldn’t be happier. Sometimes you just want to watch a bunch of cool vehicles do flips and smash into each other with a wisecrack or two in between. Cars have been intertwined with geek culture for quite some time, and we decided to do a rundown of the sweetest toy rides on the market so you can build up your garage and run some wacky races.Hot Toys Movie Masterpiece Batmobile TumblerEach generation’s Batman media gives them a Batmobile that reflects the spirit of the times, from the TV show’s tricked-out hot rod to Christopher Nolan’s heavily militarized Tumbler tank, taken from Frank Miller’s apocalyptic future designs. The Tumbler is one of the most terrifying gadgets ever deployed by the Dark Knight, an armored juggernaut designed to take the worst that crime has to offer and throw it back in their face. This Hot Toys replica is built at 1/6 scale (so it works with their foot tall Batman figure) and features tons of moving parts and light-up elements.AdChoices广告Get it at AmazonFunko Pop Michael Knight With K.I.T.T.One of our first geek culture car crushes was on the heavily modified Pontiac Firebird Trans Am co-star of Knight Rider. Speaking with the voice of William Daniels, K.I.T.T. (which stood for Knight Industries Two Thousand) was a sleek black road hog equipped with a panoply of weapons and gadgets. This Funko rendition sacrifices a little bit of realism in the Hasslehoff driver but doesn’t skimp on the car itself, which is super detailed. The wheels don’t move but you wouldn’t want it driving away on its own so that’s probably OK.Get it at AmazonLEGO Ecto-1The converted hearse that the Ghostbusters speed into action in is one of the most iconic vehicles in movie history, and now you can build your own in LEGO form. The Ecto-1 kit comes with minifigures of the four original paranormal investigators, proton packs and traps at the ready. The car itself was one of the most requested sets from LEGO Ideas, the program that lets superfans vote on licenses they want the company to acquire. Removable roof, logo panels, tracking computer and more make this a reasonably challenging build that measures over seven inches long when it’s finished.Get it at AmazonPlush CatbusOkay, we might be pushing the definition of “car” beyond the limits here, but the Catbus from Studio Ghibli’s classic My Neighbor Totoro is technically a vehicle that runs on roads and carries passengers, so it qualifies. This rendition of the spirit vehicle that carries Totoros from place to place (and helps Satsuki find Mei in the film’s climax) measures ten inches long and comes with a door in the side so you can put the included stuffed Totoro inside for long trips to dreamland.Get it at AmazonDiamond Select DeLorean Time MachineJohn DeLorean’s venture into the auto manufacturing world was doomed for failure almost from the beginning, but at least it gave us the iconic ride featured in the Back to the Future trilogy. The DeLorean’s unique gull-wing doors and chrome body made it the perfect platform to throw a bunch of tech on and travel through time. This Diamond Select movie replica has a ton of cool features, including wheels that pivot down from their wells and multiple light and sound features for added realism. Measures a little over fourteen inches long and accommodates 3 3/4 scale action figures.Get it at AmazonRemote Controlled Party VanWhere exactly the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles kept their vehicles parked is one of the franchise’s most enduring mysteries — anybody who has ever been cursed with a car in New York City knows that alternate side parking is no joke, and it’s not like they can just drive the Party Van into the sewers. Maybe you can, though, with this remote controlled replica of the martial arts quartet’s most recognizable ride. The Party Van was introduced in the cartoon series in 1987 and has been a steady presence ever since. This rendition has a range of over 100 feet for all your Foot Clan smashing needs.Get it at AmazonWarthog With Master ChiefIt’s fair to say that the addition of vehicles was the cherry on top of the original Halo, taking Bungie’s whip-tight console shooting and incorporating an element of chaos as the balloon-tired Warthogs bounced across the landscape. In the intervening years it’s become one of the most recognizable FPS rides in video game history, and if you want to own one for yourself now’s your chance. This massive toy measures almost two feet long from end to end and comes with a Master Chief that fits behind the wheel — or behind the chaingun if you’re feeling frisky.Get it at AmazonThe Spy Who Loved Me Lotus Esprit ModelJames Bond is a dude who is well-known for having a garage full of marvelous toys, and while some may prefer the iconic Aston Martin, we have a soft spot for the amphibious Lotus Esprit he drove in The Spy Who Loved Me. When Bond and KGB agent Major Anya Amasova are making their escape from Stromberg’s base in Sardinia, the bad guys give chase until 007 flips a switch and takes the wheels off to plunge the Lotus into the ocean – and then shoots a missile at the pursuing helicopter. This die-cast metal model of the sweet Q-built ride in aquatic mode is durable and detailed.Get it at AmazonBreaking Bad Pontiac Aztek ReproductionTruly great fiction writers know that the devil is in the details, and sometimes a single prop can tell you more about a character than a dozen lines of dialogue. Case in point: the 2004 Pontiac Aztek driven by Walter White in Breaking Bad. The short-lived crossover vehicle was a flop on the market, and despite having some great features never found its niche. This replica from Greenlight mimics the series’ prop expertly, including having one wheel different from the others and blue tape around the windshield after one of many replacements.Get it at Amazon1/18 Scale Dom’s Dodge ChargerThere are a bunch of memorable vehicles in the Fast and Furious franchise, but if we had to pick one — and we did — our money’s always on the classic American muscle car. Dom Toretto’s trusty black 1970 Dodge Charger was built by the driver and his dad and hit the quarter mile at the Los Angeles County Raceway in nine seconds flat. Although he wrecks it at the end of the first movie, it makes a triumphant comeback a few films later. This is an incredible die-cast rendition of the car with doors that open and tons of chrome detailing where it counts.Get it at AmazonMad Max Interceptor KitOne of our only complaints about Fury Road (aside from the fact that we haven’t seen a sequel yet, although George Miller promises that one is coming) is that Max didn’t get to spend a lot of time behind the wheel of his Pursuit Special Interceptor. In fact, we only see the car briefly in the final chase, where it’s seemingly crushed between two of Immortan Joe’s fleet. Hope springs eternal that Max and his mechanics can build it again, but if they can’t you can with this model kit from Aoshima. The sculpt contains tons of cool details, including the extra fuel tanks and seat for the dog added by Max.Get it at AmazonErtl Mach 5One of the first car-centric geek properties of all time, Speed Racer helped pave the way for anime on American airwaves (as well as a totally bananas Wachowskis live-action movie). Many toy companies have released renditions of the show’s streamlined Mach 5 racecar, but true heads know that Ertl’s die-cast one is the top of the line. There are so many moving parts on this metal vehicle, from hood and doors that open to a pair of retractable whirling saw blades that jut out from the front bumper. It even comes with a little plastic sculpt of Speed’s monkey companion Chim-Chim. A car and a monkey — what more could a boy ask for?Get it at AmazonMore on Geek.com:The Most Authentic World War II ToysThe Best Animal ToysThe Best ‘Stranger Things’ Toys Toy Tuesday: Yo! It’s The Best ‘G.I. Joe’ ToysToy Tuesday: The Schwiftiest ‘Rick & Morty’ Toys
ACV’s sales team ready to roll in newly-wrapped Sandals Resorts cars Travelweek Group Tags: Air Canada Vacations TORONTO — Air Canada Vacations reps are now the proud drivers of some flashy newly-wrapped cars promoting one of the company’s most popular products: Sandals Resorts and Beaches Resorts.During a brief visit to Toronto Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart, Chairman of Sandals Resorts International, recently handed over the keys to the freshly designed fleet of Sandals-ACV branded vehicles to Nino Montagnese, Managing Director, Air Canada Vacations.The entire ACV sales team will be behind the wheel of the new-look, Sandals-wrapped vehicles just in time for the busy fall-winter season.Sandals Resorts and ACV have this heads-up for agents: “Stay tuned for details on an exclusive Sandals-ACV incentive for travel agents coming soon.” Tuesday, July 11, 2017 Posted by Share << Previous PostNext Post >>
Igor and Dina Chukharev during a recent visit to The Tico Times. The Chukharevs, poor Uzbek immigrants, believe their son Maxim is a patsy in the Liberty Reserve case.Alberto Font In a photo from inside Costa Rica’s San Sebastián Preventive Prison, Maxim Chukharev poses with another inmate who claims to be wrongly imprisoned. “There are a bunch of us in here,” Maxim said. Courtesy Maxim Chukharev Related posts:U.S.: Liberty Reserve the largest money laundering probe in history Costa Rican President Chinchilla denies link to Liberty Reserve attorney Liberty Reserve: A cyberweb of intrigue Liberty Reserve: Suspects plead not guilty in fraud probe U.S. authorities estimate that Liberty Reserve had more than one million users worldwide, 200,000 of them in the U.S., and that the company conducted more than 12 million financial transactions annually, totaling more than $6 billion, according to the U.S. indictment. Authorities referred to it as “the bank of the underworld.”Liberty Reserve users could receive transfers of “LR,” or Liberty Reserve currency, from other users on Liberty Reserve accounts. Liberty Reserve charged a 1 percent fee, up to $2.99 per transaction, every time a user transferred LR to another user. For an additional “privacy” fee of 75 cents per transaction, users could hide LR account numbers, effectively making the transactions untraceable.In June 2010, the FBI set up a fake website that allowed users to buy, sell and exchange credit card data. The undercover site was allowed to operate for two years while the FBI monitored user communications in discussion forums and in private messages. That operation led to the June 2012 arrest of more than two-dozen people allegedly involved in trafficking stolen credit card data. The most preferred form of payment by users was Liberty Reserve, according to a special agent from the U.S. Secret Service assigned to the Electronic Crimes Task Force, who testified in an affidavit supporting Maxim’s extradition to the U.S.The affidavit also mentions a notorious ATM heist in May 2013 in which hackers stole $45 million from thousands of ATM machines across the globe. The thieves used Liberty Reserve to distribute the loot. The Department of Homeland Security said Liberty Reserve was used by online child pornography distributors, and the DEA said it was used by underground drug trafficking sites.Mastermind Budovsky was nabbed on May 24, 2013, in Spain. His codefendants include Liberty Reserve co-founder Vladimir Kats, 41, who was arrested in New York and pled guilty in October; Ahmed Yassine Abdelghani and Allan Esteban Hidalgo, who are free in Costa Rica; Azzeddine El Amine, also arrested in Spain; Mark Marmilev, arrested in New York; and Maxim, the tech guy.The seven men are accused of three felony charges of conspiracy to commit money-laundering, conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money transmitting business, and operating an unlicensed money transmitting business, crimes that carry a maximum sentence of 30 years in U.S. federal prison. Kats also pled guilty to additional charges of receiving child pornography and marriage fraud.Much of the case seems fairly uncomplicated. But questions about the role Maxim played and whether he’ll get a fair shake are much less straightforward. Maxim’s parents say this isn’t the first time their boy has been unfairly targeted.***Fifteen years ago, shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union, racial tensions in Uzbekistan were escalating, and blond children who were associated with Russia were being attacked. Igor, then 36, and Dina, 35, decided to take their two young boys, Maxim and Vadim, and leave.“It was nationalism at its worst,” Igor said. “We had the chance to live in Costa Rica and we didn’t think twice.”The Chukharevs arrived in Costa Rica, where Maxim’s uncle had immigrated before them, as tourists with no money. They told an immigration official they sought refugee status, and he sent them to the United Nations. At the office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, a caseworker didn’t believe their story and rejected their refugee application, accusing them of lying about their Russian citizenship.“It was absurd to be accused of being expelled by Russia. Why would Russia expel its own citizens? That would be like kicking Ticos out of Guanacaste,” Igor said, still aggrieved over the 15-year-old episode.The Chukharevs became an immigrant family living in Costa Rica without legal documents. Igor is not proud of that period; he said he believes in rules and doesn’t like to break them. His sons, he said, were raised the same way.But “when you have a family, you do what you have to do.”Igor first worked as a pirate taxi driver in San José. Dina began helping out at a small boutique hotel in the eclectic neighborhood of Bario Amón. The couple eventually took over as administrators.At 12, Maxim attended a public school in Moravia, a northeastern San José suburb. His younger brother attended public schools and is “so Tico he doesn’t even know how to write in Russian,” Dina said.After a couple years, they moved to Santa Cruz, in the northwestern province of Guanacaste, where Igor worked as a mechanic, and Dina a homemaker. They opened a small pulpería, the Costa Rican version of a corner store.Maxim’s interest in computers took shape shortly after his arrival in Santa Cruz, and at 15 he began helping a family friend at a computer repair shop. Maxim was good at fixing things, and he quickly learned to refurbish old computer monitors his boss brought back during trips to the west coast of the U.S.“Max was always fixing computers,” Igor recalled. “He practiced and he learned.” One of Arthur Budovsky’s Rolls Royces seized during May raids in Costa Rica. Courtesy OIJ Facebook Comments Maxim also was listed as a “secretary” of WEBSA – which U.S. prosecutors say was a Liberty Reserve shell company – allowing him to purchase equipment, although he didn’t have direct access to company finances. In Costa Rican business nomenclature, socios, or shareholders, are the actual owners of a company, and being a secretary doesn’t necessarily entail company ownership or management.“We were providing IT services as a third-party service. In the meantime, we were an IT company, creating a web-hosting environment, working with clouding systems, with heavy Cisco routing and switching, a lot of interesting things in the IT field,” Maxim said.In September 2011, WEBSA moved into offices in Escazú, southwest of the capital, and continued providing services to Liberty Reserve’s data center, located in the Forum 1 office complex. WEBSA leased its services to Liberty Reserve, and Maxim insisted there are work contracts, copies of which were retained by Budovsky and Hidalgo.“Everything was legal; there was nothing weird, nothing strange,” Maxim said. “If you follow the logic of the accusations, even the cleaning lady should have been arrested,” he said.But that’s not how it went down, and dozens of employees were spared, according to Maxim.On Oct. 3, a judge in the western San José district of Pavas ruled in favor of the U.S. extradition request for Maxim. His attorneys, working pro bono on behalf of the family, appealed, and a final ruling is pending.In Costa Rica, a judge has 10 business days to rule on extradition appeals, but in reality, a backlog of cases often delays the process, sometimes up to two years. Meanwhile, Maxim and his parents are doing everything they can to prevent him from being sent to the U.S.“I have never been in the United States,” Maxim said. “I have nobody in the States, no family in the States, no friends in the States and no attorney in the States.” The worst part, he said, is that his parents wouldn’t be able to visit him. “They have no money.”A judge doesn’t need to determine innocence or guilt in order to extradite, so in Maxim’s case, the indictment handed down is enough to have him extradited, according to legal experts consulted by The Tico Times.Two of the charges – conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money transmitting business and operating an unlicensed money transmitting business – do not exist in Costa Rica’s Penal Code. That means that Maxim cannot be extradited or charged on those counts. But the third count, conspiracy to commit money laundering, is a crime in Costa Rica, and Maxim can be extradited on that charge.Still, he remains defiant, reaching out daily to his parents, his younger brother, Vadim, the Russian Embassy, and any reporter who will take his calls. He has evidence to prove he’s innocent, he said, but it’s impossible to access without a computer.“There is no proof, there are only suggestions, recommendations and speculation,” he told The Tico Times. “If you read the whole accusation, everywhere it says, ‘We have reasons to believe that he conspired.’”Yet with Kats pleading guilty, the scales of justice seem to be tipping against Maxim, and U.S. prosecutors seemingly hope to use Maxim’s testimony to nail Budovsky.“As a co-founder and operator of Liberty Reserve, Vladimir Kats served as a global banker for criminals, giving them an anonymous, online forum to hide the proceeds of their illegal and dangerous activities,” Bharara said on Oct. 31. “With his guilty plea today, we take a significant step toward punishing those responsible for creating and running this international den of cybercrime.”When asked about Kats’ guilty plea, Maxim said, “I don’t even know him.” Asked if he would cut a deal in exchange for testifying against his former boss, Maxim seemed nonplussed. “Why would I do that?” he asked.***Assuming for a second that Maxim’s bank account was nearly empty, that he wasn’t a principal at Liberty Reserve, and that he did not have access to millions of dollars the company managed in dozens of bank accounts around the world, why then, is he being targeted?The quick answer is to help convict Budovsky.But the Russian government has its own version of events, which starkly contrasts with the U.S.’ position. Russian officials insist the case is politically charged, just like a series of other cases in which Russian citizens were nabbed by the U.S. in third countries, a violation, Russian officials say, of a 1999 bilateral treaty that governs law enforcement requests between the two countries.“To justify their investigation, they need to catch someone, and the easiest option was Max. He’s not Costa Rican, he’s easy to extradite,” Igor said. “That company [Liberty Reserve] had managers, it had lawyers, and the names are all there.”According to a former Costa Rican prosecutor, Costa Rica likely made a deal with the U.S. not to arrest Costa Rican company principals until Maxim was in U.S. custody. This is because if evidence of wrongdoing is presented to Costa Rican officials, the Prosecutor’s Office is obligated to investigate and see the case through all the way to trial. That would mean the U.S. could be unable to extradite Maxim – and they might lose access to him entirely – if local charges are brought.Since May, a spokeswoman for Costa Rica’s Prosecutor’s Office has repeatedly declined to discuss the case, saying only, “The investigation is ongoing.”While newspapers around the world carried the story of the Liberty Reserve raids, few outside Maxim’s family, their close-knit rural community, and his former co-workers are familiar with Maxim’s case.The Miami Herald picked up his story, noting it has become the latest diplomatic entanglement in already strained relations between Russia and the U.S., particularly given Russia’s decision last July to grant temporary asylum to U.S. intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden.As the Herald noted, “In the past six months, Russians have been a frequent target of arrest warrants executed at the request of U.S. prosecutors.”Those cases include Aleksandr Panin, 24, who was arrested in the Dominican Republic on charges related to cyber-scams and online banking information theft; alleged arms dealer Dmitry Ustinov, extradited from Lithuania; Dmitry Belorossov, arrested in Spain on fraud charges; and Viktor Bout, an arms dealer known as the “Merchant of Death,” extradited from Thailand in 2011 and now serving a 25-year prison sentence in the U.S.“What’s going on is the smearing of Russian citizens. That’s evident. The Russian government cannot accept these actions because we have a 1999 treaty,” Dogadin told The Tico Times. “But in practice, the U.S. acts via third countries; they are practically exercising extraterritorial jurisdiction, and that we consider to be a vice and completely unacceptable.”Baryshnikova, Russia’s consular chief in Costa Rica, said, “The position is very clear: We don’t want our citizens extradited to the United States because it violates our treaty between Russia and the United States.”Russia also has declared U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara persona non-grata, meaning he can’t travel to Russia. Bharara appears on Russia’s “Guantanamo List,” a roster of 60 U.S. officials either linked to the U.S. military prison in Guantánamo, Cuba, or to cases against Bout, Yaroshenko and other Russian nationals.“It’s our greatest concern that [Maxim] could be sought [by the U.S.] because of his nationality, not because of the facts of the case,” Baryshnikova said.Russia isn’t alone in its concerns about the long reach of U.S. law enforcement into third-party countries. Europe and Latin America also are troubled, the Miami Herald reported.“It gives the impression that there might be a certain abuse of power from a powerful country,” Juan Carlos Esquivel, a Costa Rican lawyer who is president of the anti-money-laundering committee of the Inter-American Bar Association, told the Herald.U.S. officials scoff at the notion of any vendetta against Russian nationals. To them Maxim’s is a law enforcement case. Dogadin, however, pointed out that Costa Rica is in a “very difficult and delicate situation.”***While Maxim awaits his fate in a Costa Rican jail, his parents travel back and forth between Tárcoles and San José. They make the rounds of local newspapers, looking for a friendly ear. They meet with Maxim, who tells them what to do next. When he can, Maxim calls reporters on a prison phone, which allows for five-minute conversations that are interrupted every minute with a pre-recorded voice reminding the callee that an inmate of San Sebastián is on the other end of the phone line. Other inmates pressure Maxim to get off the phone.At first, Igor’s and Dina’s neighbors offered to help – after all, the Chukharevs had never received so much as a parking ticket. The neighbors were baffled about how the nice couple’s son was accused of being one of the leading criminal masterminds in modern history. Yet as the weeks wore on, their compassion transformed into soft-spoken apologies and averted eyes.“What can we do?” a friend asked Igor.He and his wife must simply wait, hoping the lawyers are good enough, or that a story in local media will help Maxim’s cause. Igor, Dina and Vadim visit Maxim in prison every week, time and money permitting. They fear that if he is extradited, they might never see him again. The mother of Maxim’s children would be left to raise their daughters alone.Reflecting on the last few months, Dina came to a sad realization. “We left Uzbekistan for another nightmare,” she said. At 16, Maxim moved back to the capital and attended San Marcos High School, in the center of San José near the Foreign Ministry. He didn’t graduate, but would later obtain an equivalent degree by studying at night school.At 19, he obtained his residency – but not citizenship – when his first daughter was born in 2005. He lived with his daughters’ mother for a couple years, but they were never married, and they eventually separated. Maxim continued supporting his family, although now that he’s in prison, that financial support has been cut off.While Maxim stayed in the city, Dina and Igor moved to Tárcoles, a working-class community on the central Pacific coast. For nearly a decade, they lived in a humble house with no electricity or working telephone. Igor landed a job working for a Canadian patrón as a mechanic, maintenance worker and animal caretaker. Dina is a homemaker, and between the two of them they earn about $1,600 a month, which now pays for electricity. Vadim, who has a family of his own, works as a waiter in an eastern San José restaurant. The members of the Chukharev family generally grew to like here.“Costa Ricans and Uzbeks have a similar dark sense of humor,” Igor observed. “We all help each other out. Whenever I go to the store, I ask the neighbors if they need gas, milk or whatever, and they do the same.”At 21, Maxim landed a job at Hewlett Packard, where he earned $400 a month. To make ends meet, he took a second job installing security systems at local businesses. One of those businesses was Liberty Reserve, and it was there that Maxim met Budovsky.The Russian-born founder of Liberty Reserve was impressed by Maxim’s knowledge of computing infrastructure and offered him a job. That was 2010, and Maxim didn’t know it at the time, but Budovsky had previously been convicted in the U.S. of running the same online currency business without a license.After he was paroled, Budovsky moved to Costa Rica, obtained citizenship through a sham marriage to a Costa Rican empanada vendor, and renounced his U.S. citizenship. He started up the same business with his old partner, Vladimir Kats, who would leave the company in 2009. Maxim believed Budovsky was a financial consultant, and Kats already had left the company when Maxim was hired.“They asked if we had networking. They needed help with their system, equipment and data center. I said yes. I thought [the data center] was somewhere around here, but it was in Holland,” Maxim said. “So, I said, ‘we have engineers, but we don’t have engineers who can travel and do a responsible job.’ And that’s how I made my first trip to Holland, to maintain their network and replace some old hard drives on their equipment, working with their technical team, which was located in the Ukraine.”Four months after Maxim returned from that trip, Budovsky called and gave him a full-time job at Liberty Reserve.“I worked for about six months at Liberty Reserve, and as far as I understood, Budovsky was there as a financial consultant,” Maxim said. “Six months later, Budovsky calls and says, ‘Hey, I would really love for you to come work for my company, WEBSA. We’re going to provide third-party service to Liberty Reserve, and we’re going to set it up as an IT company here in Costa Rica.’”Accepting the job meant Maxim would earn $1,800 a month, barely enough to support his two daughters, now 1 and 8, and buy a “piece of shit” car with monthly payments of $500.“I said, ‘Why not?’ And I was hired.”***On the morning of May 24, 2013 – three days after Maxim’s 27th birthday – 10 Interpol agents surrounded his father’s car as Maxim was leaving home.“Hands up!” they said. They pulled him from the vehicle, placing Maxim face down on the ground and then handcuffing him.According to Maxim, the agents searched the car, and when they were done, someone forgot to engage the hand brake and it rolled into a police cruiser. With Maxim in jail, a judge later ruled Maxim was responsible for the damages and had to pay for a new bumper on the police car, Maxim and his parents said.This was only the first in a series of grievances against their son, Igor and Dina said. Maxim’s lawyer, who is well versed in Costa Rica law, helped put the other perceived injustices into perspective.Of the eight defendants, Maxim is the lowest-level target, she said. Because he is still a Russian citizen with Costa Rican residency, U.S. prosecutors nabbed Maxim while allowing higher-level Costa Rican employees of Liberty Reserve to remain free. (According to Maxim and his parents, he was six months away from receiving Costa Rican citizenship when he was arrested, which would have prevented his extradition.)But even Maxim’s attorney admitted there are unanswered questions involving her client. When Budovsky was arrested in Spain, he was carrying credit cards issued to Maxim Chukharev. Authorities also discovered two bank accounts in Cyprus in Maxim’s name, and emails seized from Liberty Reserve servers in the Netherlands from Marmilev to Maxim appear to be the most damaging bit of evidence.Asked about these details, Maxim doesn’t hesitate: He didn’t know about the credit cards or the bank accounts, and it wouldn’t have been difficult for his former boss to steal his identity.The emails appear to show Marmilev, Budovsky and Maxim conspiring to create a website with fake data to fool Costa Rican financial regulators about transactions over $10,000, a key element of the money laundering conspiracy charges. But Maxim never responded to those emails, he said, and anyway it doesn’t matter because the fake system was never implemented.In the email exchange, Marmilev allegedly wrote, “We need to create special admin area ‘Government Admin Area’ (GAA) where Costa Rican government can view a few statistics. Majority of these statistics are going to be fake.”Maxim said he was only copied on those emails, and had been with the company only four months when the emails were sent.What was implemented, Maxim said, was a real system to account for suspicious transactions of $10,000 or more, a requirement by Costa Rican financial regulators. Liberty Reserve, he said, had hired a compliance officer to make sure the system followed local financial accountability rules.“The system is legitimate, it has nothing to do with what is written in the accusations,” Maxim said. “We were planning to flag every transaction that was more than $10,000.”Still, the evidence was enough for a Secret Service agent to recommend he be extradited. “I know from various sources that Chukharev … was deeply involved in maintaining Liberty Reserve’s technological infrastructure,” the agent wrote. Interviews by U.S. federal agents of former Liberty Reserve employees also confirmed that Maxim “was the person in Costa Rica who was responsible for maintaining Liberty Reserve’s information technology system,” he said.The agent also alleged that once Liberty Reserve managers realized they were under investigation by the U.S., they began moving millions of dollars out of accounts in Costa Rican banks. “At least two such shell companies, held in Cyprus, were opened in Chukharev’s name,” he said. “Budovsky was found to be in possession of credit cards in the name of Chukharev and these shell companies, indicating that Chukharev opened the underlying accounts as a nominee for Budovsky.”The agent said he believes there is probable cause to try Maxim on conspiracy charges, and that Maxim’s efforts to “thwart oversight by Costa Rican regulatory authorities” proves his knowledge of the conspiracy.To Maxim, this is all hearsay. Would an IT employee at a bank be responsible if that bank laundered drug money? What about PayPal and Bitcoin?“My opinion … is that [the case against Maxim] is impossible and illogical,” said Alexander Dogadin, Russia’s ambassador to Costa Rica. “This is a young person who was employed not by Liberty Reserve, but by WEBSA, which is another company, and who was receiving a modest salary. He doesn’t have anything, no properties, for example, so how could he participate in this multi-million-dollar operation? It’s illogical.” A Liberty Reserve office left in disarray after police raids last May. Courtesy OIJ Maxim Chukharev’s mother, Dina, is restless. Sitting at a conference table in a newspaper office, she launches into her story in impetuous Spanish peppered with a thick Russian accent. Mid-sentence, she pauses to answer a cellphone. She excuses herself. Out in the hall, she switches to a rapid-fire conversation in Russian. She’s loud, and it’s hard to hear what her soft-spoken husband, Igor, is saying.Despite the commotion, Igor takes his time explaining how their son, Maxim, a bright, young computer programmer who immigrated to Costa Rica with his family from Uzbekistan during a period of political upheaval, wound up at the center of what the U.S. government says is one of the biggest money laundering cases in history.U.S. prosecutors claim the Costa Rica-based online currency company Liberty Reserve, shuttered last May, helped launder a staggering $6 billion over seven years, mostly the result of criminal activities including credit card theft, identity theft, drug trafficking, investment fraud and child pornography.If Hollywood had scripted the indictment against Liberty Reserve’s eight defendants, founder Arthur Budovsky, who currently is in a Spanish prison fighting extradition to the U.S., would be Auric Goldfinger, plotting to launder the world’s criminal proceeds. Maxim would be one of those banal, uniformed brains in the background, helping to build the IT infrastructure that ran the cyber-bank of the underworld. While Bond parachutes to safety with his beloved Pussy Galore, local authorities lead Maxim to a U.S. federal pen.But to Dina, 48, and Igor, 49, who sometimes still view world events through the prism of Cold War politics, Maxim – the oldest of two sons – is a patsy, targeted by the U.S. government because of his Russian nationality and a zeal to nab Budovsky, who already had dodged prison once before.Maxim is not a criminal mastermind, Dina and Igor say, but rather an earnest employee trying to provide for his two young daughters; someone who wanted to better himself, who never had more than $5,000 in his bank account and who drove to work in a used car while other Liberty Reserve principals raced about in Jaguars and Rolls Royces.“When a person works for a company, and that company is legally established here, it pays taxes, why should that employee have to be aware of laws in the U.S. or England or Argentina?” Igor asked.Locked up for the past six months, Maxim has had plenty of time to ponder that question.***In a photo sent from inside Costa Rica’s San Sebastián Preventive Prison, Maxim wears a staid look that belies his boyish features. His short-cropped blond hair sets him apart from the other prisoners, and the dark circles under his eyes suggest the last six months in cellblock A1D4 have taken an emotional and physical toll.Although Maxim has lived in Costa Rica since he was 12, because he’s Russian, other prisoners treat him like a foreigner, which places him lowest in prison hierarchy. For the first few weeks, he shared a cell built for 44 inmates with 77 others, often sleeping on the floor. When he got sick, it took prison officials two weeks – and the intervention of the Russian consul – to allow him to see a doctor, according to Russia’s consul in Costa Rica, Ekaterina Baryshnikova.“It’s hell,” Maxim said. “There are a bunch of thieves and killers in here, I don’t wish this on anybody. I’ve lived [in Costa Rica] for the last 15 years, I speak Spanish with no accent, but I’m still white and blond, and this is good enough to be different in here.”At the time of his arrest, U.S. officials had just shuttered Liberty Reserve’s website, and Costa Rican cops accompanied by U.S. agents were raiding the offices and homes of company principals throughout the Central Valley.The massive raid was coordinated by the Costa Rican Prosecutor’s Office, the Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ), Costa Rica’s judicial branch, the Costa Rican Drug Institute, Interpol, the U.S. Justice Department, the U.S. Secret Service, the IRS, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security and the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.The bust was the culmination of an investigation that had lasted years, spanned several continents, and led to the indictment of eight people by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, whom The Washington Post recently named the “most prestigious and powerful prosecutor” in the United States.
Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Top Stories Perrenoud said he is “pretty confident” that his team will find more human fossils from this period on the site. “Our daily life is to determine what human activities looked like 560,000 years ago,” he said.Professor Chris Stringer, merit researcher in human origins at the Natural History Museum of London, wrote in an email to the AP that “well-dated teeth of this age are very important as they probably belonged to the species Homo heidelbergensis, which is already known from Arago (in Tautavel) in France, Mauer in Germany and Boxgrove in England.”“If the tooth has calculus (tartar) attached to it, this may also provide direct evidence of the diet of these ancient humans,” he added.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. 0 Comments Share Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Sponsored Stories Mesa family survives lightning strike to home This photo taken Friday, July 24, 2015 and released on Tuesday, July 28, 2015 by The Etablissement Public de Cooperation Culturelle-Centre Europeen de Recherches Prehistoriques de Tautavel (EPCC-CERP Tautavel), shows a tooth discovered during excavations on one of Europe’s most important prehistoric site in Tautavel, south-western France. Two young volunteers have found a human tooth from about 560,000 years ago in a famous prehistoric cave in France. French paleoanthropologist Tony Chevalier, scientist at Tautavel’s archaeological laboratory, told the AP this is a “major” discovery, the oldest human body part found in France and one of the very rare human remains from this period in Europe. (Denis Dainat/EPCC-CERP Tauvalel via AP) Parents, stop beating yourself up PARIS (AP) — Two students have found a human tooth from about 560,000 years ago in a famous prehistoric cave in southwestern France, a discovery praised by archaeologists as the oldest human body part ever discovered in the country and being rare from that period in Europe.The tooth was found last week during excavations at Tautavel, one of Europe’s most important prehistoric sites, where about 40 volunteers are working under the supervision of scientists. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Paleoanthropologist Tony Chevalier, researcher at Tautavel’s archaeological laboratory, called it a “major discovery.”Chevalier told The Associated Press that the adult tooth would help fill a gap between the very few oldest human fossils, notably found in Spain and Germany, and more recent ones.Thousands of finds on the site include prehistoric tools and bones from animals, especially horses, reindeers and buffalos.“We believe these men have lived for a long time in the cave or have regularly come back into it,” Chevalier said. “We also know that the area was quite cold at the time. It was a steppe, with no trees. There had to be some long periods with snow.”These latest findings haven’t been the subject of a scientific publication yet, but Tautavel is recognized as a reference by archaeologists all over the world.There have been excavations at the cave for about 50 years and it’s famous for the discovery of 450,000 human skull in the early 1970s, known by scientists as the “Tautavel Man.”Christian Perrenoud, a geologist and archaeologist who has been director of Tautavel’s excavations for nine years, told the AP that his team used several dating processes to determine the age of the tooth. 5 treatments for adult scoliosis
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S. at least 2 million Americans are diagnosed with an infection that doesn’t respond to antibiotics and according to conservative estimates 23000 of them will die from their infections The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention acknowledges that these figures are likely an underestimate: hospitals are not required by the federal government to report the number of superbugs they encounter and death certificates rarely mention them directly (instead complications from other ailments are often cited) Experts caution that the day is not far off when a paper cut or an ear infection turns lethal Economists predict that by 2050 as many as 10 million people per year will die from drug-resistant infections Tom Patterson and Steffanie Strathdee visit John Willson who received phage therapy in May at the University of California San Diego Jolynn Wilson Brown “This is a crisis” says Ry Young director of the Center for Phage Technology at Texas A&M University which studies phage treatments for superbugs “People are completely unaware of the danger we are in” Indeed the scope of the threat posed by superbugs remains poorly understood by the general population despite the fact that the World Health Organization calls superbugs an imminent threat to human health What’s more there isn’t much hope on the horizon when it comes to new drugs “There are no new antibiotics coming and if they do come bacteria tend to develop resistance to the drugs within a year” says Young The paucity of treatment options is fueling interest in phage which some researchers are calling a critical weapon against the kind of infections that threatened the lives of Mallory Smith and Tom Patterson For now however phage is not widely available in the US Only a handful of people have received it and it requires special clearance because it isn’t yet approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Before phage can go mainstream the science needs to catch up–which experts are hopeful will happen in 2018 when a number of trials will kick off in the US If the science bears out phage’s promise it would be life altering–and life saving–for the millions of people around the world who contract superbug infections every year Mallory Smith received the therapy at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in November Jacob Jonas Phages are the most ubiquitous bacteria fighters on the planet Scientists estimate that there are over 10 million trillion trillion phages which is more than any other organism in the world Phages work by injecting their DNA into bacteria cells where they rapidly replicate causing bacteria to burst open and die What’s special about phages is that for the most part each strain attacks only a specific kind of bacteria that they’ve evolved to kill which means phages provide a more personalized approach than say broad-spectrum antibiotics which target a wide range of bacteria–even the good kind Despite the elegance of the treatment the Western medical community had all but abandoned it until very recently Discovered by Frederick Twort in England in 1915 and Félix d’Hérelle in France in 1917 (there’s debate about who was truly first) bacteriophages were used in the US and around the world to treat infections throughout the 1920s and ’30s Even back then however the treatment was divisive in the medical world “From the very discovery of phage this field has seen personal attacks disputes of priority massive egos and international politics” wrote Dr William Summers a medical historian at Yale University in a 2012 paper on phage “All of these are part of the rocky history of phage therapy” When mass production of antibiotics took off in the 1940s and ’50s doctors moved away from phage and embraced the drugs Today more than 266 million antibiotic prescriptions are written in the US per year In the last century scientists in Eastern Europe continued to use phage but in the US it fell out of vogue developing a reputation as being an unsafe and clunky treatment Modern phage researchers say that’s because when phage therapy was first used in the US 100 years ago other aspects of science were too poorly understood (This was after all before the discovery of DNA) Still the reputation stuck Today people who want to try phage therapy are required to get what’s called an “emergency investigational new drug” application from the FDA indicating that they are out of other treatment options and are very sick That’s how Strathdee’s husband Tom Patterson was able to try it In late 2015 Strathdee and Patterson a professor of psychiatry at UCSD were celebrating Thanksgiving in Egypt when Patterson became violently ill Diagnosed with pancreatitis Patterson was flown for treatment to Frankfurt where physicians discovered that he was infected with a deadly superbug called Acinetobacter baumannii Patterson was given potent antibiotics and eventually got the green light to travel back home to San Diego Patterson was put under the care of several doctors including his friend Dr Robert “Chip” Schooley a professor of medicine in the division of infectious diseases at UCSD “Tom was as sick as he could be” says Schooley “He was either going to die or we were going to come up with something very different” As an infectious-disease expert Strathdee understood the threat of antibiotic-resistant infections all too well She felt helpless watching her husband die so she started researching alternatives A colleague mentioned that a friend of hers had once traveled to Tbilisi Georgia to receive something called “phage therapy” and came back “cured” Strathdee approached Schooley about giving phage a shot Although he wasn’t convinced it would work he agreed With an emergency approval from the FDA Patterson was given a phage cocktail on March 15 2016 and another two days later Three days after that he woke up from his coma “I am still weaker than I was before” says Patterson who is back at work “But I feel I have a new life entirely and it’s wonderful to have that gift” Since Patterson’s success story was announced to the public in April 2017 nearly all the physicians involved in his care receive weekly emails from people whose loved ones are suffering from superbug infections (Strathdee also landed a deal for a book on the subject It’s due in 2019) Experts are hopeful that before too long phage will clear FDA approval making it more widely available to the people who need it most Phage therapy has some unique benefits over antibiotics For one bacteriophages can be found everywhere on earth even in sewage Second it attacks only the targeted bacteria not the so-called good bugs in the host Third it can be done quickly: scientists can create a phage cocktail and provide it to patients within 48 hours of a superbug-infection diagnosis in some cases And even though bacteria can become resistant to phage there are an infinite number of strains of the viruses–not so with antibiotics During Patterson’s treatment the bacteria grew resistant to his initial phages but the doctors were able to tweak the treatment with new strains until he cleared the infection Proponents of phage research say the treatment will never replace antibiotics altogether–for routine infections the drugs will always be more convenient and easier to use But if phage is approved by the FDA it could become a powerful antidote to increasingly common superbug infections For that to happen researchers need to perform clinical trials that produce a better understanding of the basic mechanisms of phage therapy so that successes in one person can be replicated in other people at scale In 2018 two small biotech companies in the US–AmpliPhi Biosciences and Adaptive Phage Therapeutics (APT)–will launch clinical trials that will attempt to answer some of the key questions about phage Bacteriophages which are viruses attack by invading and replicating inside drug-resistant bacteria causing them to explode D Simon Lee—;Getty Images/Science Source “In the future if we can cut the time down phage might be better than antibiotics” says APT founder Dr Carl Merril Merril a former National Institutes of Health scientist came out of retirement at the age of 80 to launch APT in October 2016 Merril has long been an advocate for using phage–he was featured in a 1971 issue of TIME for his work on the viruses–but his research never made it beyond the lab and into human testing Merril says he had long since given up on the possibility that phage therapy would ever become a mainstream treatment That is until Strathdee called him for advice about how to save her husband’s life “This is sort of like a dream” says Merril who advised doctors on how to administer phage to Patterson It was Patterson’s stunning recovery that inspired Merril to start APT “I am very old and I remember what it was like before penicillin” says Merril “I lost a lot of my classmates It could happen again If we don’t deal with antibiotic resistance in real time it will get worse” APT is working on perfecting ways to scan bacteria samples against a massive library of bacteriophages that was collected by the US Navy Using proprietary algorithms that rely on artificial intelligence APT then hopes to be able to quickly match bacterial strains with the phages that might be able to thwart them Merril envisions a time when APT can provide pharmacies with kiosks of phage strains which APT has already trademarked as PhageBanks If his dream comes true then within one hour infection samples would be screened and matched with the appropriate phages which could be dispensed from the kiosks in single-dose vials APT estimates that there’s a $60 billion market opportunity for phage-based treatments Researchers caution that before that happens–before phage is embraced as a standard treatment as opposed to an experimental last resort–there’s a lot of work to be done “It’s unsustainable how we are doing it now” says Texas A&M’s Young who worked on both Tom Patterson’s and Mallory Smith’s cases “Every time we try phage on a new patient it’s automatically a crisis because you have someone who is dying Everyone wants to help but we need a system” Young says he worries that if mistakes are made in the rush to get phage to patients the field could end up in “we told you so” territory “People should understand that an old therapy is back” he says “But it’s not yet commercially exploitable” Since treating Patterson in 2016 the medical team at UCSD has treated three other people using phage and two appear to be doing well “Thank God for Steffanie” says Josephine Willson whose husband John was treated with phage at UCSD in May after contracting a resistant Pseudomonas infection “If she didn’t fight for her husband I wouldn’t have mine here today” Josephine says her experience with her husband’s infection which he’d been fighting for over six months before receiving phage therapy has woken her up to the ever growing threat of superbugs “All I knew was that overuse of antibiotics could be detrimental at some point in time” she says “I did not know we are already at a point where antibiotics cannot kill a bacteria you have I did not know that” Schooley who now travels across the US educating medical groups about phage says tackling the superbug problem will require more education as well as better use of antibiotics and new therapies “We need to use antibiotics intelligently” says Schooley “But even if we stop using every antibiotic there is there will still be multidrug-resistant organisms We need to minimize their ongoing evolution by using antibiotics appropriately in the hospital and in agriculture–and we also need to think about novel approaches to head off these superbugs” Many scientists have renewed hope that phage will be one of those solutions “An international community has been galvanized” says Strathdee “We need to keep up the momentum” Mallory Smith’s parents also want to help phage research continue so that it may one day help other people–even though it couldn’t save their daughter By the time the phages made their way to Mallory in Pittsburgh it was too late She started the therapy but died the next day “We were two days short” Strathdee says “Mallory’s case symbolizes so much” Contact us at editors@timecom This appears in the December 25 2017 issue of TIME Our men had an encounter with the pirates and one of them was killed. 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