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US energy secretary urges Iraq to quit dependency on Iran


BAGHDAD: US Energy Secretary Rick Perry arrived in Baghdad on a trade mission Tuesday urging Iraq to reduce its energy dependence on Iran and open its own energy sector to American investment. The visit comes as the US tries to isolate Iran through sanctions targeting its business and finance sectors. US President Donald Trump says Iran is not in compliance ... Read More »

Jordanian arrested for plot to smuggle six Yemenis over the Mexican border


A man from Jordan was arrested in New York City for attempting to smuggle six Middle Easterners into the United States by way of the Mexican border, according to the Justice Department. Moayad Heider Mohammad Aldairi, who resides in Monterrey, Mexico, was taken into custody at John F. Kennedy International Airport after disembarking an international flight. Several federal agencies accuse ... Read More »

Rise in drug-related crimes worries ‘Powder Street’ dwellers

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KABUL: Residents of Sehkhana street in capital Kabul say their concerns have increased about drugs sellers and related crimes in the area where a murder also happened two days ago. Murtaza Hazara, a resident of the area that falls in the 10th district of Kabul City, told Pajhwok Afghan News that heroin locally known as ‘power’ was openly sold in ... Read More »

Indian man charged in alleged human smuggling operation


NEWARK: Federal authorities say an Indian national conspired to smuggle foreign citizens into the U.S. on commercial airline flights. An indictment unsealed Monday alleges Bhavin Patel was part of a smuggling operation that recruited Indian nationals and others who would pay fees to be smuggled into the U.S. The indictment says an undercover officer posing as a smuggler met Patel ... Read More »

Tuesday Dec 11 — Monday December 17, 2018

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Banksy works worth £12m impounded in Belgium after legal row


It had been advertised as “Banksy unauthorised”, a retrospective of 58 of the street artist’s most famous works, put on display in an empty supermarket in a swanky part of Brussels. On Thursday night, a Belgian court proved just how unauthorised the exhibition may have been by ordering bailiffs to seize the art, valued at over £12m. After five hours, ... Read More »

More arrests expected after record seizure of 1.8 million smuggled cigarettes


Customs expect to make more arrests after a joint Customs and Police investigation uncovered the country’s biggest ever cigarette smuggling operation. Customs Investigations Manager Bruce Berry has told a press conference this afternoon that further arrests and charges are likely in relation to evasion of customs duty, conspiracy to evade customs duty and sale of goods not checked by Customs. ... Read More »

Brazil’s Temer says leaving budget deficit under 130 billion reais

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BRASILIA: Brazilian President Michel Temer said on Thursday his government will leave a primary budget deficit of less than 130 billion reais ($33.3 billion) when he hands over the reins to President-elect Jair Bolsonaro on Jan. 1. Temer told reporters that Brazil could take up to 10 years to balance its federal budget. He urged Congress to pass his proposal ... Read More »

Japan’s Economy Contracts 2.5 Pct in 3Q on Weaker Spending

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TOKYO: Japan’s economy shrank at a worse than anticipated annualized rate of 2.5 percent in July-September due to weaker consumer demand and corporate investment. The revised figure released Monday was more than double the 1.2 percent contraction reported earlier. Economists say the setback for the world’s third-largest economy is likely temporary. The data from the Cabinet Office shows the seasonally ... Read More »

4 Apprehended at Chennai Airport While Trying to Smuggle in Gold Worth Rs 30 Lakh Concealed in Rectum


Chennai: Four people have been apprehended at the Chennai International Airport for trying to smuggle into the country 929 grams of gold worth Rs 30 lakh concealed in their rectum, a customs department official said Sunday. Muthuraman Poominadhan(21), Sahul Hameed (42), Mujib Rahman (50), Kalandar Abbas (27), all Indian passport holders, were intercepted upon their arrival from Colombo on Saturday ... Read More »

Lacson on Customs’ problems: Watch the watchdogs


Instead of placing the Bureau of Customs (BoC) under military control, Senator Panfilo Lacson offered several solutions to weed out corruption within the agency. Lacson noted that in the early 60’s, “very young and idealistic” military officers were also put in charge of the BoC operations. “They could not be bribed nor could they be intimidated even by powerful politicians,” ... Read More »

Thailand most unequal country in 2018


Thailand has overtaken Russia and India as the most unequal country in the latest survey by a Swiss bank. “In 2016, the 1% richest Thais (500,000 people) owned 58.0% of the country’s wealth. In 2018, they controlled 66.9%, overtaking their peers in Russia whose wealth share fell from 78% to 57.1%,” he wrote. Apart from these four, there are no ... Read More »

KZN drug mules’ families shocked by allegations


Durban: The families of the three Durban women arrested in Miami in the US on allegations of drug dealing are struggling to understand how their children got involved in smuggling. Londiwe Shange, 27, Wandile Mhlongo, 29, and Thembeka Sokhulu, 36, all from Durban, were arrested with Viwe Tshaka, 23, from Lusikisiki in the Eastern Cape, last month. The four, who ... Read More »

Up To 13 Years In Prison Cocaine Trafficking From South America


The court in Amsterdam sentenced three men to up to 13 years in prison for large-scale cocaine trafficking. Large batches of cocaine were smuggled out of South America on container ships, thrown overboard at sea, and then fished out by fishing boats from Urk and brought to the Netherlands, NOS reports. The most severe punishment was imposed on Muhammed S. ... Read More »

Lower drug sales potential at Bayer underscores need for deals


FRANKFURT: Germany’s Bayer which acquired seed company Monsanto this year, reduced its combined sales estimate for its most promising experimental drugs, acknowledging it needs to do more to replenish the development pipeline. At its capital markets day in London on Wednesday, it said the tally of peak sales potential of its five most promising drugs was more than 3.75 billion ... Read More »

Foreign investors favour Qatar over Saudi stocks


Doha: Foreign stock investors have made clear which side of the Saudi Arabia-versus-Qatar conundrum they favour, at least in 2018. Overseas institutional investors were net buyers of about $2.3 billion of shares traded on Doha’s bourse this year, more than triple the foreign flows into Riyadh, according to stock-exchange data compiled by Bloomberg. Inflows have picked up in Qatar this ... Read More »

Nineveh-Duhok Customs Post Removed


The Iraqi government has reportedly removed the Fayida customs post between Mosul and Duhok province, following a parliamentary vote that deemed the customs points illegal and ordered their removal. According to Rudaw, the checkpoint, along with two others established by former Iraqi PM Haider al-Abadi between Sulaimani and Kirkuk and Kirkuk and Erbil, were a heavy burden on traders. It ... Read More »

Afghanistan, China ink MoU on expanding trade ties

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KABUL: Afghanistan and China on Wednesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on expanding trade relations by supporting small and intermediate businesses. The MoU was signed between acting Afghan commerce and industry minister KamelaSediqui and her Chinese counterpart Zhong Shan here. Kamela Sediqui said the MoU would help expand trade cooperation between Kabul and Beijing and provide support to small ... Read More »

Taipei Customs officers seize 3,043kg of smuggled meat

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Taipei: Taipei Customs officers seized 3,043 kilograms of meat products brought into the country by passengers arriving from foreign countries between August and November as African swine fever (ASF) continues to spread in China, according to data released Tuesday by Taipei Customs. In response to the continued smuggling of meat products into the country, the Legislature passed on Nov. 30 ... Read More »

Scores arrested in crackdown on Italian cocaine trafficking gang


ROME: Scores of people were arrested in Italy and other European countries on Wednesday in a raid on the ‘Ndrangheta cocaine-trafficking group that officials said is the largest sweep of its kind. Those arrested are suspected of drug trafficking, money laundering, bribery and violence, said Italian police and Eurojust, the European agency that oversees judicial cooperation in crime investigations. The ... Read More »