#AceNewsReport – Jan.20: During Operation Season’s Greetings, the Service conducted 19,121 safety patrols around retail premises and night time economy areas and 9626 patrols at transport hubs, on the public transport network and at park and ride facilities. 1046 checks of licensed premises were carried out.
#AceDailyNews PSNI Report: The Police Service of Northern Ireland conducted more than 28,000 patrols across the country to keep people safe over the Christmas period of varying operations to protect people and arrest offenders.
Operation Dealbreaker, the Service operation to tackle the harm caused by illegal drugs and illicit prescription medication, continued throughout Operation Season’s Greetings and resulted in 2253 searches, 260 arrests and 726 drugs seizures. Drugs with an estimated value of £5.8 million were removed from our streets.
The operation ran from 1st December, 2021 to the beginning of January and saw dedicated resources deployed across all districts in Northern Ireland focusing on public safety, including when shopping, using the roads, socialising or staying at home.
Chief Superintendent Wendy Middleton, District Policing Command, said:
” Operation Season’s Greetings puts the safety of our communities first.
“A focus on violence against women and girls, saw us increase our presence in nightlife areas and work closely with the hospitality industry.
“Officers across Northern Ireland conducted proactive patrols and worked closely with local businesses, licensed premises and our partners in public transport to deliver safe streets, safe roads and safe homes.
“I would like to thank all of those who worked with us, listened to our messaging and supported our efforts throughout Operation Season’s Greetings.
“We will continue to work with all our partners, stakeholders and the public to build safer communities together.”
” We also actively encouraged victims of domestic abuse to report to us through a domestic abuse awareness campaign. From 14 December to 1 January we received 1959 calls for help, an increase of 12 per cent compared to the same period the year before.
#AceNewsReport – Jan.20: This service has been used by cyber-criminals in the preparatory stages of ransomware attacks that have caused significant economic harm to UK businesses.
#AceDailyNews NCA Report: LabVPN takedown and takes UK server of criminal network offline: The activity, led by the Hanover Police Department in Germany, saw the seizure of 15 server infrastructures across the globe yesterday (17 January), with NCA officers taking the UK node of the network offline.
Web domains were replaced with a law enforcement splash page explaining that the network has been seized and is no longer available for use.
LabVPN, which was established in 2008, enabled cyber-criminals to control botnets and malware distribution. It offered virtual private network (VPN) services on the Dark Web based on OpenVPN technology and 2048-bit encryption to provide online anonymity for as little as $60 per year. It was a popular choice for cybercriminals, who could use its services to carry on committing their crimes without fear of detection by authorities.
It was also used to create criminal infrastructure and conduct communications behind ransomware campaigns, as well as the actual deployment of ransomware.
John Denley, Deputy Director of the NCA’s National Cyber Crime Unit, said:
“Cybercriminals using LabVPN clearly thought they could operate with impunity, and remain under the radar of law enforcement.
“This operation shows they were wrong and that there is no hiding place from the combined power of global law enforcement when it comes to taking down illegal IT infrastructure. This included the NCA switching off servers which were being hosted in the UK.
“We continue to work closely with international partners to bolster our capability to respond to this national security threat and strengthen the UK’s response to cyber crime.”
#AceNewsReport – Jan.20: According to the federal indictment and the state of Tulsa’s probable cause affidavit, defendant Linda Been led a criminal enterprise of “Boosters” netting more than $4.5 million from the sale of stolen merchandise and over-the-counter products to fencing organizations outside of Oklahoma.
The “Fences” then sold the stolen products through e-commerce sites, like eBay and Amazon.
#AceDailyNews DOJ Court Report: Twenty-nine members of a large-scale theft ring operating from northeastern Oklahoma were charged by federal and state prosecutors for their roles in an organization whose operations crossed state lines, resulting in more than $10 million in losses to retailers, announced acting Special Agent in Charge Christopher Miller, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Dallas, U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson of the Northern District Oklahoma and Oklahoma Attorney General John O’Connor.
” These federal indictments are a result of the tremendous work and collaboration accomplished by our trusted law enforcement partners, said Miller. “It does not matter where these criminal networks operate and sell their illegally acquired goods. We will work without end to ensure those involved are investigated and brought to justice.”
Been and her team of boosters allegedly stole products from retailers in Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, Missouri, Arkansas, and Colorado. Been would pay boosters’ expenses when they traveled outside Tulsa. She would further pay boosters’ bond when arrested so they could continue their illicit activity. Boosters would then deliver the goods to predetermined locations in Tulsa, Sand Springs, and Cleveland, Oklahoma. The stolen goods were either bulk shipped to other regional fencing operations in the eastern United States or sold online to individual purchasers both domestically and internationally.
“Organized retail crime is costly to the economic well-being of our communities. This alleged retail theft ring is estimated to have caused retailers more than $10 million in losses,” said U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson. “A joint team of investigators have worked meticulously over the past several years to connect the evidence and bring this case forward for prosecution. I am thankful for their professionalism and persistence.”
Financial payments for the stolen products were often made through PayPal, Venmo, and Cash App, and some payments were made with drugs. Stores targeted in the theft of goods included Reasor’s, Sprouts, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Costco, Walgreens, CVS, GNC and others.
Oklahoma Attorney General John O’ Conner said, “These are serious crimes. Organized crime is on the rise nationwide, and my office is committed to holding criminals accountable for their actions. I want to thank the state, local, and federal law enforcement agents and prosecutors for their work and partnership in this case.”
Other law enforcement agencies supporting the investigation included the IRS-Criminal Investigation Division, Tulsa County Sheriff’s Department, the Tulsa City Police Department, and HSI Task Force Officers from the Oklahoma Office of the Attorney General.
The investigation into the retail theft ring began in 2019 when an organized crime investigator from a pharmacy retailer shared information with law enforcement about bulk thefts at their Tulsa area locations. The investigation is ongoing. In some cases, the defendants are being charged by both state and federal statutes.
Assistant U.S. Attorney’s Richard M. Cella and Reagan V. Reininger are prosecuting the case on behalf of the federal government. Senior Deputy Attorney General Joy Thorp and Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Dane Towery are prosecuting the case on behalf of the state of Oklahoma.
A “booster” is a person who steals goods and merchandise, specifically, but not limited to OTC from retail stores. A “fence” or “fencing operation” is a person, organization or entity that purchases or receives stolen goods and merchandise from boosters. The fence or fencing operation then re-sells the stolen goods and merchandise to third parties.
HSI is a directorate of ICE and the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. HSI’s workforce of over 10,400 employees consists of more than 7,100 special agents assigned to 220 cities throughout the United States, and 80 overseas locations in 53 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.
#AceNewsReport – Jan.20: Responsible AI is a governance framework that covers ethical, legal, safety, privacy, and accountability concerns.
#AceDailyNews says according to a Venture Beat News Report: There is little doubt that AI is changing the business landscape and providing competitive advantages to those that embrace it. It is time, however, to move beyond the simple implementation of AI and to ensure that AI is being done in a safe and ethical manner. This is called responsible AI and will serve not only as a protection against negative consequences, but also as a competitive advantage in and of itself By David Ellison, Lenovo
Responsible AI is a governance framework that covers ethical, legal, safety, privacy, and accountability concerns. Although the implementation of responsible AI varies by company, the necessity of it is clear. Without responsible AI practices in place, a company is exposed to serious financial, reputational, and legal risks. On the positive side, responsible AI practices are becoming prerequisites to even bidding on certain contracts, especially when governments are involved; a well-executed strategy will greatly help in winning those bids. Additionally, embracing responsible AI can contribute to a reputational gain to the company overall.
Values by design
Much of the problem implementing responsible AI comes down to foresight. This foresight is the ability to predict what ethical or legal issues an AI system could have during its development and deployment lifecycle. Right now, most of the responsible AI considerations happen after an AI product is developed — a very ineffective way to implement AI. If you want to protect your company from financial, legal, and reputational risk, you have to start projects with responsible AI in mind. Your company needs to have values by design, not by whatever you happen to end up with at the end of a project.
Implementing values by design
Responsible AI covers a large number of values that need to be prioritized by company leadership. While covering all areas is important in any responsible AI plan, the amount of effort your company expends in each value is up to company leaders. There has to be a balance between checking for responsible AI and actually implementing AI. If you expend too much effort on responsible AI, your effectiveness may suffer. On the other hand, ignoring responsible AI is being reckless with company resources. The best way to combat this trade off is starting off with a thorough analysis at the onset of the project, and not as an after-the-fact effort.
Best practice is to establish a responsible AI committee to review your AI projects before they start, periodically during the projects, and upon completion. The purpose of this committee is to evaluate the project against responsible AI values and approve, disapprove, or disapprove with actions to bring the project in compliance. This can include requesting more information be obtained or things that need to be changed fundamentally. Like an Institutional Review Board that is used to monitor ethics in biomedical research, this committee should contain both experts in AI and non-technical members. The non-technical members can come from any background and serve as a reality check on the AI experts. AI experts, on the other hand, may better understand the difficulties and remediations possible but can become too used to institutional and industry norms that may not be sensitive enough to concerns of the greater community. This committee should be convened at the onset of the project, periodically during the project, and at the end of the project for final approval.
What values should the Responsible AI Committee consider?
Values to focus on should be considered by the business to fit within its overall mission statement. Your business will likely choose specific values to emphasize, but all major areas of concern should be covered. There are many frameworks you can choose to use for inspiration such as Google’s and Facebook’s. For this article, however, we will be basing the discussion on the recommendations set forth by the High-Level Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence Set Up by The European Commission in The Assessment List for Trustworthy Artificial Intelligence. These recommendations include seven areas. We will explore each area and suggest questions to be asked regarding each area.
1. Human agency and oversight
AI projects should respect human agency and decision making. This principle involves how the AI project will influence or support humans in the decision making process. It also involves how the subjects of AI will be made aware of the AI and put trust in its outcomes. Some questions that need to be asked include:
Are users made aware that a decision or outcome is the result of an AI project?
Is there any detection and response mechanism to monitor adverse effects of the AI project?
2. Technical robustness and safety
Technical robustness and safety require that AI projects preemptively address concerns around risks associated with the AI performing unreliably and minimize the impact of such. The results of the AI project should include the ability of the AI to perform predictably and consistently, and it should cover the need of the AI to be protected from cybersecurity concerns. Some questions that need to be asked include:
Has the AI system been tested by cybersecurity experts?
Is there a monitoring process to measure and access risks associated with the AI project?
3. Privacy and data governance
AI should protect individual and group privacy, both in its inputs and its outputs. The algorithm should not include data that was gathered in a way that violates privacy, and it should not give results that violate the privacy of the subjects, even when bad actors are trying to force such errors. In order to do this effectively, data governance must also be a concern. Appropriate questions to ask include:
Does any of the training or inference data use protected personal data?
Can the results of this AI project be crossed with external data in a way that would violate an individual’s privacy?
Transparency covers concerns about traceability in individual results and overall explainability of AI algorithms. The traceability allows the user to understand why an individual decision was made. Explainability refers to the user being able to understand the basics of the algorithm that was used to make the decision. It also refers to the ability of the user to understand what factors where involved in the decision making process for their specific prediction. Questions to ask are:
Do you monitor and record the quality of the input data?
Can a user receive feedback as to how a certain decision was made and what they could do to change that decision?
5. Diversity, non-discrimination
In order to be considered responsible AI, the AI project must work for all subgroups of people as well as possible. While AI bias can rarely be eliminated entirely, it can be effectively managed. This mitigation can take place during the data collection process — to include a more diverse background of people in the training dataset — and can also be used at inference time to help balance accuracy between different groupings of people. Common questions include:
Did you balance your training dataset as much as possible to include various subgroups of people?
Do you define fairness and then quantitatively evaluate the results?
6. Societal and environmental well-being
An AI project should be evaluated in terms of its impact on the subjects and users along with its impact on the environment. Social norms such as democratic decision making, upholding values, and preventing addiction to AI projects should be upheld. Furthermore the results of the decisions of the AI project on the environment should be considered where applicable. One factor applicable in nearly all cases is an evaluation of the amount of energy needed to train the required models. Questions that can be asked:
Did you assess the project’s impact on its users and subjects as well as other stakeholders?
How much energy is required to train the model and how much does that contribute to carbon emissions?
Some person or organization needs to be responsible for the actions and decisions made by the AI project or encountered during development. There should be a system to ensure adequate possibility of redress in cases where detrimental decisions are made. There should also be some time and attention paid to risk management and mitigation. Appropriate questions include:
Can the AI system be audited by third parties for risk?
What are the major risks associated with the AI project and how can they be mitigated?
The bottom line
The seven values of responsible AI outlined above provide a starting point for an organization’s responsible AI initiative. Organizations who choose that pursue responsible AI will find they increasingly have access to more opportunities — such as bidding on government contracts. Organizations that don’t implement these practices expose themselves to legal, ethical, and reputational risks.
David Ellison is Senior AI Data Scientist at Lenovo.
#AceNewsReport – Jan.20: The last time inflation was higher was in March 1992, when it was 7.1%…………And with gas and electricity costs set to increase further soon, analysts warned it could reach that level again: Households have seen their energy bills kept in check by the government’s price cap, which limits the amount suppliers can charge, but this is set to be revised on 1 April: As a result, fuel bills could increase by another 50% in the next few months, the energy industry has warned.
Separate official figures issued on Tuesday showed that average pay rises are failing to keep up with the rise in the cost of living.
Regular pay, excluding bonuses and adjusted for inflation, fell 1% in November compared with the same month in the previous year.
Paul Johnson, director at the Institute for Fiscal Studies think tank, said people on low incomes would be particularly hard hit by the squeeze on living standards.
“Everyone, particularly those on modest incomes, has had a long period of wages not really growing any faster than prices over the last decade, so another increase at this point is going to be particularly painful,” he told the BBC.
Stress for young people
Inflation at this level is a new phenomenon for many young people, who were not even born when prices were last rising this fast.
One worker, 24-year-old Alfie Kearns from Liverpool, told the BBC he believed inflation was making it harder to save money so that he can move out of his family home.
“Energy bills and gas and everything has been going up,” he said. “A big thing for me right now is I want to move out, I want my own home and that’s the next step for me and it’s just impossible in the current climate.”
However, there is little sign of a respite for him and others like him, say analysts.
Paul Dales of Capital Economics said inflation was now expected to hit 7% by April.
“That would be higher than the peak of 6% that the Bank of England was forecasting when it raised rates in December,” he added.
“And although inflation will fall back thereafter, we think it will stay above 4% for all of this year and won’t drop to the 2% target until April 2023.”
As a result, he said, the Bank of England’s rate-setting Monetary Policy Committee was likely to raise interest rates faster than most people expected, with the next increase to 0.5% expected in February.
Already-high prices for gas, electricity, food and used cars are set to climb further in the coming months, said BBC economics editor Faisal Islam.
Meanwhile, the Retail Price Index, an inflation measure which is still widely used by government and some businesses, including for wage bargaining, is already at 7.5%.
The concern is not only that the predicted peak of inflation is getting higher, but that it will prove “stickier” than expected, he added.
Kate Greig helps run the Kent Food Hub in Ashford
Businesses, who face soaring wholesale prices, now face the dilemma of whether to pass on those costs to squeezed consumers.
One businesswoman, Kate Greig, helps run Kent Food Hubs, a co-operative that helps traders and producers in the county to sell direct to customers.
She said her suppliers are seeing increases in their material costs, as well as things such as energy bills.
“Food is more expensive, fuel is more expensive,” she told the BBC. “For my traders, raw materials are more expensive, whether that’s the lentils to make a meal or the cardboard they use to package it.”
Commenting on the crisis, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “I understand the pressures people are facing with the cost of living, and we will continue to listen to people’s concerns as we have done throughout the pandemic.”
He said the government was providing support worth about £12bn this financial year and next to help families cope.
Shadow Treasury secretary Pat McFadden said: “These figures show that the cost-of-living crisis is only going to get worse in the coming months.
“Working families are already feeling the crunch. But the triple whammy of an imminent rise in the energy price cap, real wages falling and Tory tax rises coming down the tracks are going to make this crisis even worse.”
#AceNewsReport – Jan.20: Activision Blizzard — whose studios are behind several successful PC, console, and mobile video game franchises such as “Warcraft,” “Diablo,” “Overwatch,” “Call Of Duty,” and “Candy Crush” — employs nearly 10,000 people around the world. The Santa Monica video game company also has a global eSports franchises like “Overwatch League,” “Call of Duty League,” “Hearthstone Grandmasters,” and “World of Warcraft Arena World Chamionship.”
#AceSocialDesk says according to CBSLocal News Report: Microsoft To Acquire Santa Monica-Based Activision Blizzard In $68.7 Billion Deal
January.18, 2022 at 9:33 am
“Gaming is the most dynamic and exciting category in entertainment across all platforms today and will play a key role in the development of metaverse platforms,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in a statement.
Microsoft says Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick and his team will remain in their positions, reporting to Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer once the deal closes sometime this year.
“The combination of Activision Blizzard’s world-class talent and extraordinary franchises with Microsoft’s technology, distribution, access to talent, ambitious vision and shared commitment to gaming and inclusion will help ensure our continued success in an increasingly competitive industry,” Kotick said in a statement.
The acquisition comes just a few months after the company’s leadership came under fire due to their lack of response to a lawsuit alleging harassment and inequality. Several hundred employees at the Santa Monica headquarters staged a walkout last summer, and in a statement to one report from the Wall Street Journal, Activision Blizzard says it has made “significant improvements, including a zero-tolerance policy for inappropriate conduct” at Kotick’s direction.
#AceNewsReport – Jan.20: The adopted law amends two articles of the Russian Criminal Code: Article 131 (“Rape”) and Article 132 (“Violent acts of a sexual nature”). Both articles now provide for a life sentence for those who have already been convicted of sexual abuse of minors if they have committed a similar crime against a child under 14 years of age.
#AceDailyNews says the State Duma adopted a law on life imprisonment for pedophiles; as deputies adopted in the second and third readings the law on life imprisonment for crimes against the sexual integrity of minors according to MEDUZA News
The law expands the application of the maximum penalty. According to the adopted amendments, in addition to recidivist pedophiles, a prison term of 15 to 20 years or life imprisonment can be sentenced if sexual crimes:
committed against two or more minors under 18;
are associated with the commission of another grave or especially grave crime against a person (for example, the use of violence).
The authors of the law were the head of the State Duma Committee on State Construction and Legislation Pavel Krasheninnikov, the head of the State Duma Committee on Information Policy Alexander Khinshtein and Senator Andrey Turchak.
#AceNewsReport – Jan.20: According to court documents, Kambiz Attar Kashani, 44, conspired to illegally export goods and technology to the Central Bank of Iran (CBI), which the U.S. government recognizes is an agency of the government of Iran.
#AceDailyNews DOJ Court Report: Defendant Allegedly Conspired to Illegally Export U.S. Goods and Technology without Required Licenses: A dual Iranian-U.S. citizen was arrested Friday in Chicago, on criminal charges related to his alleged conspiracy to illegally export U.S. goods, technology and services to end users in Iran, including the government of Iran, in violation of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA).
Kashani and his co-conspirators procured U.S.-origin goods and information technology for ultimate use in Iran, including for use by the Government of Iran,” said Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division. “Kashani repeatedly lied to numerous U.S. companies to conceal his intention to ship items to Iran, allowing him to illegally obtain information technology for use by the CBI and other Iranian entities. The Justice Department continues to do everything it can to end the illegal export of items that threaten our national security.”
“As alleged, Kashani orchestrated an elaborate scheme to evade U.S. export laws and use the U.S. financial system in procuring U.S. electronic equipment and technology for the CBI, which has been designated by the United States government as acting for or on behalf of terrorist organizations,” said U.S. Attorney Breon Peace for the Eastern District of New York. “The defendant allegedly used two United Arab Emirates companies as fronts to procure items from multiple U.S. technology companies, including a company in Brooklyn. Kashani’s arrest underscores the unrelenting resolve of this office and the Department of Justice to prosecute those who seek to profit by compromising our national security.”
“Technology illegally transferred to Iran from the United States could be used by terrorists, which is why the FBI and its partners devote significant resources to these investigations,” said Assistant Director Alan E. Kohler Jr. of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division. “Those doing the bidding for Iran in the United States should expect the full force of our law enforcement and Intelligence Community partners.”
The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has classified CBI as a Specially Designated National (SDN) signifying that CBI is acting for or on behalf of a terrorist organization. According to the U.S. government, CBI has materially assisted, sponsored and provided financial, material or technological support, goods or services to Lebanese Hizballah, a terrorist organization, and to the Qods Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). The IRGC is a branch of the Iranian armed forces and represents the primary means of the Government of Iran to direct and implement its global terrorism campaign.
Kashani allegedly perpetrated the illegal transshipping scheme through two separate United Arab Emirates (UAE) front companies for which he acts as principal. From around February 2019 through June 2021, Kashani and his co-conspirators used the two UAE companies to procure electronic goods and technology from multiple U.S. technology companies, including a company located in Brooklyn, New York, for end users in Iran, including CBI, without obtaining required OFAC export licenses. Kashani and his co-conspirators intentionally concealed from the U.S. companies that they intended to ship the items to Iran, falsely claiming that the UAE front companies would be the ultimate end users.
Kashani is charged with one count of conspiracy to unlawfully export goods to Iran, and will make his initial court appearance in the Northern District of Illinois this afternoon. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 20 years’ imprisonment and a $1 million fine. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The FBI is investigating the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Alexander A. Solomon and Meredith A. Arfa for the Eastern District of New York; Assistant U.S. Attorney Shawn McCarthy for the Northern District of Illinois; and Trial Attorney S. Derek Shugert of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section are prosecuting the case.
A complaint is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
#AceNewsReport – Jan.20: These successful interdictions were possible thanks to excellent coordination and collaboration between the Coast Guard and our local and federal partners within the Caribbean Border Interagency Group, together, we stand ready and respond daily to protect our nation’s maritime border from illegal voyages and other existing threats,” said Cmdr. Beau Powers, Sector San Juan chief of response. “To anyone thinking of taking part in an illegal voyage, we urge you not to take to the sea! Your life and the life of everyone else taking part in the voyage will be in great danger. The sea-state conditions of the Mona Passage are dangerous and quite unpredictable, especially for these grossly overloaded makeshift vessels that most often are unseaworthy and have no lifesaving equipment onboard.”
#AceDailyNews US Coast Guard Report: The interdictions are the result of ongoing local and federal multi-agency efforts in support of the Caribbean Border Interagency Group CBIG.
Coast Guard repatriates 90 Dominicans to the Dominican Republic, following 3 illegal voyage interdictions near Puerto Rico
Editor’s note: Click on images to download.
The Coast Guard Cutter Winslow Griesser interdicted the first illegal voyage Thursday morning, after the aircrew of a Customs and Border Protection Marine Enforcement Aircraft detected a 30-foot makeshift vessel, approximately 25 nautical miles northwest of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.
The cutter Winslow Griesser interdicted a second illegal voyage Friday morning, after the aircrew of a Customs and Border Protection Marine Enforcement Aircraft detected a 24-foot makeshift vessel, approximately 24 nautical miles north of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.
The Coast Guard Cutter Richard Dixon interdicted the third illegal voyage Saturday afternoon, after the aircrew of a Customs and Border Protection Marine Enforcement Aircraft detected a 26-foot makeshift vessel, approximately 45 nautical miles north of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.
Once aboard a Coast Guard cutter, persons who are interdicted receive food, water, shelter and basic medical attention. Throughout the interdictions, Coast Guard crewmembers were equipped with personal protective equipment to minimize potential exposure to any possible case of COVID-19.
The cutter Richard Dixon completed the repatriation process during a rendezvous with a Dominican Republic Navy vessel near Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.
Family members in the United States inquiring about possible family members interdicted at sea, please contact your local U.S. representative. Relatives located outside the United States please contact your local U.S. Embassy.
CBIG was formally created to unify efforts of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Puerto Rico and Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid Action, in their common goal of securing the border of Puerto Rico against illegal migration and drug smuggling.
#AceNewsReport – Jan.19: Officers deployed to hotspot areas based on intelligence and used Automatic Number Plate Recognition to target vehicles which activated the technology and showed a link to violence and associated crimes: Youth workers from the charity Bounce Back, who interact with young offenders offering support and guidance to help them find ways out of criminal lifestyles, also joined the operation, working in dedicated custody suites providing immediate intervention.
#AceDailyNews Operation Pandilla UPDATE Report: More than 130 arrests in three-day operation to tackle drugs and violence in three-day operation saw officers from the MET work alongside with Thames Valley, Hertfordshire, Surrey, Kent and British Transport Police.
18 January 2022 14:01
The operation, which ran between 11-13 January, resulted in (MPS results only):
132 arrests for knife, weapons, and drugs offences;
15 knives/weapons recovered;
1 firearm recovered;
50 drug seizures;
12 cash seizures, amounting to a total of £28,740.34;
47 vehicles seized.
Officers also used drugs swipes at the roadside for the first time as part of the operation, which enabled officers to detect individuals whose driving was impaired by recreational drugs, further denying the use of the roads to those involved in drugs.
Chief Inspector Rob Ranstead, who led the operation, said:
” Tackling violent crime and the supply of drugs is a top priority, which includes targeting the drivers which fuel.
“The key aim of this operation was to stop drugs and weapons being brought onto the streets. Preventing these crimes, while also safeguarding vulnerable individuals on the cusp of violence, is paramount.
“As part of this operation, young people received instant support, independent of police. This type of collaborative approach can have a real impact on finding longer-term solutions reducing violent crime.”
Officers from the Met’s Violent Crime Taskforce (VCTF) were supported by the Roads and Transport Policing Command (RTPC), Met Intelligence, the Dog Support Unit and the National Police Air Service (NPAS).
Op Pandilla was deployed to these specific hotspot areas across London:
Camden/ Islington (A10 corridor);
Hackney/ Tower Hamlets (A10 corridor);
Kensington & Chelsea (Ladbroke Grove).
These deployments were enhanced across London by the Violence Suppression Units.
Last year, January to December 2021 (Calendar Year), compared to the same period prior to the pandemic in 2019, saw:
Homicides decrease by 13% (19 fewer victims)
Knife crime decrease by 32% (4,914 fewer offences)
Knife crime with injury decrease by 20% (790 fewer victims)
Knife Injury (victims under 25 and non-DA) decrease by 27% (456 fewer victims)
Personal robbery decrease by 44% (16,170 fewer victims)
Personal robbery knife injury decrease by 34% (186 fewer victims)
Gun crime decrease by 35% (741 fewer offences)
Lethal barrel discharges decrease by 21% (58 fewer offences)
Despite these reductions, we know there is more to do. Our determination to tackle these crimes remains strong and we will continue to work with our partners, and use every power and tactic available, to serve and protect our communities.
If you have any information about drug crime or violence, please contact police or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 – your anonymity is guaranteed. They are a totally independent charity and you remain 100 per cent anonymous, they never ask your name and they cannot trace your call, your IP address or device you use. Alternatively, visit their website https://crimestoppers-uk.org/.
#AceNewsReport – Jan.19: The 37-year-old, from Swindon in Wiltshire, had been living in Wolverhampton when he began his abuse of the first girl by sexual touching, before raping her. The abuse continued for several years until the girl found the courage to report what was happening to her.
#AceDailyNews Court Report: Joseph Smith used his position of trust to prey on the girls from a young age for more than four years until his arrest in June 2019.
18th January 2022
COURT CASE NOTES:
When detectives from our Public Protection Unit began their investigation, it emerged that Smith had also abused a second girl by sexually assaulting her.
Smith denied the charged and forced both survivors to endure a two week trial at Wolverhampton Crown Court which ended on 24 November 2021 when the jury found him guilty of nine counts of sexual assault and nine counts of rape.
On Thursday (13 Jan) Smith was sentenced to 24 years in prison and will remain on the Sex Offenders Register for life.
Detective Constable Kerry Bromhall said:
Smith subjected the girls to years of physical abuse, not to mention the psychological torment that such abuse often leaves behind.
“I commend these young girls for their bravery, firstly in coming forward to report what happened to them, but also in continually reliving their experience through a lengthy investigation, hampered by Covid, and giving evidence at trial.
“I truly hope this sentence gives them the closure they need and the knowledge that Smith is no longer able to do this to anyone else.”
If you have been subjected to sexual abuse, no matter how long ago, we have specialist officers to help you. We work with a range of agencies who can offer advice and support.
#AceNewsReport – Jan.19: Bogus callers will pretend to be visiting the victim’s home on official business, such as a salesperson, from a utility company or there to do work on their house. A recent incident in the Trafford area, saw the offender gain entry to an address under the guise of carrying out decorating at the property, after the victim had seen a recommendation for his services on social media, however while there, the offender took £3,000 worth of jewellery.
#AceDailyNews GM Police ALERT WARNING Report: Police are reminding people of simple steps they can take to protect themselves from these bogus callers:
Always lock your doors, even when you’re at home.
Ask for identification before letting anyone you don’t know into your house.
Check credentials, including a permanent business address and landline telephone number.
If you need work done to your home, get several written quotes from trustworthy or recommended firms, then decide who is right for you.
Detective Chief Inspector Joe Harrop, of GMP’s Economic and Cyber Crime Unit, said:
” Most people who call at your home will be genuine, however it’s important to remain vigilant and not feel pressured when answering the door to someone you don’t know, it’s also important when hiring tradespeople, to take recommendations from people you trust or get references from past customers.
“Remember – if in don’t, keep them out, and if you have any suspicious call the police on 101, make a report online at www.gmp.police.uk. Always call 99 in an emergency.”
#AceNewsReport – Jan.19: This sentencing comes as part of The City of Manchester’s Operation Valiant – a dedicated operation set up by Greater Manchester Police to reduce the number of personal robberies across Manchester and keep the community and their belongings safe.
#AceDailyNews Court Report: Abdiqani Jama (18/06/92) of Jetson Street was yesterday (Monday 17 January 2022) sentenced to six years and six months in prison after being found guilty of Robbery.
In the early hours of the morning on 22 May 2021, the victim, a 44-year-old man, won £2000 in a casino in Manchester City Centre
After cashing out his winnings, he left the gaming floor and as he walked up the stairs to exit the casino, Jama approached him and put his hand on his shoulder. The victim told Jama to get off of him and he left the casino.
As the victim was walking down Portland Street, Jama approached him a second time and pushed him in the back before pulling him down to the ground and attacking him. He punched and head-butted the victim multiple times in a seven minute ordeal causing his left eye to close with the swelling.
During the attack, Jama reached into the victim’s pocket and took the £2000 before making off.
PC Ross Smith, of GMP’s Operation Valiant Team, said:
” Jama is a dangerous and greedy individual who thought he was above the law when he attacked and robbed his victim.
“I hope this sentence sends a clear message that this type of behaviour will absolutely not be tolerated in Greater Manchester.”
#AceNewsReport – Jan.19: He was sentenced at the same court on Monday, 17 January to five years’ imprisonment. This is to run consecutively with a sentence of 13 years’ imprisonment that he is currently serving.
#AceDailyNews Court Report Convicted #paedophile given further jail sentence for historical sex offences carried out by Leslie Paul, 70 (09.05.51), of HMP Thameside, had been found guilty in September 2021 at Inner London Crown Court of nine counts of indecent assault, two counts of indecency with a child and one count of buggery without consent against two boys who were aged 13 and 14 at the time.
18 January 2022 07:00
The offences took place between 1981 and 1982 at South Vale Assessment Home, where Paul was employed as a care worker, and at other undisclosed locations in London.
Paul would exploit his position to abuse the boys.
One of the victims came forward to police in 2016. An investigation was launched by detectives specialising in historic allegations and the further victim was identified.
Paul was charged on Tuesday, 22 September 2020.
Paul had already been sentenced in January 2016 to 13 year’s imprisonment for historic offences against young boys and is subject to an indefinite Sexual Harm Prevention Order.
Detective Constable Lisa Main, the investigating officer from Central Specialist Crime, said:
” The two victims who contacted us are now men and have been carrying the trauma of what happened to them for an incredibly long time.
“They were young, in care and vulnerable, and they were preyed upon by Paul. He ruthlessly used and abused the trust placed in his position as a care worker in the most disgusting, evil and calculated way. He behaved as if he thought he could get away with it.
“I commend and thank these two survivors for coming forward to report to us what happened to them. They have supported us steadfastly throughout our investigation and through the judicial process. I hope the knowledge that no other victims will suffer at Paul’s hands will go some small way to bringing them some peace of mind as they look to the next chapters of their lives.
“If you have been the victim of a historic sexual offence, I urge you to report it to us. Any discussion will be in the strictest of confidence, we will listen to you, and we will do everything in our power to bring any offenders to justice.”
#AceNewsReport – Jan.19: In November 2021, at Snaresbrook Crown Court, Akpoveta was found guilty of four counts of rape, three counts of assault by penetration, three counts of sexual assault and one count of causing a person to engage in sexual activity without their consent. This was along with three counts of assault by beating at a previous trial in October 2020.
#AceDailyNews Court Report: Charles Akpoveta, 33 (27.06.88), a delivery driver living in Luton, was sentenced at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Monday, 17 January to a total of 17 years’ imprisonment.
18 January 2022 06:00
Detective Constable Matthew Cooksey, investigating, said:
First and foremost, I would like to commend the victim of these attacks for her bravery and determination throughout the investigation, in particular dealing with two cross examinations across two trials and her unwavering commitment to working with detectives throughout. Her strength of character is inspiring.
“Throughout our investigation, Akpoveta paraded as a man who had been wrongly accused, claiming that everything which he subjected the victim to was consensual. This couldn’t have been further from the truth.
“I hope that today’s result will give the victim some respite, and also demonstrate the Met’s determination in ending violence against women and girls and bringing predatory offenders to justice.”
On 29 February 2020, Akpoveta travelled from Luton to London to meet with a 28-year-old woman he had made contact with via a social media app.
They went to her flat in Tower Hamlets where they had consensual sex. Afterwards, Akpoveta’s mood changed and he spat in her face.
The woman asked him to leave but he refused to do so, locking and chaining her front door. Over the next two to three hours, Akpoveta carried out a number of assaults on the woman. These included beating, biting, strangling and urinating on her.
During the course of the night, the woman was able to phone police. Officers attended and arrested Akpoveta. He was taken to an east London police station and subsequently charged with multiple offences.
If you have been a victim of a sexual assault and need advice, please visit our website which also contains details of a number of charities and support groups.
#AceNewsReport – Jan.19: A woman was stabbed to death inside the furniture store where she works at in Hancock Park in what authorities are calling a “random” attack.
#AceDailyNews LAPD UPDATE REPORT: A 24-year-old employee stabbed to death inside Hancock Park store in ‘random’ attack
January 14, 2022
Woman Found Murdered CASE NUMBER: NR22008ne: The Los Angeles Police Department, West Bureau Homicide detectives are investigating the murder of 24-year-old Brianna Kupfer, a Pacific Palisades resident.
On Thursday afternoon, January 13, 2022, around 1:50 p.m., Wilshire Patrol officers responded to a radio call of an “Ambulance Assault with a Deadly Weapon” at a business, located at the 300 block of North La Brea Avenue. The officers met with the reporting party, a customer who had entered the store and discovered the victim deceased on the floor.
Detectives have determined the suspect was not known to the victim and was a random walk in to the store. The suspect attacked the victim with a knife and fled the scene through the back door. There is no known motive at this time. The suspect was last seen on video surveillance northbound in the alley to the rear of the crime scene.
The suspect is described as a male Black, unknown age, tall, thin, wearing a dark hoody, sunglasses, a white N-95 mask, dark skinny jeans, dark shoes and carrying a dark back pack. Based on evidence discovered by detectives, the suspect is believed to be homeless.
“The suspect is described as a male Black, unknown age, tall, thin, wearing a dark hoodie, sunglasses, a white N-95 mask, dark skinny jeans, dark shoes and carrying a dark back pack,” the LAPD wrote in a press release Friday. “Based on evidence discovered by detectives, the suspect is believed to be homeless.”
Anyone with information on this shooting should contact West Bureau Homicide investigators at (213) 382-9470. During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (877-527-3247). Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477). Tipsters may also contact Crime Stoppers by texting to phone number 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a cell phone. All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.” Tipsters may also go to LAPDOnline.org, click on “webtips” and follow the prompts.
#AceNewsReport – Jan.19: According to the research, the crypto industry outpaced the wider tech industry, which also saw remarkable development, almost doubling its number of job listings. No industry was safe from ‘crypto-ization’ in 2021, LinkedIn said.
#AceDailyNews says according to RT News Report: Crypto job growth outpacing Big Tech: While most of the job postings were in software and finance, other industries are also seeing a rise in demand for crypto talent. These include professional services like accounting and consulting, as well as the staffing and computer hardware sectors.”
Crypto job growth is set to continue in 2022, with the need for professionals to work on and with digital assets – partly because of the rising number of enterprises working with crypto and blockchain.
The biggest exchanges in crypto (Coinbase, Kraken, and Binance) were brimming with job posts, LinkedIn said. There’s even a new service dedicated to helping connect Bitcoiners with Bitcoin-only companies.
Israel’s longest serving leader was unseated after elections last year.
He is head of the right-wing Likud, the largest party in the Israeli parliament, and was prime minister for a record 15 years.
In his last five years in office, Mr Netanyahu was dogged by a police investigation into allegations against him, followed by the start of his trial in 2020.
He is accused of bribery, fraud and breach of trust in connection with three separate cases. He denies the charges against him, saying they are politically motivated.
Reports that Mr Netanyahu has been discussing a plea deal with Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit emerged in Israeli media in recent days. An unnamed source connected to the talks confirmed the negotiations on Sunday, news agencies said.
Israeli media say Mr Netanyahu has instructed his lawyers to continue the talks despite reported objections of his family to the prospect that he would accept a level of guilt.
November 2019 – Benjamin Netanyahu rails against corruption charges
In the three cases against him, Mr Netanyahu is accused of receiving gifts in exchange for favours; negotiating to improve the circulation of an Israeli newspaper in exchange for positive coverage; and promoting legislation financially favourable to the owner of an Israeli telecom giant in exchange for positive coverage on its news site.
Conviction on the latter charge alone – considered the most serious of the three cases – carries a jail term of up to 10 years and/or a fine.
The source close to the talks said that in return for the cases being dropped Mr Netanyahu is being asked to accept a charge of “moral turpitude”, which would ban him from politics for seven years – something which the former prime minister is said to be objecting to.
Mr Netanyahu, who has the solid support of his political base, has railed against the current coalition government and has said he aims to return to power at the earliest opportunity.
His years in office saw a deepening rift between the left and right in Israel, with weekly mass demonstrations against him in the final months of his premiership.
Polls reports in Israeli media on Sunday suggested that a majority of the country are opposed to a plea deal, with most believing his fate should be decided in court.
#AceNewsReport – Jan.19: A pesticide which can harm bees has been approved for use in 2022: After being banned by EU & UK in 2018:
#AceDailyNews says according to BBC News Beat Report: ‘Banned’ bee-harming pesticide approved for use, despite expert advice: Emergency use of a product containing the chemical thiamethoxam has been authorised in England because of a virus which affects sugar beets.
In 2018, an almost total ban was put in by the EU and UK because of the serious damage the chemical could cause to bees.
The decision came despite expert advisers finding pollution from the pesticide would damage river life, and requirements for use had not been met.
But Environment Secretary George Eustice said product use would be “limited and controlled”.
Charities and campaign groups are angry at the chemical now being approved for use.
As part of the government’s decision, Mr Eustice said thiamethoxam could only be used once a virus threshold had been reached, to ensure use “only if necessary”.
British Sugar successfully applied for an exemption to allow the banned pesticide to be used in England this year because of the threat posed by yellow virus.
Sugar beet is important for the production of sugar
The decision has been criticised by environmental charities.
The “farming system would collapse” without bees, RSPB senior policy officer Stephanie Morren says.
“Across England the wildlife we love is in decline, even the buzzing of bees in our farmlands and countryside is becoming quieter every year.”
Matt Shardlow, CEO of Buglife, said it was “shameful” no action had been taken to make sure “bee and wildlife destroying pesticides are properly assessed as being pollinator safe”.
Bees are important in the process of pollinating plants
Joan Edwards, director of policy and public affairs at The Wildlife Trusts, said the move was “a clear betrayal of promises” made to protect the natural world.
Friends of the Earth campaigner Sandra Bell criticised the decision for going “against the recommendation” of their own experts.
A spokesman for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said the decision was “based on robust scientific assessment”.
“We evaluate the risks very carefully and only grant temporary emergency authorisations for restricted pesticides in special circumstances when strict requirements are met.”
Why are bees important?
Milan Wiercx van Rhijn, from the charity Bees for Development told Newsbeat in 2021 insects play a vital role in the food chain – with around a third of the food we eat relying on pollination mainly by bees.
“If we kill the insects which are the starting blocks in the chain, we’ll kill the animals higher up,” he adds.
“It’s hard to grasp how much of an impact it’ll have on us.”
Research has found farm pesticides are killing more bees
He suggests alternative methods need to be found.
“Agriculture must be regenerative, and we cannot continue destroying the ecosystem on which we depend.”
“Future generations will be shocked that we ever considered using these toxins – we see already the catastrophic decline in insects and biodiversity.”
He advises a greater focus on having “strong, resilient bio-abundance” – which is letting things grow properly and “not cutting them down”.
“Keep your flowers growing in the spring, as that will have food for pollinators.”
Listen to Newsbeat live at 12:45 and 17:45 weekdays – or listen back here.
#AceNewsReport – Jan.18: He was arrested by National Crime Agency officers at his Kensington flat in October 2018. The weapons – three tasers and a pepper spray – were recovered following a search of the flat and his Porsche.
#AceDailyNews Court Report: Ex-Panorama producer sought out ‘Preteen’ sexual abuse online Victor Melleney, 76, who previously worked on programmes such as Panorama and Question time, also pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to four counts of possessing a prohibited weapon following NCA Investigation
COURT CASE NOTES:
Officers also seized Melleney’s laptop and iPad from this address.
An external hard drive, which he initially attempted to hide in his pocket, was recovered from the bathroom of the flat.
His devices contained over 800 images and videos of child sexual abuse (categories A-C) and he had downloaded four different Peer 2 Peer file sharing applications onto them.
Analysis showed that the keywords he used to search for the material included “PTHC” (Pre Teen Hard Core), “Preteen” and “11 yo”.
In March 2019, NCA officers executed a warrant at another of Melleney’s properties in West Wittering, Chichester, as intelligence showed that he had also accessed child abuse material from the address in the month prior to his arrest.
Melleney was found guilty of possessing indecent images of children at Kingston Crown Court on 17 December 2021. He was sentenced for this, and the prohibited weapons offences, at the same court today (14 January).
Martin Ludlow, Operations Manager at the National Crime Agency, said:
“Melleney had a significant collection of child abuse material, which he obtained from the internet.
“It’s really important not to forget that behind every sexual abuse image is a child whose life has been cruelly torn apart by an abuser, with men like Melleney fuelling the demand for such material.
“Protecting children and targeting those who pose a sexual threat to them remains our top priority.”
Senior Specialist Prosecutor Ruona Iguyovwe, of the CPS, said:
“Victor Melleney knew that he was in possession of indecent images of children. The devices recovered during searches of Melleney’s home revealed downloads of images depicting sexual activity involving children. Examination of the electronic devices also revealed software which can be used by users in sharing indecent images of children.
“The hard drives, recovered from his home, his basement, and hidden in the pocket of a dressing gown he was wearingwhen he was arrested, contained sickening videos, part of a collection downloaded over years.
“The sexual exploitation of children and the distribution of images like this is an utterly abhorrent practice and one which the CPS and its partners will continue to work to root out.”