#AceNewsReport – May.15: Meetings and consultations among the Iranian and the G4+1 countries in the framework of trilateral, bilateral and multilateral meetings continue in Vienna aimed at contributing to the faster resolving of the issue:
TEHRAN: May 14, IRNA – Head of the Iranian and Chinese delegations to Vienna reviewed important issues regarding Iran nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA): Earlier, heads of diplomatic delegations of Iran, Russia and China to the JCPOA Joint Commission held a trilateral meeting in Vienna on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, the head of the Iranian delegation Abbas Araghchi had a meeting with Enrique Mora, the deputy secretary general of the EU foreign relations office and the heads of the three EU delegations in the negotiations.
#AceNewsReport – May.15: France’s national anti-terrorism prosecutor’s office has been notified but “at this stage of the investigations, has not taken up” the case, the Bordeaux prosecutor’s office said.
FRANCE: French anti-terror investigators notified over police stabbing: Prosecutors say the woman “threw herself” at the official while “armed with knives” at her home: She later stabbed the officer in the leg, while shouting “Allah Akbar” multiple times during the incident, prosecutors added: The woman was shot and seriously injured by another police officer after the stabbing.
A French police officer – Copyright Credit: AP
An investigation into “aggravated violence with a weapon and against a person in authority” remains ongoing.
The woman remains “in a very serious condition” in hospital, Bordeaux prosecutor Frederique Porterie told AFP.
#AceNewsReport – May.15: According to the indictment, Ian R. Diaz, 43, of Brea, California, who serves as a Deputy U.S. Marshal with the U.S. Marshals Service, along with his former wife, who is alleged to be an unindicted co-conspirator, agreed to and did pose as a person with whom Diaz was formerly in a relationship (Jane Doe) and, in that guise, sent to themselves harassing and threatening electronic communications that contained apparent threats to harm Diaz’s former wife:
CALIFORNIA: ‘A federal grand jury returned an indictment Wednesday charging a Deputy U.S. Marshal with conspiracy to commit cyberstalking, and perjury that was solicited and lured men found through Craigslist “personal” advertisements to engage in so-called “rape fantasies” in an attempt to stage a purported sexual assault on Diaz’s former wife; and staged one or more hoax sexual assaults and attempted sexual assaults on Diaz’s former wife. Diaz and his then-wife then reported this conduct to local law enforcement, falsely claiming that Jane Doe posed a genuine and serious threat to Diaz and his then-wife, and thereby caused local law enforcement to arrest, charge, and ultimately detain Jane Doe in jail for nearly three months for conduct for which they framed her and in fact perpetrated themselves’
According to the indictment, Diaz and his former wife also allegedly took steps to conceal their conduct, including using falsely registered email accounts, using virtual private networks to access the internet anonymously, and communicating with each another using encrypted messaging services.
Diaz is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit cyberstalking, one count of cyberstalking, and one count of perjury for his false testimony in a deposition in connection with a federal civil lawsuit brought by Jane Doe. The defendant was arrested Thursday and made his initial court appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Douglas F. McCormick of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Southern Division. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison on each of the counts. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicholas L. McQuaid of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and Special Agent in Charge Keith A. Bonanno of the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General Cyber Investigations Office made the announcement.
The Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General is investigating the case.
Senior Litigation Counsel Marco A. Palmieri and Trial Attorney Rebecca G. Ross of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and Senior Trial Attorney Mona Sedky of the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section are prosecuting the case.
An indictment is merely an allegation and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
#AceNewsReport – May.15: The Department of Justice today filed a criminal information charging Swiss Life Holding AG (Swiss Life Holding), Swiss Life (Liechtenstein) AG (Swiss Life Liechtenstein), Swiss Life (Singapore) Pte. Ltd. (Swiss Life Singapore), and Swiss Life (Luxembourg) S.A. (Swiss Life Luxembourg), collectively, the “Swiss Life Entities,” with conspiring with U.S. taxpayers and others to conceal from the IRS more than $1.452 billion in offshore insurance policies, including more than 1,600 insurance wrapper policies, and related policy investment accounts in banks around the world and the income generated in these accounts.
MANHATTAN: ‘Swiss Life Holding AG, Swiss Life (Liechtenstein) AG, Swiss Life (Singapore) Pte. Ltd., and Swiss Life (Luxembourg) S.A. Enter into Deferred Prosecution Agreement for Criminal Misconduct; Agree to Collectively Pay More than $77 Million’
The Justice Department also announced a deferred prosecution agreement with the Swiss Life Entities (“the Agreement”) under which they agreed to accept responsibility for their criminal conduct by stipulating to the accuracy of the Statement of Facts attached to the Agreement. The Agreement requires the Swiss Life Entities to refrain from all future criminal conduct, enhance remedial measures, and continue to cooperate fully with further investigations into hidden insurance policies and related policy investment accounts. Further, as part of today’s resolution, the Swiss Life Entities agreed to pay approximately $77.3 million to the U.S. Treasury, which includes restitution, forfeiture of all gross fees, and a penalty component. If the Swiss Life Entities abide by all of the terms of the Agreement, the government will defer prosecution on the information for three years and then seek to dismiss the charge.
“Swiss Life today is held responsible for creating and marketing specially designed insurance products to U.S. tax evaders seeking a new way to hide their offshore assets, in light of heightened Justice Department and IRS tax enforcement efforts,” said Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division. “Financial enablers here and abroad – and the taxpayers seeking their services – should know that we will continue to identify and unmask such schemes.”
“As they admit, Swiss Life and its subsidiaries sought out and offered their services to U.S. taxpayers to help them become U.S. tax evaders,” said U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss for the Southern District of New York. “The Swiss Life Entities offered private placement life insurance policies and related investment accounts to U.S. customers, and provided services that concealed the policies and other assets from the IRS. Indeed, the Swiss Life Entities saw U.S. authorities’ stepped-up offshore tax enforcement as an opportunity to pitch themselves to tax-evading U.S. customers as an alternative to Swiss banks. Under the terms of today’s agreement, Swiss Life will turn over more than $77 million and be required to continue to cooperate with the United States in identifying U.S. tax evaders.”
“The successful resolution of this investigation is an important victory for the American taxpayer for two primary reasons,” said Chief James C. Lee of the IRS Criminal Investigation. “First, the recovery of more $77 million owed to the U.S. government sends an unequivocal message that offshore evasion is still a high priority of IRS Criminal Investigation. Secondly, this agreement further requires Swiss Life Entities to continue to cooperate with the government and does not shield them from future civil or criminal sanctions, which should put every entity engaged in offshore evasion on notice.”
According to documents filed today in Manhattan federal court:
Swiss Life Holding is the ultimate parent company of the Swiss Life group of companies (Swiss Life), a Switzerland-based provider of comprehensive life insurance and pension products for individuals and corporations, as well as asset management and financial planning services. From 2005 to 2014, Swiss Life through affiliated insurance carriers in Liechtenstein (Swiss Life Liechtenstein), Luxembourg (Swiss Life Luxembourg), and Singapore (Swiss Life Singapore), (collectively, the PPLI Carriers) maintained approximately 1,608 Private Placement Life Insurance (PPLI) policies. The PPLI Carriers’ issuance and administration of those policies (colloquially known as “insurance wrappers”) and the related investment accounts were often done in a manner to assist U.S. taxpayers in evading U.S. taxes and reporting requirements and concealing the ownership of offshore assets.
Moreover, beginning as early as the summer of 2008, the PPLI Carriers were aware that UBS and other Swiss banks were terminating or reevaluating their business relationships with U.S. clients in response to increasing offshore tax enforcement efforts by U.S. authorities. Certain management and sales personnel within the Swiss Life PPLI Business Unit viewed these developments as a business opportunity to expand the PPLI Business by onboarding U.S. clients who were fleeing UBS and other Swiss banks. Such clients with undeclared assets were typically referred within Swiss Life as “non-comprehensive advice seeking,” which was frequently abbreviated to “NCAS.” Because Swiss Life would be identified as the owner of the policy investment accounts, rather than the U.S. policyholder and/or ultimate beneficial owner of the assets, the insurance wrapper policies could be and were used by unscrupulous U.S. taxpayers to hide undeclared assets and income and to evade taxes. In turn, Swiss Life grew its PPLI business and earned fees on those policies. Members of management of the PPLI Business Unit knew about and authorized the onboarding of U.S. clients without regard to whether they were declared or undeclared.
Swiss Life engaged in other misconduct with respect to U.S.-related policies:
U.S.-related PPLI Policies were funded or terminated through asset transfers from/to an account maintained by a third party associated with the policyholder, such as an offshore law firm or intermediary.
Swiss Life PPLI personnel assisted U.S. taxpayers in establishing and maintaining Swiss Life PPLI policies in the name of a foreign relative with the effect of obscuring the U.S. nexus of the assets used to fund the policy or to repatriate the U.S. taxpayer’s undeclared assets through a sham death payout.
Certain U.S.-related PPLI Policies issued by Swiss Life Liechtenstein involved transfers of physical gold, other precious metals, or precious gemstones into or out of the policy investment account, presumably for the purpose of avoiding detection by U.S. authorities.
The PPLI Carriers allowed policyholders to designate an authorized recipient – typically the policyholder’s asset manager or other foreign representative – to receive policy documents and custodian investment account statements, rather than having those documents sent directly to the policyholder.
Certain Swiss Life Liechtenstein personnel promoted the use of Swiss Life products to turn U.S. taxpayers’ undeclared or so-called “black” money into so-called “white” money by parking the funds in a Swiss Life insurance policy until the clock had run on the perceived statute of limitations for tax offenses.
Corporate premium bank accounts were also misused as a transitory account to help conceal the movement of U.S. clients’ funds.
Under today’s resolution, the Swiss Life Entities are required to continue to cooperate fully with ongoing investigations and affirmatively disclose any information they may later uncover regarding U.S.-related insurance policies and related policy investment accounts. The Swiss Life Entities are also required to disclose information consistent with the Department of Justice’s Swiss Bank Program relating to accounts closed between Jan. 1, 2008, and Dec. 31, 2019. The Agreement provides no protection from criminal or civil prosecution for any individuals.
Swiss Life Holding will pay a total of $77,374,337, which has three parts. First, Swiss Life Holding has agreed to pay $16,345,454 in restitution to the IRS, which represents the approximate unpaid taxes resulting from the Swiss Life Entities’ participation in the conspiracy. Second, Swiss Life Holding has agreed to forfeit $35,782,375 to the United States, which represents the approximate gross fees (not profits) that the Swiss Life Entities earned on the penalized insurance policies and related policy investment accounts between 2002 and 2014. Finally, Swiss Life Holding has agreed to pay a penalty of $25,246,508.
The penalty amount takes into consideration that Swiss Life conducted a robust internal investigation, supplied client-related data, facilitated the acquisition by the Justice Department of information relating to custodian banks, asset managers, and other entities and individuals related to Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and Singapore, and otherwise meaningfully assisted the department’s cross-border tax enforcement efforts. In addition, Swiss Life conducted extensive outreach to current and former U.S. clients to confirm historical tax compliance, and to encourage disclosure to the IRS when policyholders’ historical tax compliance issues had not yet been resolved. Swiss Life further implemented remedial measures to protect against the use of its services for tax evasion in the future.
The IRS Criminal Investigation is investigating this case.
This prosecution is being handled by the Department of Justice’s Tax Division and the Complex Frauds and Cybercrime Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. Senior Litigation Counsel Nanette Davis and Trial Attorney Jack Morgan of the Tax Division and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nicholas Folly and Olga I. Zverovich of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York are in charge of the prosecution.
#AceNewsReport – May.15: The victim – a 13-year-old girl – was making her way to school when she was approached by a man who initiated conversation before assaulting her:
SALFORD: GM Detectives are investigating a sexual assault of teenage girl: Police were called between 8.15am and 8.30am yesterday (Wednesday 12 May) to a report and robbery at Peel Park the offender also stole her mobile phone and then ran from the scene towards Chapel Street’
He is described as a white man in his 20s or 30s, with short ginger/blonde light coloured hair and a short crop fringe, a lightly-coloured faint moustache, and is 6ft tall with a skinny build.
He is believed to have been wearing a plain blue-hooded top with a large front pocket and matching dark blue/black or black Adidas joggers with distinctive white stripes on the sides. He was also said to be wearing running shoes which were white with some blue and red on them and a grey Puma backpack.
The girl wasn’t injured but was left understandably shaken and is being supported by specialist officers and partner agencies.
No arrests have been made and investigators are appealing to anyone with information to contact them.
Detective Inspector Chris Horsfield, of GMP’s Swinton CID, said: “This is a deeply concerning incident where a young girl has been randomly approached in broad daylight and subjected the victim to a horrific ordeal by an unknown man clearly with sinister intentions: “ Our dedicated team of officers will be investigating a number of lines of enquiry which will seek to identify this man, and we are working with specialist partners to support the victim: “ In the interest of public safety, there will be an increase in patrols in the area and are working with local authority to keep the public safe.
“We are asking for information to help us identify the offender, so that we can speak to him in connection with this sexual assault and robbery: “ If anyone has any information at all about the identity of this man, please speak to police. Even the smallest piece of information could help us to advance our investigation, find justice for the victim, and take this man off our streets.”
Anyone with any information about this assault should contact police on 0161 856 2079 quoting incident number 746 of 12/05/2021. Information can also be passed on anonymously by calling the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
#AceNewsReport – May.15: At this time the cases are not thought to be linked, and so far we have not found any corroborating evidence that these were attempted abductions as reported. Officers continue with their investigations:
MET Update: Police investigation into alleged abduction attempts in Bromley: This includes speaking to the children and families affected, checking CCTV, knocking on doors and speaking to witnesses and schools.
Superintendent Andy Brittain, from the local policing team in south London, said: “ I understand the concerns of parents in light of these reports and the subsequent discussion and rumour on social media. We always advise parents to be vigilant when it comes to the safety of young children, however there is nothing to suggest there is a specific risk at this time: “ You will continue to see officers out and about across Bromley and I would encourage the public to speak with them about any concerns they have.
I would also suggest those living in the area follow the @MPSBromley account on Twitter, which is used by officers to engage with the community: Any alleged abduction attempt is taken seriously and thoroughly investigated, but thankfully, child kidnappings or abductions are incredibly rare.”
#AceNewsReport – Mar.15: The Cambridge professor is stepping down next year after almost 40 years of teaching and research:
CAMBRIDGE: Mary Beard’s retirement present to fund students: ‘She described the £80,000 donation as her “payback time”
By Sean Coughlan BBC News family and education correspondent
“I am very conscious of what I’ve gained from classics, no-one from my family had a university degree,” said Dame Mary.
The historian and television presenter wants to help widen the reach of classics as a subject, so it’s not “just for posh people who’ve done Latin for ages”.
Most people approaching retirement might expect the present to be heading in their direction, but Dame Mary – no stranger to doing things her own way – wants to mark her departure with her own donation.
“It’s a pledge, that we really do want people from more diverse backgrounds to study classics. Classics is a subject that has changed, is changing, but needs to change more.
“But you still walk around the faculty and it looks, although not entirely, very white,” said Dame Mary.The television historian brought the classics to a mainstream audience
The funding, £40,000 for each of two students, will help with living costs through their degree course, and will be available to students from low-income families or under-represented groups.
Dame Mary has not named the awards after herself, but after one of her classics tutors, Joyce Reynolds.
She said her former tutor at Cambridge, now aged 102, had been a “fantastic fighter for the rights of women in what was then a very male subject”.
“I have no illusion that giving a couple of scholarships is the solution, but it’s a way of showing we’re serious about equality of opportunity,” said Dame Mary.
She said classics students are “trained to think hard, to express themselves, to write well – qualities that a hell of a lot of employers are looking for”.
The subject also offered a way of “thinking about the world differently”, with different perspectives on philosophy, culture, gender and race.
Her BBC television series, such as Julius Caesar Revealed and Mary Beard’s Ultimate Rome: Empire Without Limit, have brought ancient history to a wider, modern audience.
She has also faced threats and abuse on social media, and what she’s called “sexist rants” online.
Dame Mary said her own interest in classics was through an early enthusiasm for archaeology, and she remembers the excitement of finding a Roman coin and “holding the past”.
One of her earliest memories, she said, was being taken by her mother to the British Museum as a small child, and an attendant being kind enough to open a display case to let her hold a piece of ancient Egyptian carbonised cake.
She now wants to help open up classics for another generation of young people.
Zaynab Ahmed, a current third-year classics student at Newnham College, Cambridge, said a barrier was the lack of state schools teaching the subject.
She said that was why the Cambridge four-year course was more accessible, with a foundation year to support students who might not have studied Latin at school.
“Classics is a subject I’ve fallen in love with. It’s about the past, but it’s also about how we understand ourselves now,” she said.
#AceNewsReport – May.14: This is the second time within the last month that U.S. military vessels have had to fire warning shots because of what they said was unsafe behavior by Iranian vessels in the region, after a relative lull in such interactions over the past year:
Iranian vessels ‘acting very aggressively’ harass US ships in Strait of Hormuz, US ship fires 30 warning shots
“U.S. military ship fires 30 warning shots after encounter with Iranian vessels,” by Idrees Ali and Phil Stewart, Reuters, May 11, 2021:
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the warning shots were fired after the Iranian fast boats came as close as 150 yards (450 feet) of six U.S. military vessels, including the USS Monterey, that were escorting the guided-missile submarine Georgia.
The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Maui fired the warning shots from a .50-caliber machine gun before the Iranian vessels left, Kirby said.
“It’s significant… and they were acting very aggressively,” he said, adding that the number of Iranian vessels was more than in the recent past….
#AceNewsReport – May.14: Officers say the work, involving geophysical survey equipment, means dismantling a fireplace at the scene:
Gloucester Police Officers have begun searching a cellar of a cafe in search of a victim of Fred West Mary Bastholm: The 15-year-old, who worked at The Clean Plate in Gloucester, went missing in the city on 6 January 1968.
14 hours ago
Miss Bastholm’s then boyfriend Tim Merrett said he did not think she would be found there.
She went missing on her way to catch a bus to visit Mr Merrett.
Serial killer West was previously suspected over her disappearance. The search began after a film crew alerted police to evidence a body could be buried thereFred West took his own life while awaiting trial for the murders of 12 people
Mr Merrett said: “I really don’t think anything will come of this. She left the cafe for the day, went home and changed before going to the bus stop to come and see me.
“Why would she be back at the cafe?”
On Friday, officers were called in following suggestions a body may have been buried at the cafe on Southgate Street.
Gloucestershire Police said the force could be at the site “for a number of weeks”.
In 1994, West admitted murdering his daughter Heather. The confession came as police began to search 25 Cromwell Street, where they found the bodies of nine girls and young women.
He and his wife Rose were jointly charged with nine murders and he was charged with a further three.
West took his own life in prison while awaiting a trial in 1995.Flowers were left at the scene on Wednesday, but remains have not been found
Rose’s former lawyer Leo Goatley said it “wouldn’t surprise me if a body was found there”, adding the Wests often visited the cafe.
Both Mary and Fred West’s first victim, Anne McFall, worked there.
“I’ve spoken to witnesses who have said that they may have seen Rose West there,” he added.
West’s biographer Geoffrey Wansell said the killer had never admitted to police he had killed her, but allegedly confessed to his solicitor, who was then sacked.
Miss Bastholm’s family are aware of recent developments and have asked for privacy.
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.
#AceNewsReport – May.14: Following a nine-month investigation the four suspects in the case have now been released, prosecutors said:
CAIRO: Egypt #MeToo campaign prompts alleged rape arrests that fuelled a case that has been Egypt’s #MeToo movement shelved due to insufficient evidence after a woman alleged in a social media post last year that she was drugged and gang raped at the five-star Fairmont Nile City Hotel in Cairo in 2014’
16 hours ago
But they added that the case could be reopened if new evidence came to light.
In a statement, prosecutors said they had pursued the suspects last year by enforcing travel bans and issuing international arrest warrants for three of the men from Lebanon.
But, they added, “there is insufficient evidence against the defendants to proceed with a criminal case. The release of those temporarily detained has been ordered”.
They said they had interviewed 39 witnesses, and that “contradictions appeared in the testimonies of witnesses about key facts of the incident”.
Prosecutors also questioned police and forensic doctors, they said, as well as the alleged victim.
Assault Police, the campaign account that first reported the allegations last year, posted about the case being dropped with the hashtag “#justiceforthefairmontsurvivor”.
When it was first publicised last year, the case led to people across Egypt sharing their experiences online of sexual harassment and assault.
#AceNewsReport – May.14: The cops thought they had nabbed the shooter when they zeroed in on a man who matched the description of the man whose image from security cameras had been circulated, but he told them he was actually the shooter’s brother, and gave them the name of the perp. It remains unclear how the NYPD determined that they weren’t really talking with the shooter himself but instead bought his story that his brother did it.
NEW YORK: ‘Just before five o’clock on Saturday afternoon in Times Square, a man began firing randomly into the crowd, injuring three people, including a four-year-old girl. The perpetrator was identified as a 31-year-old illegal CD peddler and possible drug dealer Farrakhan Muhammad, who was still at large as of Monday afternoon.
In any case, the brother told the cops that Farrakhan Muhammad hadn’t intended to shoot random people; Farrakhan had actually been aiming at his brother, who was standing in the crowd, but he was a poor shot.
That may really be what happened, but I also can’t help but notice that Farrakhan Muhammad has a very interesting name. He appears to be named after one man who has called for 10,000 volunteers to stalk and kill white people, and after another who is generally considered to be the author of a book that three times exhorts people to “kill them wherever you find them” (Qur’an 2:191, 4:89, cf. 9:5). Might Farrakhan Muhammad’s ideology and worldview have had anything to do with these shootings, or were they all about his being angry with his brother, as has been reported?
Maybe, but maybe not. Maybe Farrakhan Muhammad is a born-again Christian or an avowed pacifist who just lost his temper. Nonetheless, his name in connection with his act does raise eyebrows. After all, the Islamic State (ISIS) and al-Qaeda have repeatedly called for random jihad attacks on individuals in the U.S. and Europe of precisely the kind that Farrakhan Muhammad committed on Saturday.
A more salient question is, “If Farrakhan Muhammad was religiously or ideologically motivated, will we ever find out?” The establishment media is so intent on pushing its narrative at the expense of reality that the answer to the last question is most likely “no.” It is astonishing how swiftly the propaganda organs that we call the media drop a story when it doesn’t fit the version of reality they want us all to swallow. How much have you heard lately about the Boulder, Colo., supermarket shooter Ahmad Al Issa, who was identified as a white supremacist by numerous leftist “journalists” on Twitter before his name was released? After the name was released, the story sank without a trace.
#AceNewsReport – May.14: Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) is investigating the case with the assistance of the San Antonio Police Department (SAPD).
ICE/HSI/SAPD Report: ‘Driver of tractor trailer carrying multiple noncitizens charged with human smuggling: Aron Bernard Griffin, 49, was arrested without incident. On Friday, he appeared before a U.S. federal court judge who charged him with smuggling undocumented noncitizens’
According to court documents, several concerned community members called 911 to report multiple individuals inside the back of a tractor trailer Griffin was driving.
The tractor trailer pulled over at a gas station on Interstate Highway 10 East in San Antonio. Forty-one undocumented noncitizens were found at the scene and were detained by HSI special agents. Griffin admitted to agents he had made an agreement with another person to get paid for picking up the individuals in Laredo and transport them to San Antonio.
If convicted, Griffin faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. Assistant U.S. Attorney Daphne Newaz, Western District of Texas, is prosecuting the case.
A criminal complaint is merely an allegation and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
HSI is a directorate 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 – May.14: Today’s 20-year sentence recognizes the gravity of Clark’s conduct, including his calls for other ISIS supporters to carry out lone wolf terrorist attacks in New York City,” said Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers for the Justice Department’s National Security Division. “Having pledged allegiance to ISIS, Clark provided others with specific instructions on knifing and bomb-making for use in such attacks. We remain vigilant to the threat of terrorism and committed to identifying and holding accountable those who threaten our communities through their support for foreign terrorist organizations.”
‘Man Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison for Attempting to Provide Material Support to Disseminated ISIS Propaganda & Bomb-Making Instructions in an Effort to Incite Acts of Terrorism and Violence in New York City and Elsewhere’
‘Zachary Clark, aka Umar Kabir, Umar Shishani and Abu Talha, 42, of Brooklyn, pleaded guilty in August 2020 to one count of attempting to provide material support or resources to a designated foreign terrorist organization’
“Zachary Clark pledged allegiance to ISIS and posted calls for attacks on the public and institutions in New York City on encrypted pro-ISIS chatrooms, along with detailed instructions for carrying out those violent acts,” said U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss for the Southern District of New York. “Thanks to the Joint Terrorism Task Force, Clark’s efforts to incite deadly violence on behalf of ISIS have been silenced. Today’s sentence sends a clear message that those who seek to further ISIS’s campaign of terror and violence, no matter the method, will face serious consequences.”
“The FBI remains steadfast in the fight against terrorism,” said Acting Assistant Director Patrick Reddan for the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division. “I would like to thank the men and women of the FBI, along with our partners in law enforcement, for holding accountable individuals, such as Zachary Clark, who pledge allegiance to ISIS and support and spread their violent terrorist agenda. We remain vigilant in our efforts to prevent terrorism and protect the American people, and today’s sentencing underscores that commitment.”
According to court documents, Clark pledged allegiance to ISIS twice: first in July 2019 to ISIS’s then-leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and then in October 2019 to ISIS’s new leader, Abu Ibrahim al-Sashemi al-Qurayshi, whom ISIS promoted after al-Baghdadi’s death. Beginning in at least March 2019, Clark disseminated ISIS propaganda through, among other avenues, encrypted chatrooms intended for members, associates, supporters and potential recruits of ISIS. Clark’s propaganda included, among other things, calls for ISIS supporters to commit lone wolf attacks in New York City.
For example, on Aug. 3, 2019, Clark posted instructions about how to conduct such an attack, including directions on how to select an attack target, how to conduct preoperational surveillance, how to conduct operational planning and how to avoid attracting law enforcement attention when preparing for and conducting the attack. On another occasion, Clark posted a manual entitled “Knife Attacks,” which stated, among other things, that discomfort at “the thought of plunging a sharp object into another person’s flesh” is “never an excuse for abandoning jihad” and that “[k]nives, though certainly not the only weapon for inflicting harm upon the kuffar [non-believers], are widely available in every land and thus readily accessible.”
Clark urged the participants in encrypted chatrooms to attack specific targets, posting maps and images of the New York City subway system and encouraging ISIS supporters to attack those locations: Clark’s guidance also included posting a manual entitled “Make a bomb in the kitchen of your Mom,” which was issued by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and included detailed instructions about constructing bombs using readily available materials:
The FBI’s New York Joint Terrorism Task Force, which consists of investigators and analysts from the FBI, the NYPD and over 50 other federal, state and local agencies, investigated the case: Assistant U.S. Attorneys Gillian Grossman, Matthew Hellman and Sidhardha Kamaraju of the Southern District of New York prosecuted the case with assistance from Trial Attorneys Jason Denney and Chad Davis of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.
#AceNewsReport – May.14: Some of the most common unwanted calls the FTC sees currently include pretend Social Security Administration, Medicare, and IRS calls, fake Amazon or Apple Computer support calls, and fake auto warranty and credit card calls.
AMERICA: SCAM ALERT: Unwanted calls: Just block ’em and report ’em ……..So this week, as part of Older Americans Month, we’re talking about how to block unwanted calls — for yourself, and for your friends and family. To get started, check out this video:
May 12, 2021by
Consumer Education Specialist, FTC
But no matter what type of unwanted calls you get (and everyone is getting them) your best defense is a good offense. Here are three universal truths to live by:
Don’t trust your caller ID
Hang up on robocalls
Use call blocking
Visit FTC.gov/calls to learn to block calls on your cell phone and home phone.
The FTC continues to go after the companies and scammers behind these calls, so please report unwanted calls at donotcall.gov. If you’ve lost money to a scam call, tell us at ReportFraud.ftc.gov. Your reports help us take action against scammers and illegal robocallers — just like we did in Operation Call It Quits. In this law enforcement sweep, the FTC and its state and federal partners brought 94 actions against illegal robocallers. But there’s more: we also take the phone numbers you report and release them publicly each business day. That helps phone carriers and other partners that are working on call-blocking and call-labeling solutions.
So share these videos and this call blocking news with your friends and family. Sharing will help protect someone you care about from a scam — and it’ll help them get fewer unwanted calls, too!
#AceNewsReport- May.14: The author of the article was the town’s mayor, a 63-year-old former minister who was recently found guilty of rape and sexual assault:
“ You can easily imagine, I’m not the best placed to comment objectively on the decision of the court,” began the editorial in a council newsletter in the French town of Draveil: He was acquitted at an earlier trial but in February this year he was given a five-year sentence, two years of which were suspended. He was also banned from holding public office for six years as France’s elite confronted by sexual abuse scandals
17 hours ago
By Victoria Bisset BBC News
But despite his conviction, an appeal has allowed Georges Tron to continue to lead Draveil from his prison cell.
And many people are angry.
On Tuesday, a group of local activists held another protest near Draveil, in the southern suburbs of Paris, calling for Tron to be removed as mayor.
Members of the Not in Draveil or Anywhere Else (Nada) Collective dressed as chickens and accused local politicians of cowardice over the issue.
The case against Tron began over a decade ago, when he was forced to resign as a junior government minister following accusations of rape and sexual assault by two former employees.
The problem, as local opposition politician François Damerval explains, is that Tron’s appeal against his conviction means he is presumed to be innocent until a final verdict is delivered – and he has therefore been able to continue his duties as mayor from behind bars.
France’s justice minister – who served as the mayor’s lawyer in his initial trial – has previously said that the government will not be able to remove him from office because of the ongoing appeal.
“The current system is problematic because it protects people who have been convicted of rape – even if there’s the presumption of innocence. But above all, he doesn’t have the moral capacity to lead the administration,” Mr Damerval told the BBC.
“Today on paper, he’s still the head of the [municipal] staff who was convicted of raping a member of staff.”
And it is the moral aspect of the case that Tron’s opponents are focussing on.
Gabrielle Boeri-Charles, another local politician, notes that the French cabinet has the power to revoke a mayor’s position under such circumstances.
“We consider that the loss of moral authority applies here because the acts for which he was convicted were committed in his position as mayor,” she says.
But gaining the support of other residents to remove Tron has been harder.
“We’re a small town of 30,000 people and when a mayor is here for 25 years he can implement a system in which he has a lot of personal power,” she says.
Since he was jailed in February, Tron has continued to preside over council meetings, with statements read out on his behalf in two sessions.
François Damerval A statement by Mayor Georges Tron was read out during April’s council meeting
His deputy, Richard Privat, defended the mayor’s continued role in the town’s affairs, telling France Télévision in April: “Until there is evidence to the contrary, he is still mayor. No one has removed him from his post so he is still mayor.”
In a council meeting last month, the opposition put forward a motion calling for Tron to be removed but the mayor’s supporters left the room before a vote could take place. Ms Boeri-Charles says that online criticism has also been silenced.
“On the town’s Facebook page, they publish what he has written from prison but they refuse to publish what the opposition has to say. If you comment or criticise, it’s erased. And in a town, there’s not so much space to have a debate.
“The fact that he used his moral authority to act, and the continuing denial, silence and even support around him, is a collective failure,” adds Ms Boeri-Charles.
Collectif NADAA protester holds a sign that reads ‘Rapist = no access to power’
But the mayor’s opponents remain convinced he has to go.
At least 35,000 people have now signed an online petition demanding Tron’s resignation.
Raphaël Demonchy, a co-founder of Nada, says that in addition to holding protests, the group has spent time speaking to the town’s residents to explain why they believe the mayor should be removed: “It’s not only about Draveil, it’s a more global situation about what the French Republic accepts from its elected officials.”
“In the post-Me Too era there is no more impunity for people who have committed sexual assaults,” agrees Mr Damerval. “And today, the fact that he can continue to rule from prison is an insult to women.”Women discuss street harassment in France
#AceNewsReport – May.14: One of the interdicted migrants remains in Puerto Rico to face possible federal prosecution on charges of attempted illegal re-entry into the United States:
USCG Report: ‘Coast Guard repatriates 13 of 14 migrants to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic: The migrant group consisting of 13 males, including a 16-year-old minor, and a pregnant woman, claimed being Dominican Republic nationals’
U.S. Coast Guard sent this bulletin at 05/12/2021 01:15 PM EDTNews Release
Coast Guard repatriates 13 of 14 migrants to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
The interdiction is the result of ongoing efforts by Caribbean Border Interagency Group (CBIG) partner agencies to combat illegal migrant smuggling.
Editor’s note: Click on images to download high-resolution versions.
Coast Guard watchstanders at Sector San Juan received a call from a U.S. Border Patrol agent at 3:39 a.m. Sunday reporting a Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid Action marine unit had intercepted a migrant vessel, approximately three nautical miles off the island’s west coast. During the interdiction, two of the migrants jumped into the water and attempted to swim to shore.
A Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Air Station Borinquen launched to search for the two migrants in the water. Once on scene, the Coast Guard aircrew spotted the two men struggling to stay afloat, and vectored in the Coast Guard Cutter Winslow Griesser’s cutter boat to their position. The Coast Guard boat crew safely recovered the two men, who were embarked, along with the other migrants, aboard the cutter Winslow Griesser.
Prior to embarking, the Winslow Griesser crew provided the migrants with lifejackets. Once aboard the cutter, they received food, water and basic medical attention.
“I commend the responding units in this case,” said Cmdr. Beau Powers, Sector San Juan chief of response. “Their efforts helped save two lives from drowning and ensured the safe return of 13 of the migrants to the Dominican Republic. We call out to anyone considering taking part in an illegal voyage across the Mona Passage that you not take to the sea. The perils are quite real, and your life and the lives of everyone else in the voyage will be in great danger.”
The crew of the cutter Winslow Griesser transferred 12 adult migrants to a Dominican Republic Navy vessel Monday, and repatriated the minor to Dominican Republic authorities in Santo Domingo Tuesday morning.
Cutter Winslow Griesser is a 154-foot fast response cutter homeported in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
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 borders of Puerto Rico against illegal migrant and drug smuggling.
#AceNewsReport – May.13: The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) recently conducted tests with the Digital Currency Institute of the People’s Bank of China, involving a bank designated by the mainland authority, as well as merchants and bank staff, the HKMA said in an e-mailed response to questions:
HONG KONG: ‘Looking to expand cross-border tests in talks with the Chinese mainland to expand cross-border testing of the digital yuan after the first phase proceeded smoothly, another step toward wider adoption of the currency’
This undated photo captures a sign promoting e-CNY payment at a department store in Shanghai. (LIU XIN / FOR CHINA DAILY)
We are discussing and collaborating with the PBOC on the next phase of technical testing, including the feasibility of broadening and deepening the use of e-CNY for cross-boundary payments.
Hong Kong Monetary Authority
“We have tested the use of the related app, system connectivity and certain use cases such as cross-boundary purchases,” it said. “We are discussing and collaborating with the PBOC on the next phase of technical testing, including the feasibility of broadening and deepening the use of e-CNY for cross-boundary payments.”As China explores digital yuan for cross-border transactions
The PBOC is well ahead of other major central banks in developing its own digital currency, seeking to replace cash and maintain control over a payments landscape that has become increasingly dominated by technology companies not regulated like banks.
China has been expanding trials in major cities like Shenzhen, with wider adoption planned for the Winter Olympics in Beijing next year. Cross-border use of the digital yuan would be an important step toward global adoption of the currency for financial transactions.
PBOC officials confirmed in April the central bank had conducted the cross-border tests with the HKMA.
The use of the digital yuan in Hong Kong could lead to a much faster and cheaper cross-border payment and clearing process, consultancy Oliver Wyman said in a report released Wednesday. It estimated that costs related to cross-border payments in the city are about US$20 billion to US$40 billion per year, the equivalent of as much as 11 percent of the city’s gross domestic product in 2020 and they should play a key role in digital yuan rollout
“If the payment infrastructure underpinning e-CNY were to roll out for cross-border payments at scale, we believe it can address a substantial portion of this cost base,” said Michael Ho, principal of financial services at Oliver Wyman and co-author of the report.
China could promote the digital yuan’s overseas use starting with the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, the consultancy wrote in the report. It could also potentially use the digital yuan to settle oil contracts, given its growing influence as an oil buyer, and create an “e-CNY bubble” among countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative, it said.
#AceNewsReport – May.13: Editor says when l set up this site many years ago l started with one simple aim to provide stories and posts that provided tha truth in the news ……since that day its become more difficult to find the truth with so many bias interviews and stories that just provide their view of the situation and their beliefs …..l now publish articles and posts that reflect not my view but an unbiased view of the news ….as the truth will set you free by the ‘Word of God’ being spoken up on the earth Amen
Israel-Gaza violence dominates Arab media: ‘However, the news remains relatively low down the running order of Syrian TV news, and in Iran it only started topping bulletins on Tuesday in both countries – key members of the so-called “axis of resistance” to Israel – domestic issues have taken priority’
BBC News: Says the escalation of violence in Israel and Gaza dominates TV and press coverage in most of the Middle East, with an outpouring of anger and solidarity with the Palestinians expressed by social media users across the region:
16 hours ago
By BBC Monitoring Essential Media Insight
Qatari Al-Jazeera’s Arabic channel, a traditional supporter of the Palestinian cause, gives the story full coverage: It is also the lead story on Saudi-funded Al Arabiya, which is pressing its guests and correspondents on claims by both sides:
Arab press highlights ‘dilemma’
Some Arabic newspapers predict a long-running armed conflict while others criticise “deluded” Arab countries that signed peace deals with Israel.
London-based website Rai al-Youm said: “Perhaps a major confrontation is imminent. We are in the beginning of an armed intifada that may last for months.”
Jordan’s Al-Dustour daily says Arab countries face “a serious dilemma” – whether to preserve their Arab-Islamic identity or continue normalisation with Israel.
A column in Algeria’s Echorouk says the clashes have “revealed the limitations and delusion of the normalisers”.
In Lebanon, Nidaa al-Watan notes how protests in Lebanese cities rejected “oppression against the Palestinian people”.
An editorial in Jerusalem-based Al-Quds urges Egypt to work hard for a truce to end “the bloodbath in Gaza”. “We see that a truce will be good for all the parties, particularly our people in the Gaza Strip. No party has any interest in an ongoing military escalation,” it says.
The story dominated Egypt’s press on Tuesday, but on Wednesday it was pushed down by domestic matters. However, state-owned Al-Ahram newspaper expresses surprise at the “international silence and the silence of the Biden administration” in the US.
On social media, Arabic hashtags being used to express solidarity with the Palestinians include “Gaza under attack”, “Free Palestine” and “Gaza resists”.
Thousands of users have lashed out at the Arab leaders, saying that they only care about “maintaining their relations” with Israel to remain in power.
The view from Turkey and Iran
The conflict has topped Turkey’s news agenda for several days, with both print and broadcast media widely condemnatory of Israel.
“They [Israel] know well how to kill children,” reads the front page of the flagship pro-government Sabah newspaper on Wednesday.
“Your day of reckoning will come,” says Yeni Safak in its main headline.
Opposition Sozcu newspaper says the Arab world, the US, the EU and UN have “not given a strong response”.
Iran’s domestic media is focused on its June presidential election, but the Israel-Gaza conflict is the main international story.
Rolling news channel IRINN and Press TV report Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip, while newspapers highlight Palestinian militants firing rockets into Israel.
“Biggest missile attack against Tel Aviv,” says the headline in conservative Khorasan.
And hardline Javan writes: “Gaza’s missile shield over honourable Quds [Jerusalem]”.
#AceNewsReport – May.13: Investigators from the National Crime Agency arrested Mark James Dale, aged 45, at his home in Market Place, Romford, in July last year after linking Dale’s online activity to a known paedophile forum:
NCA Report: ‘Dark web paedophile sentenced: Dale, who has previous convictions for child sexual abuse offences, frequented chat rooms and searched for abuse material on the dark web, which he accessed using TOR (The Onion Router) software’
A laptop and tablet seized were found to contain 14,222 indecent images and videos of children – ranging from category A, the most serious, to C.
Dale was convicted in 2011 and 2019 for similar offences, and was bound to strict rules under a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO). These included registering any digital devices with the Metropolitan Police Service.
Yesterday at Snaresbrook Crown Court, he was sentenced to 30 months after he pleaded guilty to six counts of making indecent images of children and breaching his SHPO at an earlier hearing.
NCA Operations Manager Martin Ludlow said: “Despite being a convicted child sex offender, Dale continued to seek out abuse images in the belief that using the dark web gave him anonymity.
“We must not forget that for every image or video he downloaded, a child was being exploited somewhere.
“Tackling child sexual abuse is of the utmost priority to the NCA and working with our partners, we will do everything in our power to protect children and hold those perpetrators to account.”