POLICE have found yet another marijuana crop on the Mid North Coast, this time at Bonville.
Drug and Firearms Squad detectives seized more than $5.5 million worth of marijuana and charged two men yesterday as part of investigations which began with the establishment of Strike Force Harthouse.
The State Crime Command’s Drug and Firearms Squad strike force was created in November last year to investigate the cultivation and supply of cannabis across NSW.
Their inquiries uncovered a remote property near Coffs Harbour allegedly being used for the large-scale cultivation of cannabis.
Following investigations, strike force detectives executed a crime scene warrant at the property on Williams Road at Bonville, assisted by officers from Coffs/Clarence Police District, Northern Region Enforcement Squad, the Dog Unit and Marine Area Command.
Investigators allegedly located and seized 1845 cannabis plants, which NSW Police said was worth an estimated $5.5 million on the streets.
Two men – aged 22 and 29 – were arrested at the property and taken to Coffs Harbour Police Station where they were charged with cultivate prohibited plant (large commercial quantity) and participate in criminal group contribute criminal activity.
They were both refused bail to appear at Coffs Harbour Local Court today.
Investigators are working with the Department of Home Affairs regarding the visa status of the group.
All crew members of an oil tanker that was stormed by British naval special forces after a group of stowaways threatened violence are “safe and well”, the ship’s operator has confirmed.
Seven people were detained in the raid, which unfolded in the English Channel after darkness fell on Sunday. Special Boat Service commandos were lowered by rope from helicopters onto the Nave Andromeda, whose crew had locked themselves in a secure part of the ship known as the citadel. Within minutes, the stowaways — believed to be from Nigeria — were in custody.
The Special Boat Service is the elite maritime counter-terrorism unit of the Royal Navy.
Navios Tanker Management, which operates the Liberian-registered vessel, said the ship’s master became “concerned for the safety of the crew due to the increasingly hostile behaviour of the stowaways.” It said in a statement that all 22 crew members were “safe and well”.
Maritime tracking websites showed the ship reached port in Southampton, on England’s south coast, early Monday.
The ship had left Lagos, Nigeria, on Oct. 6 and had been due to dock in Southampton on Sunday morning. The raid followed a 10-hour standoff as the tanker circled an area a few miles southeast of the Isle of Wight, south of Southampton.
“I think this has got all the hallmarks of a situation where a number of stowaways are seeking political asylum, presumably in the UK,” said Bob Sanguinetti, chief executive of the UK Chamber of Shipping. “At some stage they got aggressive.”
“Clearly no one knew at the time how aggressive they were, whether they were armed or not, what their motives were, because there will have been confusion at that stage,” he said.
The coast guard scrambled helicopters to the scene, and authorities imposed a three-mile exclusion zone around the vessel. Suspecting a hijacking, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and Home Secretary Priti Patel authorised military action, the UK government said.
“I commend the hard work of the armed forces and police to protect lives and secure the ship,” Wallace said. “In dark skies and worsening weather, we should all be grateful for our brave personnel.”
BISHKEK Kyrgyz election officials on Saturday (Oct 24) announced presidential elections for Jan 10 even as police raided their offices, in what appeared to be a power struggle with the country’s acting leader.
The impoverished ex-Soviet state in Central Asia has been embroiled in political chaos since the unrest following the results of parliamentary elections held earlier this month. The Central Elections Committee (CEC) finally annulled them following mass protests.
Sadyr Japarov, a populist politician who had been serving a prison sentence for hostage-taking but who was released during the unrest, is now both acting president and prime minister.
Since Japarov, 51, took power he has promised fresh parliamentary and presidential elections – but only after making changes to the constitution.
He has also called for the elections commission to be disbanded and reformed, saying it was something the people had called for along with the recent resignation of former president Sooronbay Jeenbekov.
The law requires that presidential elections within three months of Jeenbekov’s departure.
But on Saturday morning, police raided the CEC headquarters as part of a probe launched by the interior ministry into alleged voting violations during the now-annulled October parliamentary elections.
CEC member Gulnara Djurabayeva denounced the raid as a form of “pressure on a constitutional body”, during an interview with local media.
The results of the Oct 4 vote were cancelled after a protest led by losing parties against vote-buying and other violations escalated into violent clashes pitting protesters against police.
Earlier this week, lawmakers cancelled new parliamentary elections that the CEC had set for Dec 20 by suspending part of the constitution – a move some lawyers and politicians argued may not have been legal.
Japarov himself has proposed a number of changes to the constitution, arguing that citizens should be able to decide whether or not to revert to a presidential system from the current mixed system.
Before protesters freed him this month, the former lawmaker was serving a sentence for hostage-taking dating back to a 2013 incident during a rally for the nationalisation of a gold mine.
Russia, which has a military base in Kyrgyzstan and is a destination for hundreds of thousands of Kyrgyz migrants, has expressed concern at the unrest there.
Kyrgyz foreign minister Ruslan Kazakbayev and Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov held talks on Friday in the highest-level meeting between the two countries since Japarov became leader.
Japarov has not yet been endorsed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who this week referred to an “unfortunate…seizure of power”. Putin also noted that Russia had done “a lot” to keep Kyrgyzstan “standing” through investments and financial aid.
Former president Jeenbekov is the third leader to step down amid political chaos in the ex-Soviet country since independence in 1991.
Arizona has long been a refuge for Americans seeking relief from high-tax California and states in the Northeast. But a tax referendum on the ballot Nov. 3 would whack job creators and make people rethink retirement in Scottsdale or a business move to Tucson.
Proposition 208, or the Invest in Education Act, would impose a 3.5% surtax on incomes above $250,000, or $500,000 for joint filers. The current top rate of 4.5% would rise to 8%, which would move the state to the 10th highest income-tax rate in the country, from 11th lowest today, according to the Tax Foundation. Arizona would move closer to California (13.3% top rate) than Nevada (no income tax).
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As ever, this is being pitched as soaking the rich, but about half of the targets would be small businesses that pay taxes at the individual rate, according to the Grand Canyon Institute. They employ a huge chunk of Arizona workers, and the added tax costs would trickle down in lower pay and fewer jobs.
All the more so given that the 2017 tax reform limited to $10,000 the federal individual deduction for state and local taxes. This heightens the financial pain from a state tax increase. One definition of fiscal insanity would be to raise state taxes when the Biden Democrats may soon raise federal tax rates to heights not seen since the 1970s.
Economists Art Laffer, Erwin Antoni and Steve Moore estimate that the tax increase would result in the migration to Arizona of 700,000 fewer people, 237,000 fewer jobs created, and a reduction of $25.5 billion in personal income growth over the next 10 years.
The authors looked at IRS data and found that since 1992 Arizona has gained more than 201,000 tax returns and almost $12 billion in adjusted gross income (AGI) from California. Illinois has lost more than 65,000 tax returns to Arizona and about $5 billion in AGI over the same period. New York has lost 37,000 tax returns and $2.3 billion in AGI to Arizona.
No doubt some of these are retirees looking for warmer climes, but snowbirds have other state options and can also live in Arizona less than six months a year and not pay the state tax. Supporters say the tax increase would yield $1 billion in new revenue, a huge expansion in a state with total expected revenue of $12.5 billion in 2021. Yet that revenue estimate for the new tax is based on static figures, which don’t take into account taxpayer behavior. It is likely to yield considerably less, as tax increases typically do.
The tax referendum is driven by unions seeking more money for education, though as recently as 2018 teachers went on strike and won a pay raise of 20% statewide. Republican Gov. Doug Ducey has also increased the state’s education budget by $6.6 billion since 2015—all without a tax increase. The state could afford this because economic growth and new residents drove higher revenue.
Arizona’s Goldwater Institute estimates that only 13 cents of every dollar from Prop. 208 would actually go to teachers. About 75% is for payroll increases in areas such as “student support services,” which covers an indefinite range of school employees.
Much of the financial support for 208 is coming from out of state, notably an outfit known as Stand for Children, which is based in Portland, Ore., that has poured in $4 million. Arizona law makes it relatively easy to put a tax referendum on the ballot, and progressive donors around the country hope a victory will spur a nationwide trend, as in the 2018 teacher strikes.
A tax increase also makes no sense as the state is still trying to recover from its summer Covid-19 spike. Gov. Ducey, who opposes the ballot measure, helped keep the state in motion by allowing key industries to reopen after unemployment peaked at 13.4% in April. But the jobless rate still stood at 5.9% in August, and Prop. 208’s tax increase would slow investment and spending far into the future.
A Sept. 30 poll by Suffolk University and USA Today found 47% support for 208 compared with 66% in a Monmouth poll two weeks prior. But opponents are being heavily outspent. Arizona voters have to decide if they want to set their successful state on the tax-and-spend path to fewer jobs and slower growth.
The Canadian government has gone to the Federal Court in an attempt to protect “sensitive” information about the raid of a Quebec company that was searched by the RCMP as part of an investigation into the alleged diversion of technology with military uses to China.
RCMP officers searched JYS Technologies in Brossard, Que., in 2018. They were acting at the request of the FBI, which was looking for evidence of money-laundering, fraud and the procurement and export of U.S. technology and defense information.
Two years later, the federal government is now trying to stop the release of details of that search.
In court documents obtained by Global News, the Department of Justice argued that disclosing parts of the case would harm Canada’s international relations, national defence, or national security.
A lawyer representing the company and its key director, Ishiang Shih, declined to comment on the Federal Court proceedings.
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The RCMP said it had “received a request for assistance from the FBI in this investigation, therefore we are not in a position to comment on this specific matter.”
Formed in 2007, JYS Technologies specializes in electronics research and development and has worked with the Canadian government. But the company appears repeatedly in U.S. court documents outlining an alleged conspiracy to export circuits with missile guidance applications to China.
Shih, a former McGill University electrical engineering professor, has been named as a defendant in the U.S. case, and his brother was convicted in California on 18 charges last year, although two conspiracy counts have since been overturned on appeal.
He has denied the allegations and after RCMP officers searched his office and seized e-mails, photos and other materials, he challenged the police raid in Quebec court, calling it a “fishing expedition.”
The Quebec Superior Court ruled against Shih in December, rejecting his claim the RCMP warrant was too broad. The court has not yet ruled on whether the material seized during the search can be sent to the FBI.
JYS Technologies is also named as a partner in a National Research Council project.
“We can confirm that the NRC and JYS Technologies signed a confidentiality agreement in 2015, which is commonplace for the NRC’s clients and covers broad discussions between the NRC and its clients as to the purpose and scope of potential research and testing to be undertaken on a given project,” the agency said.
“The NRC is not able to share details of the agreement.”
Canada has ‘to take stronger, more principled approach’ to China, O’Toole says
Canada has ‘to take stronger, more principled approach’ to China, O’Toole says
Meanwhile, the Canadian Space Agency said that between 1998 and 2004 it had awarded four contracts to CIS Scientific, a firm that Shih helped found and that he identified in a Quebec court document as a “sister company.”
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“Information about these contracts is not available as documents were destroyed in accordance with the government of Canada conservation and disposal calendar, which requires contract documents to be kept for 6 years,” CSA spokesman Audrey Barbier said.
An email filed as evidence in the U.S., and that appears to have been sent by Shih, discussed “attempted collaborations” with the Department of National Defence, National Research Council and Canadian Space Agency.
WA Police have charged five men after a record amount of cash was uncovered from the back of a truck that had allegedly been driven from New South Wales.
The $3.88 million seizure is believed to be the biggest on record in WA
13kg of methylamphetamine was also recovered from a house
Five men have been arrested
Police said the truck was pulled over on Monday September 21 as part of an ongoing investigation.
It is alleged that when officers searched the vehicle, they found $3.88 million hidden in two plastic tubs — thought to be the largest amount of cash ever seized in WA.
A raid at a home in the north-eastern Perth suburb of Lockridge later that day allegedly uncovered 13 one-kilogram packages of methylamphetamine in a ute.
A 29-year-old man at the property was arrested and charged with possessing a trafficable quantity of methylamphetamine with intent to sell or supply.
The offence carries a potential life sentence.
The 58-year-old truck driver, from New South Wales, was charged with money laundering.
Three other men in their 20s were also arrested as part of the investigation and charged with drug offences.
Organised crime involved, WA Police say
Acting assistant commissioner Allan Adams said the seizures were a “significant win” for the WA community.
“That is cash that would have made its way back to more senior members of a serious and organised crime group and would have been used to purchase greater quantities of illicit drugs and repeat the community harm cycle,” he said.
“There is clearly someone who was expecting to receive the cash and given the amount of drugs seized it is fair to suggest there was a further distribution network ready and waiting to take delivery.
“Our investigation into the broader criminal network is continuing in partnership with law enforcement and intelligence agencies across Australia.”
Both men were refused bail and are due in Midland Magistrates Court this week.
Some in the media have called for Smith to make up his mind, because they believe he owes Melbourne the courtesy of giving it time to plan for next season, but Bellamy remains defiant his best player has earnt the right to choose whenever he wants after a glittering career that has spanned nearly two decades.
“As I’ve said all along, I’ve been saying for a couple of years when people ask me about this situation, my point of view is for what he’s done for our game as a whole, but what he’s done for our club in Melbourne … he deserves to make a decision when he’s ready to make a decision,” Bellamy told SEN Breakfast.
“How long that takes, well, so be it.
“As a club we sat down with our recruitment (department) … we’ve done a plan with our salary cap and a couple of other things where, if he does play on, this is the situation, if he doesn’t play on, this is the situation.
“He’s earnt the right to make that decision when it suits him.
“We’d all like to know what the decision’s going to be, without a doubt, but at the end of the day, I believe he’s earnt the right.
There have been rumblings Brisbane would make a play for Smith if he chooses to play elsewhere in 2021, which would allow the veteran to return to his home state of Queensland.
Yesterday, Storm chairman Matt Tripp blasted the last-placed Broncos for trying to poach the club’s main men amid rumours they were also eyeing off luring Bellamy and CEO Dave Donaghy to the Sunshine State.
Broncos CEO Paul White will depart at season’s end and coach Anthony Seibold was axed earlier this season. Brisbane is yet to fill those roles for next year.
“To just target Melbourne — they should take their blinkers off and have a look around their own state,” Tripp said. “Just because you pluck people out of an organisation doesn’t mean it is going to work for you.”
Asked about Brisbane’s interest in Melbourne, Bellamy laughed it off but said Smith would be a valuable addition wherever he ends up.
“I’m not quite sure whether that’s true or not,” Bellamy said of the Broncos targeting the Storm.
“Cameron, the way he’s still playing, he’d be an asset to any team at the moment. Even if he does retire, again he’ll be an asset to any club for his reputation in the game and what he’s done.
“He’s a very, very smart and clever guy, not only around footy but life in general, so he’s going to be a great asset to whatever club he aligns himself with at the end of his playing career and hopefully that will be the Storm.”
An editor with Belarus’s independent news organization Tut.by said her home was raided on Tuesday, September 8, with her daughter detained in relation to her alleged participation in the ongoing anti-government protests. Galina Ulasik said the raid targeted her daughter only. “The questions were only about my daughter,” said Ulasik. She told reporters that a number of pieces of equipment, including a laptop, were taken by investigators. A number of reporters responded to the scene after the news broke of the raid. Video footage shows masked individuals leaving the apartment with a number of items, before departing in a car. Videos also showed a lawyer attempting to gain access to the apartment during the raid. Credit: Tut.by via Storyful