#Huawei, #Meng, #Canada
Ottawa, Jul 24 (Canadian-Media): Lawyers of Meng Wanzhou, Chief Financial Officer of Chinese tech giant Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, had applied July 24 to a Canadian court for a stay in the proceedings for her extradition to the United States (US), media reports said.
Meng Wanzhou. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons
Meng -- the daughter of billionaire Ren Zhengfei, the founder of HSBC, the company at the center of next generation 5G wireless technology -- had been accused by the US authorities of committing bank fraud by misleading Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited (HSBC) about Huawei's relationship with a company operating in Iran.
Headquartered in London, HSBC was established in 1865 to finance the growing trade between Europe, India and China.
By misleading HSBC, Meng had put HSBC at risk of fines and penalties for breaking US sanctions on Tehran.
At a result, Meng was arrested on December 1, 2018 at Vancouver International Airport at the request of US, which is seeking her extradition.
Both Meng and Huawei have repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.
The arguments put forward by Meng's lawyers was that US President Donald Trump and other senior members of the administration intend to use Meng "as a bargaining chip in a trade dispute," the New York Times reported.
Meng's lawyers also said that the US misled Canada about the evidence in Meng's case.
China had expressed strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition to a Canadian court's ruling on the case against Meng.
Meng's lawyers filed a memo of arguments on June 15 with the Supreme Court of British Columbia to fight extradition of Meng to the US on bank fraud charges.
#Arizona; #SmugglingMexicans; #USBorderPatrol
Arizona (United States), Jul 19 (Canadian-Media): An Arizona man who was legally transporting a body to a mortuary is charged with human smuggling by U.S. Border Patrol agents, after after they found six Mexican citizens hidden inside the vehicle, said U.S. Border Patrol agents, media reports said.
US Border Patrol. Image credit: Facebook page
The man, who is not identified, was driving a GMC SUV was stopped Wednesday in Douglas for an immigration inspection, the Border Patrol said Thursday.
"The SUV’s driver, believed to be employed by a southern Arizona mortuary, was presumably transporting the remains while attempting to smuggle illegal border crossers further into the United States," stated CBP's Robert Daniels, FoxNews reported.
While the driver was taken into custody, the Mexican citizens were processed and accused of immigration violations, said Border Patrol U.S.
Customs and Border Protection reported that the human remains found at the scene were transferred to a local mortuary.
#Orlando, #US; #RepeatSexOffender; #ICE; #HSI; #FederalImprisonment
Orlando, Jul 11 (Canadian-Media): James Edward Groover, II, 34, of Antwerp, Ohio was sentenced on July 10 to 15 years and 8 months in federal prison for transportation of child pornography, media reports said.
The case was investigated by the resident agent in charge for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Cocoa Beach office and the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office.
The court documents revealed that on June 17, 2019, Groover returned to the United States from a three-day cruise to the Bahamas, carrying his cell phone and laptop computer.
Upon his entry into Port Canaveral, Florida, a border search on his devices was conducted by law enforcement agents and found 4,638 images and 1,763 videos depicting the sexual abuse and exploitation of infants, toddlers and prepubescent children.
A digital manual that provided instructions for sexually molesting little girls was also found by the agents.
“This repeat child predator did not learn his lesson the first time,” said HSI Orlando Assistant Special Agent in Charge David J. Pezzutti. “This sentencing is a message to this criminal and others, that HSI special agents and our law enforcement partners, like the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office, continue to fight to protect the most vulnerable in our communities.”
Sheriff Wayne Ivey stated, “I am so very proud of these agents who are devoted to protecting children. Through their outstanding efforts, an individual who participated in the exploitation of our children has been removed from our communities. I want to thank the US Attorney’s Office for prosecuting these cases and Homeland Security Investigations for all their support in fighting the exploitation of children.”
Previously, in 2005, Canadian authorities located images of child sex abuse on a laptop that Groover had transported across the Canadian border. Groover was convicted of possession of child pornography in Canada.
On February 6, 2020, Groover had pleaded guilty. The court also ordered Groover to forfeit the electronic devices he used to commit the offense.
The case was prosecuted by the office of United States Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez, Middle District Florida, Assistant United States Attorney Karen L. Gable.
HSI’s Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators had conducted his investigation.
Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, more than 25,000 individuals had been arrested by HSI for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child exploitation material, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children.
Under this initiative, HSI special agents arrested more than 3,500 child predators in fiscal year 2019, and more than 1,000 victims identified or rescued.
#UN; #Covid-19Pandemic; #WildlifeCrime; #Environment
United Nations, Jul 10 (Canadian-Media): The COVID-19 pandemic shows how wildlife crime is a threat not only to the environment but to human health, according to a new UN report issued on Friday.
Rescued orphan elephants at David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Kenya.
Image credit: UNEP/Natalia Mroz
The World Wildlife Crime Report 2020 outlines how trafficking in some wild species, which are then butchered and sold illegally, can increase the transmission of diseases that spread from animals to humans.
Zoonotic diseases represent up to 75 per cent of all emerging infectious diseases and include the new coronavirus that caused the global pandemic.
“Transnational organized crime networks are reaping the profits of wildlife crime, but it is the poor who are paying the price,” said Ghada Waly, Executive Director at the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) which produced the report.
Pangolins: world’s most trafficked mammal
The report highlights the trafficking of wild species such as pangolins, which have been identified as a potential source of coronaviruses.
Experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) are on their way to China, in efforts to determine the animal source of COVID-19.
Seizures of pangolin scales increased tenfold between 2014 and 2018, making them the most trafficked wild mammals in the world.
Nearly 6,000 species were seized over the past decade, which include mammals but also reptiles, corals, birds and fish.
No single country was identified as the source of more than 9 per cent of the total number of seized shipments, while suspected traffickers represented roughly 150 nationalities, underscoring the global nature of these crimes.
Illegal tropical wood on the rise
The report also analyzes markets for illicit rosewood, ivory, rhino horn, pangolin scales, live reptiles, big cats and the European eel.
Trends show demand for African ivory and rhino horn is in decline, indicating that the market for them is smaller than previously suggested. It is estimated that these two items generated more than $600 million annually between 2016 and 2018.
Meanwhile, demand for tropical hardwood timber has risen significantly over the past two decades. Illegal African rosewood has even entered legitimate supply chains for the furniture trade. At the same time, seizures of tiger products have also been on the rise, alongside traffickers’ interest in other big cat parts that can serve as substitutes.
Wildlife trade has also gone digital, with traffickers selling live reptiles and tiger bone products, among other products, through online platforms and encrypted messaging apps.
Cross-border coordination critical
UNODC believes stopping wildlife crime is critical to protecting biodiversity and the rule of law, but also for preventing future public health emergencies.
The report outlines the need for stronger criminal justice systems and improved international cooperation and cross-border investigations, among other measures.
“To protect people and planet in line with the Sustainable Development Goals, and to build back better from the COVID-19 crisis, we cannot afford to ignore wildlife crime”, said Ms. Waly, the UN agency’s chief.
“The 2020 World Wildlife Crime Report can help to keep this threat high on the international agenda and increase support for governments to adopt the necessary legislation, and develop the inter-agency coordination and capacities needed to tackle wildlife crime offences.”