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Friday, September 6, 2013

Zeta Money Launderer Gets 20 Years

Jose Trevino Morales, brother of recently arrested Los Zetas Cartel leader Miguel Angel Trevino Morales, was sentenced to 20 years in U.S. prison today. Trevino was convicted in May of a number of charges relating to his role in a Zetas money laundering scheme involving horses. “This prosecution and the sentences imposed today should send a clear message to those who would attempt to import their brand of corruption and violence into the United States,” U.S. Attorney Robert Pitman said after the sentencing. “We will find you, we will prosecute you and we will seek the most severe consequences that the law allows.

South Korean Legislators Fight Intelligence Agents Over Sedition Charges

A thirty minute long scuffle broke out in South Korea’s parliament yesterday, as the South Korean National Intelligence Service attempted to arrest Lee Seok-Ki, a Unified Progressive Party politician, on charges of sedition. Some of the six UPP parliamentarians and their staffers fought with roughly 60 NIS agents, in an attempt to give Lee time to escape. He was captured and then formally arrested in court before Judge Oh Sang-yong, who denied him bail, citing a flight risk. Several other members of the UPP have been arrested in recent days on similar charges.

On Wednesday, the National Assembly voted, 258 to 14, to allow Lee’s arrest, following the release of evidence suggesting he and friends had spoken about violently rebelling against the conservative government of South Korea in the event of a resumption of the Korean War. Lee Jung-hee, head of the United Progressive Party and Seok-Ki’s attorney, said the NIS had mischaracterized the comments they illegally taped. Statements alluding to sabotaging state facilities were “like jokes and were laughed away.” If this is treason, we are living in a society no one can dare crack a joke,” she said during the National Assembly vote. “You cannot punish someone for what he thinks.

Royal Shell Begins Bodo Compensation Talks

Royal Dutch Shell has entered into compensation talks with Nigerian villagers who lost their livelihoods and homes to a pair of oil spills in 2008, which have left the Niger Delta polluted and unable to support the fishermen who live on its banks. “Until the two 2008 spills, Bodo was a relatively prosperous fishing town. The spills have destroyed the fishing industry. Shell’s response has not been to try and speedily recompense the people of the community but to delay and prevaricate,” said Martyn Day, who represents the Bodo community.

Shell has been complicit in a number of ethically dubious incidents in Nigeria since it began exploiting that nation’s natural resources in the 1950′s: it hired mercenaries to ‘brutalize’ residents of the delta, pressured the government to execute environmentalist Ken Saro-Wiwa, and falsely claiming a number of oil spills were the result of sabotage. In this case, Shell acknowledged their responsibility for the twin oil spills, which leaked nearly 600,000 barrels worth of oil into the delta, nearly obliterating the Bodo fishing communities. Still, the oil firm has resisted remunerating the fishermen for their lost livelihoods; a Shell spokesperson said the talks would focus on the number of people affected, the actual financial loss suffered, and the amount of time for which those affected should be compensated. No matter the outcome of these talks, the delta faces an unsure future. A 2011 U.N. report found the impact of oil contamination would take more than $1 billion and 30 years to rectify.

EC Justice Official Threatens Croatia Over Extradition Laws

The European Commission warned the Croatian government that it would face legal consequences should Croatia not immediately change extradition laws that some say shield wanted war criminals. Croatia joined the European Union in July, and promised last month to apply European rules, including the European Arrest Warrant, so as to avoid sanctions which could include loss of EU aid. But top EU justice official Viviane Reding said Zagreb’s plans were not swift enough, “I am … surprised to learn that the amendment would take more than 10 months and would only enter into force on 15 July 2014.”

Croatia’s opposition HDZ party say that the anomalous extradition laws are designed to protect Josip Perković, a one-time intelligence officer who faces German charges in the 1983 slaying of Yugoslav dissident Stjepan Đureković in Bavaria. Perković is currently in hiding; several other Croatian nationals have been convicted of similar charges.

Prime Minister Zoran Milanović denies the HDZ allegations, saying his government only aspires to the same privileges enjoyed by Western EU countries. EU members could request exemptions from the European Arrest Warrant before 2002, but the European Commission says such exemptions are only available to nations that were in the union at the time.

NASA Launches Moon Robot

NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer, nicknamed LADEE, is slated to launch this evening at 20:27 PDST. A webcast of the launch will begin two hours prior on SPACE.com. The robot’s mission is to investigate the meager selenic atmosphere and how it interacts with dust, with a broader goal of explaining the glow reported on the lunar horizon by Apollo astronauts.

Weekend Read: Massive Resistance in a Small Town

Prince Edward County spent ten years resisting integration after losing the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court case Brown et al. v. Board of Education et al. which found educational segregation to be unconstitutional. Katy June-Friesen constructs the county’s history before and after Brown in the fall issue of Humanities.

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