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Mayor’s Message: Aug. 16

first_imgMayor Jay Gillian Dear Friends, I have heard reports from a lot of residents, guests and merchants that our gull program appears to be working. People say they are grateful to be able to stroll the boardwalk and beach across the entire island without fear of gulls swooping down to steal food. Our newest city team members — falcons, hawks and an owl — appear to be doing their job in holding the gulls at bay. We will continue to monitor the program in the next two weeks. If it continues to be successful, we will bring it back for next summer. Any investment that can protect the quality of life for our residents and guests is worthwhile. There has been a lot of interest among the public in seeing the raptors at work. Representatives of East Coast Falcons will be on the boardwalk in front of the Ocean City Music Pier daily to let the public meet the birds who are patrolling the boardwalk and beach. The team will be available every day from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., except on Thursday (Family Night on the Ocean City Boardwalk), when they will be there 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. This will continue through Labor Day on Sept. 2. The Cape May County Municipal Utilities Authority will host an information session and Q&A regarding their project to replace/rehabilitate its wastewater pipeline underground along the county’s stretch of Bay Avenue between Eighth Street and 31st Street. The meeting will be held at 11 a.m. tomorrow (Saturday, Aug. 17) at the Howard Stainton Senior Center within the Ocean City Community Center at 18th Street and Simpson Avenue. I encourage all residents and everybody who travels this stretch of Bay Avenue to attend. Work will begin after Labor Day and will require detours throughout the off-season. It’s hard to believe, but Labor Day Weekend will be here in just two weeks. We have a great lineup of events throughout the fall, but I hope families can take advantage of all that summer has to offer while it lasts. With many lifeguards already heading back to school, the Ocean City Beach Patrol will no longer guard some beaches for the remainder of the season. Please see the complete list of guarded beaches. Warm regards,Mayor Jay A. Gillianlast_img read more

Jamaica Deals Blow to Drug Trafficking

first_imgBy Renée Carnegie/Diálogo June 11, 2018 The Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) Coast Guard continues 2018 with a strong frontal assault against drug trafficking. On May 3rd, authorities intercepted a vessel and seized 765 pounds of compressed marijuana off the coast of Westmoreland, the westernmost parish of Cornwall County. The bust was the result of JDF Coast Guard routine patrols aboard Her Majesty Jamaica Ship (HMJS) Cornwall. Three men, one Haitian and two Jamaican nationals, were held in connection with the seizure. “The patrol team on board HMJS Cornwall was conducting routine surveillance when they spotted a blue motor-vessel acting suspiciously and approached the vessel to carry out a board and search,” Major Basil Jarrett, civil military cooperation officer at JDF, told Diálogo. “That’s when the three men were spotted throwing a number of packages overboard.” Coast Guard units recovered five packages of marijuana from the sea and found 11 additional packages aboard the vessel. According to a United Nations Office on Drug and Crime 2015 report, a pound of marijuana can be worth as much as $4,000 on the black market—placing the potential value of this bust at more than $3 million. Authorities also seized containers with more than 150 gallons of fuel from the vessel. “The men were handed over to the narcotics police for processing and the marijuana weighed and similarly processed,” said Maj. Jarrett. “The seizure and arrest are strongly suspected to be connected to the ongoing guns-for-drugs trade between Jamaican and Haitian criminals.” Wide area of responsibilities According to the U.S. Department of State’s 2018 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, Jamaica remains the largest supplier of marijuana to the United States and is a major transit point for cocaine trafficked from South to North America. Drug traffickers also export Jamaican-grown marijuana via small vessels and speedboats to other Caribbean nations in return for illicit firearms and contraband, the report indicated. Operations against marijuana trafficking and transnational criminal organizations bore fruits in recent years for Jamaican authorities. According to the International Narcotics Control Board’s 2016 annual report, Jamaica eradicated 725 hectares of marijuana plants in 2015—cultivation throughout the island is currently estimated at 15,000 hectares. In its 2016 Annual Report, the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), the nation’s police, reported seizing nearly 48 tons of marijuana. Jamaican authorities continue to boost operations at sea. Jamaica’s 92,000 square miles of maritime domain—25 times greater than its landmass—falls under the responsibility of the JDF Coast Guard and its staff of nearly 300. The naval unit recently beefed up its maritime border protection and security capacities with the 2017 acquisition of two new Stan Patrol 4207 offshore patrol vessels. The vessels joined a fleet of eight patrol, inshore patrol, and coastal interceptors. The JDF Coast Guard is also set to receive a maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) that will supplement its maritime security duties from the skies. The aircraft was approved for purchase in 2017. “Most of our successful interdictions have been in tandem with air support to help us detect or put surface assets unto the specific target,” said Captain Antonette Wemyss Gorman, commanding officer of the JDF Coast Guard, of joint efforts with the JDF Air Wing. “The MPA will not arrive until October of this year [2018]. It’s a King Air 350. It’s currently being outfitted with the relevant equipment.” Combined operations In the first quarter of 2018, JDF, along with Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard units, participated in the U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area-led combined operation Riptide. The focus of the operation was the fight against drug trafficking in the Caribbean and being able to dismantle transnational criminal networks. Riptide also strengthened the bonds of friendship with partner nations and promoted operational coordination. “Jamaica is a critical partner in our efforts to combat the efforts of transnational criminal networks seeking to exploit the maritime domain,” said U.S. Navy Commander Carmen DeGeorge, commanding officer of USCGC Resolute, which participated in the operation. “The officers and crew of the Resolute were humbled to be part of this unique event.” On March 17, Riptide interdicted two suspicious vessels and seized 1.3 tons of marijuana. Seven drug traffickers were detained as part of the operation. “By working hand-in-hand with DHS [U.S. Department of Homeland and Security] and the nation of Jamaica, we were able to efficiently interdict the 2,600 pounds of marijuana,” Cmdr. DeGeorge said in a release upon the return of USCGC Resolute to its homeport in St. Petersburg, Florida, April 28th. “Today’s offload represents the ongoing commitment of U.S. and international partners to combat transnational criminal networks and promote stability across the Caribbean region.” The JDF Coast Guard keeps up the fight against drug trafficking and protects its waters while sending a strong message to criminals. “We are serious about interdiction, and will use all resources available to deter and interdict illegal activities,” concluded Capt. Wemyss Gorman.last_img read more

Top US prosecutor who probed Trump’s allies fired

first_imgThe veteran prosecutor had overseen the prosecution of former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen and probed advisor Rudy Giuliani’s efforts to discredit the president’s political opponents. But Trump, speaking to reporters ahead of a campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, denied sacking Berman — further adding to the confused messaging coming from the administration.”That’s all up to the attorney general… He’s working on that, that’s his department, not my department,” Trump said. “I’m not involved.”Berman, a Republican who held a position in Trump’s transition team and was once a law partner of Giuliani, has pursued cases against tycoon sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, who was found dead in his Manhattan jail cell last year.He has also investigated two associates of Giuliani accused of campaign finance violations and helping dig up dirt on Trump’s election challenger Joe Biden as part of the Ukraine scandal over which Trump was impeached.Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer urged the Justice Department’s inspector general to launch an investigation into “blatantly corrupt DOJ interference.”Meanwhile Jerry Nadler, the Democratic chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, accused Barr of repeatedly interfering in “criminal investigations on Trump’s behalf.”The committee said in a statement it would “immediately open an investigation into this incident, as part of our broader investigation into Barr’s unacceptable politicization of the Department of Justice.” Two whistleblowers are scheduled to testify Wednesday on “why Barr’s attempt to fire Mr Berman is part of a larger, ongoing, and wholly unacceptable pattern of conduct,” the statement added. But Barr sent him a letter Saturday saying Trump had agreed to fire the official “as of today.”The fast-intensifying crisis has pitted the government against much of Washington’s legal community — and has apparently set Barr against Trump, who denied any involvement in the case.In his letter, circulated widely by US media, Barr accused Berman of having “chosen public spectacle over public service” through his defiance. Berman — who later confirmed in a statement he would be leaving “immediately” — finds himself at the center of the latest controversy in what Democrats have characterized as the politicization of the Justice Department under Barr. America’s top law enforcement official told a federal prosecutor known for probing allies of President Donald Trump that he was fired Saturday — sparking uproar and triggering an inquiry by Democratic lawmakers.Geoffrey Berman, head of the Southern District of New York attorney’s office since 2018, discovered his job was in jeopardy via a press release late Friday from Attorney General Bill Barr saying the prosecutor was stepping down.Berman responded that he had “no intention” of quitting, and that his office’s “investigations will move forward without interruption.” Berman testimony ‘welcome’ The Trump administration has in recent months fired or demoted inspectors general for the Pentagon, the intelligence community and the Department of Health and Human Services, as well as a senior health official who questioned Trump’s promotion of unproven drug therapies for COVID-19.State Department inspector general Steve Linick was removed last month after running a misconduct probe into Washington’s top diplomat and steadfast Trump ally Mike Pompeo.Meanwhile Barr has been accused of repeatedly acting as Trump’s personal lawyer instead of in the interests of the public following the Justice Department’s intervention in several cases involving Trump allies.More than 1,000 former department officials signed a statement calling for Barr’s resignation over his interference to get a lighter sentence for longtime Trump friend Roger Stone.Since then Barr has been berated for his department’s decision to drop the case against Trump’s first national security advisor Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty in 2017 to lying about his Russia contacts to the FBI.Jonathan Turley, a constitutional law professor at George Washington University, argued however that Barr’s move may have had nothing to do with investigations of Trump allies.”Barr needs to be clear as to why he wanted to remove Berman and, most importantly, to guarantee that the underlying investigations will not be impacted by this change in leadership,” Turley told AFP. Topics :last_img read more

What now for Liverpool after ending Premier League title drought?

first_imgLIVERPOOL , United Kingdom (AFP) — Liverpool’s romp to a first league title in 30 years with a record seven games of the season remaining could herald a golden new era for the Reds with Jurgen Klopp at the helm.Klopp has delivered the holy grail of a long-awaited league title to Anfield, a year after winning the club’s sixth European Cup.Further records could yet tumble before the season is out, with Liverpool on course for an all-time high Premier League points tally and the biggest-ever margin of victory.A 23-point gap to Manchester City is all the more remarkable given how Pep Guardiola’s men themselves have raised the bar in recent seasons.“How is it possible anybody is 20 points ahead of this team?” Klopp himself said after watching City’s 5-0 demolition of Burnley on Monday.City’s brilliance has pushed Liverpool to new heights.Even during the trophy-laden 1970s and 80s at Anfield, Liverpool never amassed as many points as they have in losing just two of their past 70 league games.A 4-0 thrashing of Crystal Palace on Wednesday was a 23rd consecutive Premier League win at home.“It is not over yet, that’s the good thing,” said an emotional Klopp, who extended his contract until 2024 earlier this season. “The team all look like they have a good few years in their legs.”The club have also tied down a core group of key players to long contracts over the past two years.LEGACYWayne Rooney helped win five of Alex Ferguson’s 13 league titles during the Scot’s spell as Manchester United manager, and believes Klopp could leave a similar legacy.“They have huge potential to win more trophies,” Rooney, a former Everton and United captain, begrudgingly admitted in his Sunday Times column.“Klopp says it’s impossible for any club to dominate like United once did, but he is wrong,” added Rooney. “There’s a simple way for Liverpool: Let Klopp go on and on.”City boss Guardiola highlighted Liverpool’s “passion” as the key component his side could not match.And Liverpool Captain Jordan Henderson urged his teammates to remain “hungry” and “keep wanting more” next season.More than a two-horse raceHowever, plenty of hurdles stand in Liverpool’s way if they are to establish such a spell of dominance, principally City’s reaction to losing their title.“When we retained the title we were the first for 10 years, so you know how difficult it is to do that,” Guardiola warned this week.As it stands, City will also be banned from European competition for the next two seasons.Should their appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport next month fail it could be a fatal blow in the push to convince Guardiola to stay beyond the end of his contract in 2021, but would also allow City to concentrate their resources on toppling Liverpool domestically.Unlike the past two seasons, the title race may be more than a two-horse race in 2020/21.Chelsea’s 2-1 win over City on Thursday was the result that finally crowned Liverpool champions and the Blues have already stated their intention to challenge with the signings of Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech.Manchester United are unbeaten in 13 games, with the January signing of Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes transforming their fortunes.Other factors such as the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), still scheduled to take place from January 10 to February 8, could also play a huge role in Liverpool’s title defence should Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane be absent for two months in the middle of the season.The return of the AFCON to the European winter had seen Werner strongly linked with a move to Anfield.However, the economic fallout from the novel coronavirus meant Liverpool were not willing to commit to meeting the German international’s 60-million euro (US$67 million) buyout clause from RB Leipzig.The chemistry between Mane, Salah, and Roberto Firmino has been key to Liverpool’s rise from struggling to qualify for the Champions League to the dizzy heights of European and English champions.“The front three we know are as good as anything in Europe,” said former Liverpool captain, Jamie Carragher.“They don’t miss too many games but when they do there is a massive drop-off, and that’s why I feel Liverpool still need to strengthen.”For the first time in three decades, though, Liverpool can build from a position of strength to tighten their grip on the Premier League rather than playing catch-up.last_img read more