Tag Archives: U.S.A.

US authorities seize marijuana from Jamaican vessel

ganja bust US authorities seize marijuana from Jamaican vessel
Graham Lowe
KINGSTON,Jamaica (CMC)-A massive marijuana haul valued at over US$6 million was made by United States authorities following a search of a Jamaican-flagged fishing vessel which was found near the Florida coast.

The US Coast Guard reported that the drug was found on the “Captain Richard” which ran out of fuel and was adrift more than 200 miles from the nearest port in Key West.

They off loaded 6,500 pounds marijuana that was wrapped in plastic and tape. On making the discovery the officials detained the ship’s crew.



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US rum subsidies hammer Jamaica, other Caribbean producers

j wray overproof US rum subsidies hammer Jamaica, other Caribbean producers
j wray overproof
KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) — Rum, the sugar-based liquor that has fueled the development of the Caribbean for centuries, has become the focus of an increasingly bitter dispute with the US.  Small producers in countries such as Antigua, Guyana and Jamaica complain they are being punched by unfair trade and marketing advantages for global beverage corporations operating in US territories, and say US rum subsidies threaten to drive some beloved top-shelf Caribbean labels out of business, or force them to sell out.

It’s a high stakes battle because rum, first developed on Caribbean sugar plantations in the 17th century and deeply engrained in local culture and history, is one of the few competitive industries for the tourism-dependent region’s tiny, vulnerable economies.

The tipple, which can range from colourless to coppery, from almost tasteless to richly layered, generates roughly US$500 million in foreign exchange for independent Caribbean countries and more than US$250 million in tax revenue.

The subsidies come from money raised through an excise tax on liquor sold in the US. Under an obscure federal law, almost all of the money generated by rum goes to the treasuries of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. Those tropical territories in turn hand a share of it to the producers as a subsidy to do business there.

Distillers in other countries say they lived fairly comfortably with the US subsidies for decades, even if they thought the rebates gave advantages to rum giant Bacardi Limited in Puerto Rico and Cruzan Rum, a US Virgin Islands brand now owned by Beam Inc, the US maker of spirits such as Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark.

But they are alarmed by recent deals that sharply increased the subsidies for already powerful corporations in the two territories.

The moves have prompted some competing Caribbean distillers to urge their governments to complain to the World Trade Organization (WTO), fearing that the US subsidies may undermine age-old rum operations in the Caribbean, the global center of production, and motivate other multinational distillers to relocate to US territories.

So far, no Caribbean government has declared their intention to challenge the US, the region’s biggest trading partner, with a WTO complaint. The Caribbean Community, which groups 15 Caribbean nations and dependencies, said it is trying to achieve a “negotiated settlement” with Washington

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Stealth destroyer, at over $3 billion apiece, is US Navy’s latest answer to rising China

US Stealth Destroyer. 300x193 Stealth destroyer, at over $3 billion apiece, is US Navy’s latest answer to rising China
US Stealth Destroyer.
By Associated Press, Updated: Monday, June 4, 5:10 AM AP

SINGAPORE — A super-stealthy warship that could underpin the U.S. navy’s China strategy will be able to sneak up on coastlines virtually undetected and pound targets with electromagnetic “railguns” right out of a sci-fi movie.But at more than $3 billion a pop, critics say the new DDG-1000 destroyer sucks away funds that could be better used to bolster a thinly stretched conventional fleet. One outspoken admiral in China has scoffed that all it would take to sink the high-tech American ship is an armada of explosive-laden fishing boats.

With the first of the new ships set to be delivered in 2014, the stealth destroyer is being heavily promoted by the Pentagon as the most advanced destroyer in history — a silver bullet of stealth. It has been called a perfect fit for what Washington now considers the most strategically important region in the world — Asia and the Pacific.Though it could come in handy elsewhere, like in the Gulf region, its ability to carry out missions both on the high seas and in shallows closer to shore is especially important in Asia because of the region’s many island nations and China’s long Pacific coast.

“With its stealth, incredibly capable sonar system, strike capability and lower manning requirements — this is our future,” Adm. Jonathan Greenert, chief of naval operations, said in April after visiting the shipyard in Maine where they are being built.

On a visit to a major regional security conference in Singapore that ended Sunday, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the Navy will be deploying 60 percent of its fleet worldwide to the Pacific by 2020, and though he didn’t cite the stealth destroyers he said new high-tech ships will be a big part of its shift.

The DDG-1000 and other stealth destroyers of the Zumwalt class feature a wave-piercing hull that leaves almost no wake, electric drive propulsion and advanced sonar and missiles. They are longer and heavier than existing destroyers — but will have half the crew because of automated systems and appear to be little more than a small fishing boat on enemy radar.

Down the road, the ship is to be equipped with an electromagnetic railgun, which uses a magnetic field and electric current to fire a projectile at several times the speed of sound.

But cost overruns and technical delays have left many defense experts wondering if the whole endeavor was too focused on futuristic technologies for its own good.

They point to the problem-ridden F-22 stealth jet fighter, which was hailed as the most advanced fighter ever built but was cut short because of prohibitive costs. Its successor, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, has swelled up into the most expensive procurement program in Defense Department history.

“Whether the Navy can afford to buy many DDG-1000s must be balanced against the need for over 300 surface ships to fulfill the various missions that confront it,” said Dean Cheng, a China expert with the Heritage Foundation, a conservative research institute in Washington. “Buying hyperexpensive ships hurts that ability, but buying ships that can’t do the job, or worse can’t survive in the face of the enemy, is even more irresponsible.”

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