first_imgDirektor Glavnog ureda Hrvatske turističke zajednice (HTZ) Kristjan Staničić tijekom službenog boravka u SAD-u sudjelovao je na konferenciji Udruženja turoperatora Sjedinjenih Američkih Država (USTOA), koja se održala u Hollywoodu (Florida). Tom se prilikom direktor Staničić susreo s predsjednikom USTOA-e Terryem Daleom, javljaju iz HTZ-a, a s kojim je dogovorio aktivniji angažman HTZ-a, posebice kroz održavanje prezentacija na nadolazećim konferencijama, ali i uključivanjem Hrvatske u projekt istraživanja „USTOA’s Portrait of American International Travelers“.In addition to USTOA representatives, Director Staničić also met with other key partners in the US market, including representatives of the Signature Travel Network and representatives of the Virtuoso luxury travel network, with whom an action plan for 2018 has been agreed. as well as the long-term course of cooperation. “One of the most important topics of the meetings, which we did during our stay in the USA with key partners, was the establishment of a direct flight between Croatia and the USA. We are extremely pleased that the partners in this market have expressed strong support in the realization and establishment of a direct flight, which would be of great importance for Croatia, and not only in terms of tourism. I am optimistic and believe that Croatia will have a direct flight with this large and globally important market in the near future.” said Director Staničić, adding that all partners confirmed this year’s excellent results and growth of 35 percent in arrivals and overnight stays, ie the popularity of Croatia in the North American market as one of the fastest growing destinations.Dodajmo kako su osim sjevernoameričkih turoperatora, aktivnih članova USTOA-e, skupu prisustvovali i pridruženi članovi – predstavnici turističkih ureda i turističkog gospodarstva zemalja iz cijelog svijeta te renomirani turistički novinari. Isto tako, na ovom najvećem godišnjem skupu udruženja sjevernoameričkih turoperatora, osim HTZ-a, sudjelovale su i turističke zajednice grada Zagreba i Dubrovačko-neretvanske županije. Konferencija je okupila oko 900 sudionika koji su se, tijekom pet dana održavanja konferencije, imali priliku upoznati s novostima i trendovima u turizmu, ali i sudjelovati na networking eventima i sastancima s ciljem dogovaranja poslovne suradnje.Croatia in the top 10 destinations in the world according to Virtuos researchThe Association of Luxury Travel Agencies Virtuoso again this year conducted a traditional survey among its members – “Vituoso Luxe Report”. According to the survey results for 2018, Croatia is ranked among the top 10 destinations in three categories, with progress on the scale compared to the survey results for 2017. Thus, our country took a high 2nd place in the category of the most popular emerging destination, which is an improvement of one place compared to the survey for 2017, when Croatia took an excellent 3rd place in this category. In the category of the most popular international destination, Croatia took 8th place, which is also an improvement compared to the survey for 2017, when Croatia took 10th place in this category. Progress has also been made in the category of the most popular destination for the so-called millenials passengers, so in the survey for 2018, Croatia took 6th place in this category, which is an improvement of three places because in the survey for 2017, Croatia was ranked 9th in this category.last_img read more

first_imgThe use of decoy construction equipment, Dias said, was just the latest ruse employed by Brazil’s drug gangs. In less than a decade, he had watched them rise from domestic street sellers to major international players, using Santos and other ports to ship narcotics offshore.”Europe is the destination par excellence,” said Dias, who retired late last year from Brazil’s Federal Revenue Service.Brazil has become one of the top suppliers of cocaine to Europe, transforming the country’s role in the trans-Atlantic drug trade at a speed that has stunned anti-narcotics authorities.A Brazilian custom agent inspects the cargo inside a container going to Europe for smuggled drugs at the Port of Santos in Santos, Brazil September 23, 2019. (REUTERS/Amanda Perobelli) Long regarded as a cocaine-consuming nation, a market for the product manufactured in Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia, Brazil has turned into a critical launch pad to get it across the ocean. Local syndicates have infiltrated Brazil’s ports, authorities said, sending record amounts of coke on container ships bound for Europe, where it fetches premium prices.Brazilian gangs are now integral players feeding Europe’s cocaine market, valued at more than 9 billion euros ($10.15 billion), according to a Reuters analysis of customs data on cocaine seizures, confidential intelligence reports and research studies on illegal drugs; and interviews with more than two dozen people, including law enforcement agents, public officials, diplomats, anti-narcotics experts and people involved in the illicit trade.”For coke, Brazil has emerged as a major exporter nation,” said Laurent Laniel, a senior analyst at the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), the Lisbon-based EU drugs agency. “This is definitely something that is new.”The Brazilian cocaine trade spans vast distances across South America’s largest nation. Reuters accompanied Brazilian and Peruvian police battling gangsters near the countries’ shared border in the remote Amazon, where there has been an explosion of cultivation and processing of coca, the plant used to produce cocaine.”It’s out of control,” Brazilian Federal Police Officer Antônio Salgado said after joining his Peruvian counterparts to take out coca processing labs. “You go up in the helicopter and within two minutes you start seeing plantations here, there, everywhere.”Reuters also reported from Paraguay, whose law enforcement has proven to be no match for Brazilian gangs using the country as a way station to move Andean product into Brazil; and from Santos, Latin America’s largest port, where drug seizures keep breaking records.Every link of this vast supply chain underscored Brazil’s new status as a leading transshipment hub for coke to Europe, the world’s second-largest economic bloc.The shift can be seen in Belgium, the top gateway for South American cocaine entering Europe, almost entirely via the port of Antwerp, according to the EMCDDA. In 2019, authorities apprehended a record of nearly 62 tonnes of cocaine at Antwerp, Europe’s second-largest port. The single-largest share of that – 15.9 tonnes, about a quarter of the total – came from ships arriving from Brazil, official Belgian data show. In 2015, Belgian customs seized just 293 kilograms (646 pounds) hailing from Brazil, less than 2% of that year’s haul.It’s a similar story in Spain, Europe’s second most important portal. Five years ago, Brazil did not rank among the major embarkation points for cargo ships caught bringing cocaine into Spain. The top five slots belonged to Colombia, Venezuela, Portugal, Ecuador, and Chile, according to data provided to Reuters last year by Spanish customs. Brazil vaulted to the No. 1 spot in 2016 and again in 2018 when law enforcement seized a record 4.3 tonnes from ships arriving from Brazilian ports, the figures show.Brazil was also the top point of origin for cocaine apprehended entering Germany in 2018, with a historic capture of nearly 2.1 tonnes, according to the most recent German customs data.Experts cautioned that apprehension figures don’t tell the whole story; bigger seizures can reflect better policing rather than increased flows.But two things are certain: Europe is “swimming in drugs,” and Brazil plays an increasingly crucial role in getting them there, said Andrew Cunningham, another expert at EMCDDA, the EU drugs agency. “There’s absolutely no doubt about it,” he said.Part of the 158 kilograms of cocaine hidden inside the arm of a second-hand backhoe that was bound for the Belgian port of Antwerp and found by the Brazilian anti-narcotics authorities is pictured at the port of Santos, Sao Paulo state, Brazil, November 18, 2019. (REUTERS/Handout/RECEITA FEDERAL DO BRASIL)BRAZIL TAKES OFFBrazil has always had the potential to become a major cocaine exporter, according to Elvis Secco, who leads a specialized anti-narcotics unit of Brazil’s federal police. The country sits between coke-producing powerhouses to the west and the Atlantic Ocean to the east.Brazil’s three most important gangs – First Capital Command, Red Command and the Family of the North – have proven adept at moving drugs enormous distances to supply Brazilian consumers. With thousands of cargo ships leaving Brazil annually for Europe, Africa and beyond, there was no reason to stop at the water’s edge, Secco told Reuters.But other recent trends have helped Brazilian traffickers expand. Global cocaine production – almost exclusively from Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia – more than doubled between 2013 and 2017, to reach an estimated 1,976 tonnes, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). South America has been awash with high-purity powder in need of buyers.Burgeoning supplies have resulted in falling prices that have attracted new users worldwide, according to the UNODC’s World Drug Report 2019.With distribution into the lucrative U.S. market cornered by Mexican cartels, Brazil’s gangs trained their sights on Europe. Prices there are higher than in the United States, due to the longer distances it must travel, authorities said. Europe is also a convenient pit stop for cocaine bound for growing markets in the Middle East and Asia, they added.Like Europe, Brazil is also flooded with coke. In 2019, the federal police nabbed a record 105 tonnes, up 32% from 2018. Brazil’s law-and-order President Jair Bolsonaro says it’s proof the country is winning its war on drugs. “We’re suffocating organized crime,” he tweeted in October.Secco, the Brazilian federal police drug czar, was more circumspect. He said apprehensions are up because Andean production has risen sharply and more cocaine is entering Brazil, “not because of any new investments” in law enforcement.Peruvian anti-narcotics police officers patrol the Amazon river in Caballococha, Peru October 29, 2019. (REUTERS/Gabriel Stargardter)DRUGS ON THE DOCKSMuch of the cocaine flowing through Brazil to Europe is trafficked by Brazil’s largest and most powerful criminal organization, First Capital Command, known by its Portuguese acronym PCC, according to authorities.They say the gang dominates a prime smuggling route that starts in Bolivia, then heads southeast to Brazil via Paraguay, where the syndicate is overwhelming that nation’s weak institutions. In January, 75 PCC members escaped from a Paraguayan prison in a brazen jailbreak that top security officials knew was coming, but were powerless to stop, because the gang had so many prison guards under its sway.Based in São Paulo, the PCC dominates the nearby port of Santos, which handles some 7,000 containers a day. Police say the gang bribes or threatens port workers to place cocaine in outbound shipping containers. Some drugs come aboard cargo ships at sea, with smugglers pulling alongside in smaller craft, said Cunningham of the EU drugs agency.After reaching Europe, the merchandise is distributed across the continent by Eastern European, Moroccan and Italian mobsters partnered with the PCC, officials said.In July 2019, Brazilian police arrested Nicola Assisi, reputedly a senior player in Italy’s ‘Ndrangheta mob, along with his son Patrick, near Santos. They are “accused of being some of the biggest suppliers of cocaine to Europe,” according to a Brazilian federal court document. Currently jailed in Brasília, they await extradition to Italy. Their lawyer, Eugênio Malavasi, declined to comment.With Santos swamped with cocaine, port officials have tightened security. Since 2016, every Europe-bound container has been X-ray scanned, according to Dias, the retired customs inspector. In 2019, customs agents nabbed a record 27 tonnes of cocaine at Santos, a 154% increase from three years earlier.Ciro Moraes, the federal police commander in charge of Santos, reckons authorities only catch a fraction. The only good news, he said, is that cargo theft at the port has declined precipitously. “The guys who were stealing cargo are now in drug logistics,” he said.Federal Police officer, Ciro Tadeu Moraes, is seen at his office in Santos, Brazil September 23, 2019. (REUTERS/Amanda Perobelli)COCAINE SURGE IN THE AMAZONBrazil’s gangs also import cocaine into the remote, northern Amazon region of the country along the so-called triple frontier with Colombia and Peru, according to federal police.They say much of the product enters Brazil by boat along the Amazon River, bound for Manaus, a city of roughly 2 million people. From there, it moves downriver until it reaches northeastern seaports like Suape and Natal in preparation for the Atlantic crossing.The Family of the North, known as the FDN, is the biggest player in the Amazon, authorities said. But booming European exports have lured challengers, with the PCC, Rio de Janeiro’s Red Command and others looking to wrest control.Much of the ensuing violence has played out in the region’s jails where gangs recruit unaffiliated prisoners into their crews. Brazilian authorities blamed warring cartels for two prison riots that killed more than 100 people last year. Shootouts are common in Manaus and along the Amazon River. Police say they are increasingly outgunned.Gangs are “less scared and more powerful” than they used to be, said Brazilian Federal Police Officer Charles Nascimento, a veteran of the Amazon drugs beat.Bolsonaro’s government has taken aim at the gangs by targeting their finances and moving jailed leaders to maximum-security federal lockups.Brazil is also cooperating with other affected countries. Belgian and Brazilian authorities in 2019 pledged to deepen information sharing, tighten port security and tackle money laundering. And Bolsonaro’s administration is stepping up anti-narcotics efforts with its Andean neighbors.Peruvian anti-narcotics police officers are seen at a coca leaf plantations in Caballococha, Peru November 2, 2019. (REUTERS/Gabriel Stargardter)GANG PACTLate last year, Reuters joined a joint mission between Brazil and Peru, spending a week with four Brazilian federal police officers and a few dozen Peruvian anti-narcotics cops in Caballococha, a Peruvian town of about 24,000 people. Accessible only by air or boat, Caballococha sits on the banks of the Amazon, just south of Colombia and about 100 kilometers upriver from the Brazilian border.This region of Peru, classified as the Bajo Amazonas, accounts for just 4% of the nation’s 50,000-hectare coca crop, according to the UNODC. But cultivation is growing, up 41% in 2017 from the previous year, the most recent data show.Colonel Miguel Ángel Peric, the local head of Peru’s anti-narcotics police, said those figures don’t begin to capture the scale of the problem. He estimated almost all of Caballococha’s residents had some direct or indirect link to the cocaine trade. Peruvian cops told Reuters they suspected some colleagues were in league with traffickers, although they presented no evidence.Shifting gang alliances have added to the complexity. A partnership has emerged between Brazil’s FDN and Los Caqueteños, a Colombian gang that supplies it with coke produced at home and in Peru, according to two classified intelligence reports seen by Reuters, one from Brazilian police and the other from Colombian cops.Los Caqueteños was founded in 2010 by former members of a local paramilitary force and is based in the Colombian border town of Leticia. It is “the most belligerent organization in the triple frontier region,” according to the Colombian report.The bi-lateral anti-narcotics force hoped to disrupt some of Los Caqueteños’ operations around Caballococha. But out in the jungle, the police always appeared to be one step behind the traffickers.An ariel view of cocaine plantation in Caballococha, Peru November 2, 2019. Picture taken November 2, 2019. (REUTERS/Gabriel Stargardter)DISAPPEARING ACTThe mission relied on two aging Russian Mi-17 helicopters provided by the Peruvians. One broke down immediately, causing a delay of a few days while a new part was flown in.Once the chopper was repaired, the mission netted just three arrests. Suspects vanished into the jungle at the sound of approaching aircraft.The team also torched five so-called paste labs, which perform the first stage of processing on coca plantations. These facilities are typically crude shacks where workers fill plastic barrels with coca leaves, gasoline, and other chemicals to form coca paste. This green-hued sludge is then transported to more sophisticated labs to be processed into white, powdery cocaine.But as the days passed, the paste seizures didn’t amount to much. Then came a potential break. An informant said a small plane carrying 300 kilograms (661.4 pounds) of coca paste had crashed during takeoff from a clandestine landing strip. There were another 700 kilograms (1,543.2 pounds) by the side of the runway, guarded by as many as 10 heavily armed men, according to the informant.Around noon the following day, a few dozen Peruvian police set off in the choppers. As the runway came into view, helicopter gunmen strafed it with machine-gun fire.But upon landing they found no armed guards, no drugs and no plane. They located the charred wreckage of a Beechcraft Baron 58, a Brazilian-owned aircraft, hacked up and left in the river. It, too, was empty.Topics : Years of rooting out drugs at the Brazilian seaport of Santos had given customs inspector Oswaldo Dias a good nose for suspicious cargo. A shipment of second-hand backhoes, bound for Europe late last year, seemed fishy.So on the morning of Nov. 18, Dias sent the machinery through a scanner, which revealed a strange mass lodged inside one of the excavator’s yellow arms. He hopped up for a look and saw cracks in the metal and a dodgy paint job. Dias called for a blowtorch.Inside, he found 158 kilograms of cocaine – almost 350 pounds of white powder – destined for the Belgian port of Antwerp.last_img read more

first_imgTaylor VorthermsELLSWORTH — The Ellsworth American’s sports editor, Taylor Vortherms, won the New England Society of Newspaper Editors’ “Best Sports Coverage” award for her story about women’s running pioneer Robin Emery.The “NESNEs” recognize the best editorial work produced in New England. The winners in five different categories were announced on Thursday, April 21, at an awards ceremony at the New England Newspaper & Press Association’s (NENPA) headquarters in Dedham, Mass.Vortherms’ story about Emery was automatically submitted as a finalist for the award after taking first for “Sports Feature Story” at NENPA’s 2016 Better Newspaper contest.Other finalists for “Best Sports Coverage” in New England included: Jonathan Comey with The Standard-Times (New Bedford, Mass.) for the story “Behind the scenes, beyond the ropes;” Steve Barlow with the Republican-American (Waterbury, Conn.) for “The Shot;” Joshua Lyford with Worcester Magazine (Massachusetts) for “A little Rusty, but these Blades still cut the ice;” and Karl Lindholm with the Addison County Independent (Vermont) for “Habits of right living: Whither football?”This is placeholder textThis is placeholder textlast_img read more

first_imgPutting out our initial Week 15 fantasy WR rankings almost seems like an exercise in futility (even more so than most weeks). There are so many injuries to big-name wide receivers, including Adam Thielen (hamstring), Will Fuller (hamstring), Mike Evans (hamstring), JuJu Smith-Schuster (knee), T.Y. Hilton (calf), DeVante Parker (concussion), Calvin Ridley (abdomen), and DJ Chark (ankle), that there are bound to be plenty of changes. Waiver wire pickups will emerge, sleepers will present themselves, and start ’em, sit ’em decisions will be agonized over. The most obvious sleeper candidates are the direct replacements for these players, at least the obvious ones in favorable matchups. Breshad Perriman and maybe Justin Watson (@ Lions), Allen Hurns and maybe Isaiah Ford (@ Giants), Dede Westbrook and Chris Conley (@ Raiders), Zach Pascal and Marcus Johnson (@ Saints) all qualify.  MORE WEEK 15:Waiver pickups | FAAB planner | Stock watch | Snap counts | Fantasy playoff tipsWeek 15 Fantasy WR RankingsMORE WEEK 15 DFS: Values | Stacks | Lineup BuilderThese rankings are for standard, non-PPR leagues.RankPlayer1Michael Thomas, NO vs. IND2Chris Godwin, TB @ DET3Tyler Lockett, SEA @ CAR4DeAndre Hopkins, HOU @ TEN5Keenan Allen, LAC vs. MIN6Tyreek Hill, KC vs. DEN7Kenny Golladay, DET vs. TB8DeVante Parker, MIA @ NYG9Julian Edelman, NE @ CIN10Jarvis Landry, CLE @ ARZ11Odell Beckham Jr., CLE @ ARZ12D.J. Moore, CAR vs. SEA13Davante Adams, GB vs. CHI14Julio Jones, ATL @ SF15Cooper Kupp, LAR @ DAL16Mike Williams, LAC vs. MIN17Courtland Sutton, DEN @ KC18Allen Robinson, CHI @ GB19Stefon Diggs, MIN @ LAC20Emmanuel Sanders, SF vs. ATL21Adam Thielen, MIN @ LAC22Golden Tate, NYG vs. MIA23Dede Westbrook, JAX @ OAK24John Brown, BUF @ PIT25Amari Cooper, DAL vs. LAR26Marquise Brown, BAL vs. NYJ27Robert Woods, LAR @ DAL28Deebo Samuel, SF vs. ATL29Terry McLaurin, WAS vs. PHI30A.J. Brown, TEN vs. HOU31Robby Anderson, NYJ @ BAL32Breshad Perriman, TB vs. DET33Chris Conley, JAX @ OAK34Darius Slayton, NYG vs. MIA35Curtis Samuel, CAR vs. SEA36Danny Amendola, DET vs. TB37Will Fuller V, HOU @ TEN38DK Metcalf, SEA @ CAR39Christian Kirk, ARZ vs. CLE40Tyler Boyd, CIN vs. NE41Larry Fitzgerald, ARZ vs. CLE42Corey Davis, TEN vs. HOU43Michael Gallup, DAL vs. LAR44Cole Beasley, BUF @ PIT45Zach Pascal, IND @ NO46Greg Ward, PHI @ WAS47James Washington, PIT vs. BUF48Tyrell Williams, OAK vs. JAX49Anthony Miller, CHI @ GB50Allen Hurns, MIA @ NYG51Russell Gage, ATL @ SF52Marcus Johnson, IND @ NO53Diontae Johnson, PIT vs. BUF54Kendrick Bourne, SF vs. ATL55Justin Watson, TB @ DET56Jamison Crowder, NYJ @ BAL57Brandin Cooks, LAR @ DAL58Sterling Shepard, NYG vs. MIA59Kelvin Harmon, WAS vs. PHI60Keelan Cole, JAX @ OAK61Willie Snead, BAL vs. NYJ62JJ Arcega-Whiteside, PHI @ WAS63Mohamed Sanu, NE @ CIN64Phillip Dorsett, NE @ CIN65John Ross III, CIN vs. NE66Tim Patrick, DEN @ KC67Mecole Hardman, KC vs. DEN68Randall Cobb, DAL vs. LAR69Sammy Watkins, KC vs. DEN70Olamide Zaccheaus, ATL @ SF71Alex Erickson, CIN vs. NE72Allen Lazard, GB vs. CHI73Keke Coutee, HOU @ TEN74Josh Gordon, SEA @ CAR75Tre’Quan Smith, NO vs. IND76Marquez Valdes-Scantling, GB vs. CHI77Ted Ginn Jr., NO vs. IND78Olabisi Johnson, MIN @ LAC79Geronimo Allison, GB vs. CHI80Demarcus Robinson, KC vs. DEN81Demaryius Thomas, NYJ @ BAL82Zay Jones, OAK vs. JAX83Josh Reynolds, LAR @ DAL WEEK 15 NON-PPR RANKINGS: Quarterback | Running back | Tight end | D/ST | KickerAll of those players are risky, but plenty of more-established WR3s are just as worrisome. Tyler Boyd (vs. Patriots), Michael Gallup (@ Rams), Anthony Miller (@ Packers), Jamison Crowder (@ Ravens), and Larry Fitzgerald (vs. Browns), to name a few, aren’t exactly optimal plays. There’s a good chance you’ll be taking some risks with at least one WR spot in your lineup. WEEK 15 PPR RANKINGS: Running back | Wide receiver | Tight endBut that’s fine. If there’s one position you can do that with, it’s WR. All it takes is one big play for a receiver to pay off, and if you play the matchups, you have a chance. Things don’t always work out — even with good receivers — but at this point in the season, the defensive numbers aren’t fluky. If you find the right mix of targets and fantasy points allowed, then you can usually find three worthwhile receivers for your weekly lineup. WEEK 15 DFS LINEUPS:FD Cash | FD GPP | DK Cash | DK GPP | Y! Cash | Y! GPPNote: We’ll continue to update these rankings all week, so check back for the latest and individual player analysis. last_img read more

first_imgLaurent Koscielny has suggested he is in the final two years of his time at Arsenal, as he could leave when his contract expires.The centre-back joined the Gunners from Lorient eight years ago but will be part of a new chapter at the club as they prepare for their first season under new coach Unai Emery.Arsenal have already invested in their defence this summer with centre-back Sokratis Papastathopoulos joining from Borussia Dortmund and right-back Stephan Lichtsteiner being signed from Juventus. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Man Utd ready to spend big on Sancho and Haaland in January Who is Marcus Thuram? Lilian’s son who is top of the Bundesliga with Borussia Monchengladbach Brazil, beware! Messi and Argentina out for revenge after Copa controversy Best player in MLS? Zlatan wasn’t even the best player in LA! The 32-year-old Koscielny will have to wait before he gets a chance to impress his new manager as the injury he suffered towards the end of last season will likely keep him out of action until the end of 2018.France international Koscielny still expects to play a role this season, but admits he may be coming to the end of his time in London as his contract enters its final two years.”I’m under contract until June 2020. Afterwards? I’m thinking of moving on, but I do not know where,” he told Nice-Matin. “This is not relevant anyway! I am in England, my family too. Then there will inevitably be a lot of question marks. “The bottom line is to have health. I learned to relativise because there are so many more serious things in life.”Koscielny has made over 320 appearances for Arsenal since joining in 2010, scoring 24 goals in all competitions.Emery’s team begin their Premier League campaign with a home game against reigning champions Manchester City on August 12.last_img read more