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Burma fishermen 'faint' after mistaking $20 million of floating crystal meth for natural deodorant -

Burma fishermen 'faint' after mistaking $20 million of floating crystal meth for natural deodorantSacks of crystal meth scooped from the sea by Burmese fishermen who mistook it for a deodorant substance had a street value of $20 million (£15.4m), an official said on Sunday, in a country believed to be the world's largest methamphetamine producer. The accidental drug haul off Burma's coastal Ayeyarwady region occurred when fishermen spotted a total of 23 sacks floating in the Andaman Sea on Wednesday. Each one contained plastic-wrapped bags labelled as Chinese green tea - packaging commonly used by Southeast Asian crime gangs to smuggle crystal meth to far-flung destinations including Japan, South Korea and Australia. Locals were mystified by the crystallised substance in the sacks, Zaw Win, a local official of the National League for Democracy party who assisted the fishermen and police, told AFP. At first, they assumed it was a natural deodorant chemical known as potassium alum, which is widely used in Burma. "So they burned it, and some of them almost fainted," he said. They informed the police, who on Thursday combed a beach and found an additional two sacks of the same substance - bringing the total to 691 kilogrammes (1,500 pounds) which would be worth about $20.2 million (£15.6m), Zaw Win said. "In my entire life and my parents' lifetime, we have never seen drugs floating in the ocean before," he said. The massive haul was sent on Sunday to Pyapon district police, who declined to comment on it. Burma's multi-billion-dollar drug industry is centred in eastern Shan state, whose poppy-covered hills are ideal cover for illicit production labs. Made-in-Burma crystal meth - better known as ice - is smuggled out of the country to more lucrative markets using routes carved out by narco gangs through Laos, Thailand and Cambodia. A study by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime says that Southeast Asia's crime groups are netting more than $60 billion a year - a conservative estimate, according to experts - thanks to a sophisticated smuggling and money-laundering operation. In March, Burma authorities seized more than 1,700 kilogrammes of crystal meth worth nearly $29 million, which police said at the time was their biggest drug haul this year.


Sun, 20 Oct 2019 10:18:41 -0400

Environmentalist Greens gain as Swiss elect parliament - projection -

Environmentalist Greens gain as Swiss elect parliament - projectionThe far-right Swiss People's Party was on track to remain in first place in a parliamentary election in Switzerland on Sunday although a strong showing by the environmentalist Greens could dilute the centre-right's grip on power, an initial projection for broadcaster SRF showed. The Greens were expected to finish in fourth place but that could vault them and allies into the mix for a seat in the grand coalition that has governed for decades.


Sun, 20 Oct 2019 10:16:59 -0400

'I never saw that': Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Mulvaney quid pro quo admission -

'I never saw that': Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Mulvaney quid pro quo admissionSecretary of State Mike Pompeo said he never saw the kind of quid pro quo that acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney referred to on Thursday with regard to the decision-making process he was involved in. "The conversation was always around what were the strategic implications," Pompeo said on ABC's "This Week" on Sunday.


Sun, 20 Oct 2019 10:10:00 -0400

At home of Mona Lisa, a retrospective on da Vinci's life and work -

At home of Mona Lisa, a retrospective on da Vinci's life and workFrance's Louvre museum, home to Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa, is putting the final touches to one of the biggest ever exhibitions of the Italian master's work with the presence of the world's most expensive painting agonisingly unresolved. The Louvre has assembled more than 160 paintings, sculptures, letters and drawings from the Renaissance era in an exhibition to mark the 500th anniversary of the Italian master's death. Whether Salvator Mundi, a painting attributed to da Vinci and sold by auctioneers Christie’s in 2017 for $450 million, and believed by many art experts to be in the Gulf, will be part of the show remains to be seen.


Sun, 20 Oct 2019 10:00:00 -0400

Man missing after falling into sinkhole and getting swept away in drain pipes -

Man missing after falling into sinkhole and getting swept away in drain pipesCrews from the Phoenix Fire Department have returned from helping local authorities search for a man who fell into a sinkhole and was swept away in a storm drain. The incident happened last Monday when a large sinkhole opened up in Hermosillo, Mexico, and the man was swallowed up by it and carried away by the underground water currents. Phoenix, a sister city to Hermosillo, sent technical advisers from the Phoenix Fire Department to help with the rescue operation on Friday morning, according to ABC Phoenix affiliate station KNXV.


Sun, 20 Oct 2019 09:57:00 -0400


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