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El Salvador Police Launch Special Anti-Extortion Investigative Unit

first_img El Salvador has unveiled a new special police force to tackle extortion, said Julio César Marroquín, head of the Central Investigation Division of El Salvador’s National Civil Police. The unit, consisting of 1,200 police officers and 500 soldiers, will work undercover to gather intelligence and crack down on criminals as part of a larger government initiative, Marroquín told Diálogo on June 20. That initiative includes the creation of a new division within the Justice and Public Security Ministry to work specifically on fighting extortion. “The most important feature of this new group is that it will require coordination, at a national level, from all units enabled to fight against extortion — whether it is intelligence gathering or assistance from our armed forces,” Marroquín said. For years, El Salvador has ranked among the world’s most dangerous countries as measured by homicide rates — largely due to violence perpetrated by gangs or “maras” as they’re known in El Salvador. In March, the country’s two largest gangs — MS-13 and Barrio 18 — signed a truce. While government officials say violence has plummeted by nearly 50 percent, extortion remains a prevalent threat. So far this year, 954 extortions have been reported in El Salvador; this translates to just over five incidents per day in a country of 6.3 million inhabitants. Authorities say extortion is the main source of income for gangs in this country. New anti-extortion unit created On June 14, President Mauricio Funes established the Anti-Extortion Subdivision. Four days later, the new agency conducted its first two operations in one of El Salvador’s largest prisons, Penal La Esperanza, where they seized 60 mobile phones, 51 SIM cards and other wireless gadgets from inmates. Most of the extortion threats are made by phone and coming from prison, Marroquín said. “Inmates call certain numbers from their cells and threaten people that if they do not deliver a certain amount of money they, or one of their loves ones, will be hurt,” he explained. “Sometimes they threaten to hurt family members inside the same prison.” Even worse, he said, corrupt prison guards give inmates mobile phones and SIM cards brought in by visitors. “It could also mean there is a type of relationship between the guards and the inmates in some prisons, where the guards could be supplying them with the illicit technology,” Marroquín added. In a second operation that same day in downtown San Salvador, the new police force raided informal mobile phone operators and vendors. Five people were arrested and 100 mobile phone and accessories such as hands-free devices and SIM cards were confiscated. Extortion has been a particular problem in Soyapango, a commercial district in eastern San Salvador. Business owners have complained to local media that gangs are constantly demanding protection money. In one case in early May, a man was shot dead at the market. Police told reporters it was likely that gangs were looking to terrify merchants and set an example of what could happen if they didn’t pay up. Extortions down by 8-12% this year Before the formation of this new unit, the police tried to tackle the problem with smaller groups. Local anti-extortion teams, known in Spanish as Equipos Locales Anti-Extorsión, were scattered around the country, gathering information on such crimes. Under the new model, these teams have been reinforced with investigation and intelligence experts; soldiers will also be assigned to help out as necessary. “Those who were already working on this will be enabled even further, as members of now bigger, better equipped teams include investigators, intelligence analysts and public security officers,” Marroquín said. Authorities say extortions dropped by 8 to 12 percent in the first half of 2013, compared to the same period last year — but they expect this new police force to lower it even further. They add that a drop in extortion income should have no impact on last year’s gang truce. In Mexico, violent crime dropped in the first four months of this year by 3.2 percent, though kidnapping rose by 21 percent and extortion by 13 percent compared to the same period in 2012, according to data from Mexico’s National Public Security System. Mexico doesn’t have a specialized anti-extortion police unit, but El Salvador could serve as an example — as could similar units already operating in Honduras and Colombia. Are specialized police units the answer? There’s a possibility the Federal Police will take on fighting extortion as one of its main tasks,” said Elena Azaloa, an analyst at the Mexico City security think tank CIDE. “While it may be good to create specialized groups to tackle certain crimes, it’s important to remember that these generally encounter the same limitations that regular police already have.” Azaloa added that while such anti-extortion units are useful, “what is necessary are sweeping reforms within the police force, because without them, specialized groups are doomed to fail due to the same deficiencies and constraints facing the police in general.” Even within El Salvador, top security officials have expressed skepticism about merely using repressive tactics to fight extortion. David Munguia, the country’s former minister of justice and security, told the online newspaper ElSalvador.com that extortion is not only a way of life for gang members, but also the only source of income for them and their families. “The gangs have already said they are not going to stop extorting because they depend on that money to make a living, unless they are given a better choice, like a job; but we know that there is high unemployment here and this is the cost of it. We are fighting extortion by pure police repression, when in reality it also requires the cooperation of those being extorted — the victims — to have a proper investigation,” Munguia said. But authorities are set on going after extorters, regardless of where criminals turn for income, as their priority to guarantee people’s rights and safety. “As police officers we are working on fighting crime. It’s what the constitution demands of us and it’s why we exist,” Marroquín said. “In this case we are tackling the crime of extortion, but other police units are equally fighting to end robberies and human trafficking. Our job is to bring security to the people of El Salvador.” By Dialogo August 01, 2013last_img read more

Cisco Webex sees surge in users as companies operate remotely

first_imgTopics : “What we are doing now [is that] we want to help businesses in Indonesia, communities [and] the education sector with free services. Anyone can use Webex for free,” Cisco Systems Indonesia managing director Marian Kacaribu told reporters on March 26 via a video conference on the Webex platform.“We hope that it can help enterprises and the continuity of business so that it can minimize the impact [of the pandemic] on productivity and the economy,” she added, explaining that before the outbreak, the company had only offered a 40-minute limit to its free services.As of now, Cisco Systems Indonesia is offering a broad range of free services, including an unlimited number of meetings, capacity of up to 100 people in every meeting without a limit in duration, unlimited messaging, as well as access to Webex Teams, team collaboration services where users can conduct group chats, video calls, share documents and use collaboration tools such as the whiteboard feature.Marina said considering there had been a spike in usage, the company had made sure that its backend system could support the growing number of users and would continually adjust its capacity to enhance user experience. Web conferencing platform Cisco Webex has seen a surge in usage numbers as companies and education institutions around the world switch to working remotely and distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, the company’s data indicates.The company recorded 4 million meetings globally on March 18 alone, nearly double the number of meetings that took place on its platform before the outbreak. In the first 20 days of March, there had been an accumulated 7 billion minutes of meetings on Webex, with the duration of the meetings 22 percent longer than usual.The company also saw a drastic increase in users signing up on its platform. On March 16, the number of newly registered users reached 240,000. center_img Security is also an aspect the company prioritizes. Webex has installed a user verification system so that companies and other institutions can be certain that their virtual rooms can only be accessed by their employees or other designated members.For additional protection, the company is offering a 90-day trial for its Cisco Umbrella and Cisco AnyConnect, in which the former feature serves as the first line of defense against threats on the internet and the latter simplifies secure endpoint access. The offer will be available until July 1. In the education sector, Cisco Systems Indonesia has been collaborating with the Education and Culture Ministry to help support the ministry’s distance learning program. Other education institutions that were already on the platform, for example, Gadjah Mada University (UGM), have strengthened their coordination with the company to scale-up operations. Marina noted that UGM would conduct up to 8,000 online courses over Webex..last_img read more

US pollies eye porn-block on new computers

first_imgNews.com.au 21 December 2016Computers and devices sold in South Carolina that can access the internet would be required to have filters installed to prevent people from viewing pornography, although buyers could pay a $US20 ($A28) fee to remove the blocking software under a proposal before the legislature.The amendment would require manufacturers or sellers of computers and internet-accessible devices to install software that blocks pornography, according to a draft of the amendment filed with the South Carolina General Assembly on December 15.One of its sponsors said on Tuesday the amendment would help raise money for the state’s task force to combat human trafficking, adding that the measure would not restrict their legal liberties, indicating it would allow for viewing adult pornography.“This is a way to preserve freedom, not raise taxes and combat a serious problem all in one,” State Representative William “Bill” Chumley, a Republican, said in an interview.Buyers over 18 in South Carolina would have to pay a $US20 fee to have the block removed. Manufacturers or sellers would pay a $US20 opt-out fee for each computer or device sold so they didn’t have to install the blocking software, according to the proposed measure.The amendment did not address any technology challenges or whether the filter would be a barrier to interstate commerce for technology firms that sell their devices nationwide.READ MORE: http://www.news.com.au/world/breaking-news/us-pollies-eye-pornblock-on-new-computers/news-story/30469d7c13e508f8378b18311aa0434dKeep up with family issues in NZ. Receive our weekly emails direct to your Inbox.last_img read more

Minister holds inter-ministerial session for sports development

first_imgRelatedPosts Minister gives condition for resumption of contact sports Minister pledges support for development of AI, robotics in Nigeria NSF 2020: Sports minister raises fresh hope Determined to revamp the sports sector in the country, the Sports Minister, Sunday Dare, will on Thursday in Abuja hold an inter-ministerial technical session, tagged: “Positioning sports as an industry – From concept to action.”Other ministers expected at the brainstorming session, according to a statement by the Head, Corporate Communications, Nigeria Economic Summit Group, Yinka Iyinolakan, are the Minister of Education, Information and Culture, Women Affairs, Industry, Trade and Investment, Finance, Budget and National Planning, Youth and Sports Development, Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social development.The statement reads: “The goal of the Inter-Ministerial Technical Session, is to develop a pathway for constant dialogue and engagement between the private and public sectors to chart a sustainable course for  unlocking the potentials of the Sports Industry and enabling the development of the whole gamut of the value chain of sports.“Through this pathway, it is expected that the reform of the Sports Industry will contribute to the socio-economic indices of the Nigerian economy by increasing participation in sport, enabling the  creation of jobs, promoting  greater employment of youth,generating revenues from sport-related activities and targeting a GDP contribution of 2-3% to the Nigerian Economy within 5-10 years.  “The outcome of the Inter-Ministerial Technical Session and the proceedings of the breakout sessions will form an integral part of the ongoing reform process towards a new National Sports  Industry Policy that will accommodate objectives  of all stakeholders in the public, social enterprise and private sectors for a vibrant sport industry, capable of contributing to the growth of the socio-economic indices of the Nigeria Economy.”The Inter-Ministerial Technical Session is jointly hosted by the Ministry and the Nigerian Economic Summit Group.Tags: sports developmentSunday DareYinka Iyinolakanlast_img read more