By Kay Valle/Diálogo February 21, 2017 Honduras has a strong commitment to reducing the flow of narcotics and the start of the new year brings continuity to this goal. In January, the Inter-institutional Security Force (FUSINA, per its Spanish acronym) disabled three landing strips used by criminal structures. Located in remote areas and with little infrastructure, these Clandestine Landing Areas (ACAs, per their Spanish acronym) are equipped by organized crime to receive drugs by air, Lieutenant Colonel Santos Nolasco, FUSINA spokesperson, reported. “In the first few days of operations in 2017, FUSINA disabled three ACAs, one located in the village of Tapón de Oro, another in the municipality of Baracoa, and the third in the municipality of Brus Laguna, all of which are in the country’s Atlantic region.” Edgardo Mejía, security analyst and professor at the Honduran National Police University, believes that destroying these types of airstrips shows FUSINA’s commitment to confront those who collaborate with organized crime. “The destruction of these areas is a clear demonstration of the operational readiness of Honduran law enforcement, and it evidences the government’s commitment to go against the actions of international drug traffickers and organized crime,” he said. “The results can be measured by the number of drug seizures, the assets confiscated, the number of people arrested for illicit activity, and other meaningful actions against these activities.” Authorities disabled 54 ACAs in 2014; 60 in 2015; 26 in 2016; and three so far in 2017. During FUSINA’s three years of operation, military members also confiscated more than15,000 kilos of cocaine, almost 132,000 pounds of marijuana, and more than $15 million in cash. Technology and strategies For FUSINA, destroying the ACAs means decreasing the chance of drugs entering Honduran territory by air, according to Lt. Col. Nolasco. “The majority of these landing strips are built in areas that have a flat topography and that are isolated from population centers. They vary in size, from 15 meters wide and 1,000 meters long to 20 meters wide and two kilometers long. In order to destroy a landing area, we detonate up to six charges, which create craters that are five meters deep,” Lt. Col. Nolasco explained. Because of the geographic characteristics of ACAs, criminal groups that transport drugs prefer using single-seat airplanes. This type of aircraft can be easily acquired. It is made from ultra-light, inexpensive materials, and has a carrying capacity of up to 250 kilos. Lt. Col. Nolasco clarified that once FUSINA law enforcement officers disable an airstrip, surveillance teams permanently monitor the area so that criminals cannot rebuild it. “When they are in remote areas, the surveillance is done through technology,” he said. According to Mejía, the government is combating a criminal platform that has enormous financial and logistical resources with a clear focus on saturating the country with drugs. “In confronting this problem, with this disparity of resources, the government is showing its enormous political and institutional will to get positive results in the fight against drug trafficking.” Preventive actions Lt. Col. Nolasco told Diálogo that the flow of drugs into Northern Triangle countries decreased significantly after Honduras set up land, air, and maritime shields within the framework of Operation Morazán. In addition to locating small aircraft, FUSINA stopped other forms of transport. “We found drugs on mini-submarines, hidden among the cargo on large vessels, transported by people in small quantities, inside live animals like cattle, in automobiles, and the most unusual, in pots of honey which had a false bottom full of cocaine. This seizure took place at the border with Guatemala,” Lt. Col. Nolasco said. In Mejía’s opinion, the authorities are going to use extraordinary measures to enhance prevention. “As a first step, we should implement a strategy at the judicial level that will allow the government to commandeer these areas that are used as clandestine airstrips. The second step is to build military and police barracks on this repossessed land. As a third step, establishing permanent operations to create an exclusion zone in Gracias a Dios, Guanaja, and Trujillo,” he said. Destroying ACAs is a permanent mission since criminality is a constant threat for Honduras, said Lt. Col. Nolasco. “Success is rooted in the joint work of partner nations and institutions.” The state’s policies reflected in FUSINA allow for resources to be optimized and for help to be received from partner nations. “U.S. Southern Command is one of our main allies in the fight against drug trafficking,” Lt. Col. Nolasco concluded.
Image courtesy of Petronet LNGImports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) into India soared during the month of February. Data from the oil ministry’s Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC) shows that 3.45 billion cubic meters of LNG have been imported into India during the month under review 67.7 percent up when compared to February 2019.PPAC noted that the cumulative imports for the period of April 2019 to February 2020 reached 30.81 billion cubic meters, 16.9 percent higher when compared to the corresponding period last year.The cost of LNG imports for the month of February 2020 edged up to $0.8 billion from $0.7 billion in February 2019, while the cost of imports in the April 2019-February 2020 period reached $8.8 billion, dropping from $9.5 billion reported in the corresponding period last year.Ministry’s data shows that Petronet LNG’s Dahej terminal continues to operate above full capacity utilization. Namely, the terminal operated at 104.2 percent capacity utilization during the fiscal year so far with the Hazira LNG terminal operating at 98 percent capacity utilization.Dabhol LNG terminal operated at 22.3 percent capacity while Kochi and Ennore LNG terminals operated at 16.3 and 8.1 percent utilization capacity, respectively.
With the tie finely balanced at 1-1 following the first leg in Spain, United struck first through an own goal by Sergio Ramos early in the second half but the game turned on its head after Nani was sent-off in the 56th minute for a high boot in a challenge with Alvaro Arbeloa.Real Madrid used their man advantage and sealed the aggregate victory with two goals in three minutes. Substitute Luka Modric equalised with a stunning strike from 25 yards before Ronaldo slid in at the far post to break the hearts of supporters who gave him a hero’s reception before kick-off.The result completes a wonderful week for the Spanish giants following two wins over bitter rivals Barcelona and the visiting fans saluted coach Jose Mourinho as they target an historic 10th European crown.Ronaldo had a relatively quiet game on his first return to Old Trafford since his £80m transfer in 2009 but the script was always written for the Portuguese forward to have the final say.He may not have done so were it not for referee Cuneyt Cakir, who infuriated United with his decision to show a red card to Nani. The United winger appeared to be challenging for the ball and certainly meant no harm to Arbeloa, but the consequence of his dismissal was that the home side’s gameplan, which had worked so well to that point, was ruined.Sir Alex Ferguson made a hugely bold decision of only naming Wayne Rooney as a substitute for United, with Ryan Giggs making his 1000th career appearance in central midfield in the absence of Phil Jones with an ankle injury. Nemanja Vidic returned at centre-back in place of Jonny Evans after the United captain missed the first leg. There were no such surprises in the Real Madrid line-up, with Gonzalo Higuain selected ahead of Karim Benzema to lead the attack as Jose Mourinho returned to his first choice starting XI having rested a number of players in the 2-1 win over Barcelona on Saturday.Mourinho claimed this clash between two of the biggest clubs in the Europe would “stop the world” and stars past and present were in attendance at Old Trafford for this showpiece occasion, from Diego Maradona to Gareth Bale.Ferguson called on the crowd to “turn up the volume” in his pre-match programme notes and Old Trafford was a cauldron of noise at the teams made their way out of the tunnel at the Stretford End, with the home fans unveiling a mosaic in support of their team.As the team line-ups were read out, Ronaldo’s name was greeted with an enormous roar from all sides of the stadium, the former United man looking choked as he patted his chest and raised an arm to acknowledge the reception.Ferguson predicted an attacking game but set out to stifle Real and counter-attack, with his plan working almost perfectly in the first half as they restricted the visitors and came closest to opening the scoring. United captain Vidic thought he had scored in the 21st minute but his thumping header from Giggs’ corner rattled against the post before Danny Welbeck, admittedly in an offside position, mishit the rebound straight at Real goalkeeper Diego Lopez.In the 34th minute, Lopez was again forced in to action as he made a hash of his attempt to save Robin van Persie’s shot from a tight angle and had to react quickly to deflect Welbeck’s rebound over the crossbar with his shoulder.But the hosts had to wait less than three minutes after the break to take the lead.After Madrid defenders blocked two United shots in the penalty area, the ball landed at Nani’s feet on the left. The Portuguese winger played the ball into the box and, after the faintest touch off Welbeck, Ramos could only turn it into his own net.The turning point, however, came in the 56th minute when Nani was shown a straight red card by Turkish referee Cakir for a high foot in a 50-50 challenge with Arbeloa. On first viewing, it looked a harsh decision and it certainly left Ferguson and the United players fuming with the officials. Mourinho responded to the man advantage by bringing on Modric for Arbeloa and the former Tottenham midfielder levelled the score in the 66th minute. After picking the ball up 30 yards from goal, Modric breezed past Tom Cleverley and struck a thunderous effort in off the post from 25 yards.Three minutes later, Real Madrid took the lead for the first time in the tie. Higuain fizzed a low cross along the six-yard box and Ronaldo used all of his predatory instincts to slide in at the far post and end United’s European campaign.