By Dialogo February 20, 2009 The level of violence related to drug trafficking and drug abuse has continued to rise in Latin America, despite all government efforts to combat it, According to an annual report published in Vienna by the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), no countries in the region are free of drug problems, even though there are prominent differences related to production, commerce, and consumption. In this report, the Andean countries of Colombia, Bolivia, and Peru are still considered the main producers of coca crops and cocaine, which is sold mainly to the United States and Europe by land, air, and sea routes through Central America, and increasingly through Africa. The report states that, in the three Latin American countries, the total area used for illegal coca crops rose 16%, up to 181,600 hectares, in comparison to 2007. Only in Colombia, which is still the main cocaine supplier, the area used for illegal crops reached 99,000 hectares, up 27% from 2006. The INCB, an autonomous entity of the UN, emphasizes in this document the increasing professionalization of South America’s drug trafficking networks. These networks have established a system of cooperation between some operations, which “employ specialists” as chemists, ship captains, pilots, and financial analysts for the diverse activities that their criminal business requires. In Central American countries, which mainly serve as drug routes from south to north, the principal concern is the involvement of criminal organizations called “maras” or street gangs. “About 5,000 gangs from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras work in Mexico,” composed of young people recruited by drug dealers based in Mexico, the report states. The INCB also warns that “the increase in deportations from the United States during the last three years has forced many gang members to return to their countries.” Consequently, 75% of Central American gangs maintain relations with other criminal groups in the United States, which strengthens international criminal associations. “Corruption, a judicial system short on resources, a lack of public trust, and weak acts of the law” are factors that still hinder the struggle against drugs in the countries of this region. On the other hand, in Mexico “drug cartels have responded with unprecedented violence” to the authorities’ efforts in combating them, and the number of police officers assassinated has doubled in 2007 and 2008. As regards consumption, the first comparative study on the use of illegal drugs in six countries in South America named Argentina as the main cocaine consumer, followed by Uruguay, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador. Argentina also has the highest number of young consumers, since 25% of them are under 16 years old. Another concern is that posed by “date rape drugs,” substances that criminals give their victims to enable them to commit various offences.
BOONE, Iowa – There will be plenty to see, do and enjoy on the Boone Speedway grounds even before opening night of the 33rd annual IMCA Speedway Motors Super Nationals fueled by Casey’s.The tech inspection process introduced and well-received last year will be continued.Beginning at 9 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 6, Hobby Stock and Northern SportMod drivers are encouraged to go to the lineup board behind the pitside grandstand and get their inspection sheets and cards as soon as they arrive with their race car.Drivers will be called over the PA system for staging and then sent to the inspection area in groups of 20.Pre-tech only for Hobby Stocks and Northern SportMods, the two divisions that begin qualifying on Labor Day, runs from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. The $10 pit pass fee will be refunded to everyone who exits the pit area by 4:30 p.m.An open practice session for all divisions is from 5-7 p.m. and has a $10 admission for those who did not purchase a pit pass.Once practice is complete, there will be no free admission to the pit area. The traditional pre-Super Nationals tailgate party follows, with complimentary chili and beverages and a return engagement by the Cedar Rapids, Iowa-based rock band Helforstout, which plays from 8 p.m.-midnight.Season championship night at Boone is Aug. 29 and all licensed Modified, Stock Car, Northern SportMod and Hobby Stock drivers are invited to compete in the Saturday, Sept. 5 draw/redraw open show.IMCA Speedway Motors Weekly Racing National and Allstar Performance State points will be awarded in all divisions. Belleville Motorsports North Central Region points go to the Modifeds, EQ Cylinder Heads Northern Region points to the Stock Cars and Big Daddy Race Cars Northern Region points to the Hobby Stocks.
Manager Pellegrini admitted he must trim his squad before adding any further recruits, as City fight to comply with Financial Fair Play constraints. Porto capture Eliaquim Mangala could be City’s final summer signing unless the club can offload Sinclair and Guidetti, Pellegrini conceded. Manchester City have “too many players” and could allow John Guidetti and Scott Sinclair to leave before the end of the transfer window, according to Manuel Pellegrini. “It’s not finished, until the last day we can do different things,” said Pellegrini at the Premier League launch. “But if you ask me at this moment if I am happy with the squad, yes I am very happy with my squad. “We had a lot of problems also with Financial Fair Play with the restriction of the amount of players we can put in our squad. “So maybe I don’t think that we are going to sign another player because we cannot do it. “We have maybe too many players in the squad at this moment, players that need to play, that’s very important, especially for young players. “John Guidetti or maybe Scott Sinclair, they may need to play in a different team, so we’ll see from now until the end of the transfer window what happens with our squad. “But at this moment, yes we have too many players.” Pellegrini has added Bacary Sagna, Fernando, Willy Caballero, Frank Lampard and Bruno Zuculini to the champions’ squad, along with Mangala this summer. City expect to stay within the £49million spending limit imposed by UEFA for last term’s FFP breaches, while Pellegrini is also mindful of sticking to the reduced 21-man squad cap. Feyenoord are understood to be keen on completing a permanent deal for 22-year-old Sweden forward Guidetti, who enjoyed a loan stint with the Dutch club in 2011-12. Sinclair joined Manchester City from Swansea in 2012, but has made just three starts in his two years at the Etihad Stadium. The 25-year-old admitted after Sunday’s 3-0 Community Shield defeat to Arsenal that he would seek a move if he cannot secure regular first-team football. Refusing to prioritise the Champions League this term, Pellegrini said City cannot use FFP constraints as an excuse. “It’s easy to give excuses, but I don’t like to do that,” he said. “I’ll always field the strongest team and we want to win every time we play, and in every competition. “You don’t have five or six teams in any other major league where any one of them can win the title. “So the Premier League is still the most important league, and it’s important for us also.” City start the defence of their Premier League title by facing Newcastle at St James’ Park on Sunday. Pellegrini admitted he is yet to rule on whether to restore Joe Hart to his line-up after omitting the England goalkeeper from the Community Shield starting team. Argentinian keeper Caballero made his club debut in the Arsenal defeat at Wembley, after his summer move from Malaga. The City manager defended his rotation policy, claiming he has his players’ best interest in mind rather than sheer ruthlessness. “The best way to have high performance is to have two competitive players in each position,” said Pellegrini. “Nobody must be afraid of that: Joe Hart had a very good second part of the season last year. “He’s the best goalkeeper in England, but of course when he didn’t play well last year we played (Costel) Pantilimon. “It’s impossible for a player to play 60 games in a year, to play 18 games during December and January as we did last season. “It is sure that that player would be injured if that happened, so that’s why it’s so important to have two quality players in each position. “I always decide the best team for each game, this week the same, and on Monday we will review Newcastle and start that process again.” Press Association