Mexico Extradites Top Drug Lord ‘El Chapo’ To U.S. (Video) |The Republican News


CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico (Reuters) – Mexico extradited top drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman to New York on Thursday, ending a career that included two jail breaks and a leading role in a national drug war, the day before Donald Trump assumes the U.S. presidency.

Guzman, 59, was one of the world’s most wanted drug kingpins until he was captured in January 2016. Six months earlier, he had broken out of a high-security penitentiary in central Mexico through a mile-long tunnel, his second dramatic prison escape.

“The government … today handed Mr Guzman Loera to the U.S. authorities,” the foreign ministry said in a statement, referring to a court decision on Thursday rejecting a legal challenge by his lawyers against extradition.

Guzman is charged in six separate indictments throughout the United States. He faces charges ranging from money laundering to drug trafficking, kidnapping and murder in cities that include Chicago, Miami and New York.

His career began in the opium and cannabis farming hills of the northern state of Sinaloa but he grew to oversee perhaps the world’s largest transnational cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine smuggling organization.

Guzman’s career was violent and his ambition to control more trafficking routes was a key dynamic in Mexico’s decade-long drug war from which his organization emerged mostly victorious.

Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is escorted by soldiers during a presentation in Mexico City, January 8, 2016. REUTERS/Tomas Bravo/File Photo Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman is escorted by soldiers during a presentation in Mexico City, January 8, 2016. REUTERS/Tomas Bravo/File Photo  

The U.S. Justice Department thanked Mexico for “extensive cooperation and assistance in securing the extradition of Guzman Loera to the United States.”

Juan Pablo Badillo, a lawyer for the smuggler, said he was surprised at the extradition and said four appeals were outstanding against Guzman’s extradition.

“The transfer is not in line with the law,” Badillo said.

Guzman departed Ciudad Juarez to New York at 3.15 pm local time, one U.S. official said. The Mexican court system said in a statement Guzman would be tried in Texas and California.

It was not immediately clear if the timing of the move was an olive branch to Trump or a last-minute gift to outgoing U.S. President Barack Obama.

Trump has regularly insulted Mexico and threatened to tear up the NAFTA trade agreement that underpins its economy.

“This was a surprise for us. They are trying to placate Trump,” said a Mexican law enforcement official who asked not to be named.

Another Mexican official said the timing was firstly in recognition of Obama’s efforts to work with Mexico on Guzman, but also to show good will to Trump in sending a source of such valuable information on the criminal underworld to the United States, a Mexican official said.

Mexico is expecting to have to negotiate hard to limit the economic pain of Trump’s protectionist policies, and is sending its foreign minister to meet his aides next week.

Guzman was being held in a prison in the infamously violent border city of Juarez in the northern state of Chihuahua where his Sinaloa cartel beat the rival Juarez cartel into submission.

His lawyers had sought to block his extradition to the United States.

“It’s a good thing to finally get him to the U.S. side,” said a senior U.S. law enforcement official based in Mexico.

He said he did not think Mexico put “a whole lot of thought” into the timing of the extradition, that comes the day before Trump’s inauguration, “but it certainly isn’t a bad thing.”

(Reporting by Jose Luis Gonzalez in Ciudad Juarez and Mexico City bureau; Writing by Frank Jack Danie; Editing by James Dalgleish) 


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Miguel Ferrer Dies: ‘NCIS: Los Angeles’, ‘Crossing Jordan’ Satr Was 61 |The Republican News


Erik Pedersen
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© Provided by Deadline  

Miguel Ferrer, who had played Owen Granger on NCIS: Los Angeles since 2012 and co-starred with Jill Hennessy on CBS’ Crossing Jordan, died today of cancer. He was 61.

The son of late actor Jose Ferrer, he also was to reprise his role as FBI Agent Albert Rosenfeld on David Lynch’s revival Twin Peaks on Showtime.

Ferrer launched his career in the early 1980s with small guest shots on such series as Magnum, P.I., CHiPS and Cagney & Lacey and features including Heartbreaker, The Man Who Wasn’t There and Star Trek: III: The Search for Spock. He would go on to focus mostly on TV throughout that decade before landing the Twin Peaks role in 1990.

The Santa Monica native toplined the short-lived Stephen J. Cannell-creator cop drama Broken Badges in 1991 and also starred in Lynch’s 1950s romp On the Air the following year. He appeared in a number of features during the 1990s but continued to star on short-run TV series including Fallen Angels and Al Franken’s LateLine.

In 2001, Ferrer landed a role in the NBC drama Crossing Jordan, starring opposite Hennessy’s Boston medical examiner. The show was among the top 20 in the year-end ratings for 2001-02 and remained on the air until 2007.

After that series wrapped, Ferrer starred opposite Michelle Ryan in Bionic Woman, which lasted nine episodes, co-starred with Ally Walker and Tisha Campbell-Martin in the LAPD drama The Protector in 2011. But his next role would be his biggest.

In 2012, Ferrer joined the cast of CBS’ popular spinoff NCIS: Los Angeles, opposite Chris O’Donnell, LL Cool J, Linda Hunt and others. He came in early on as the assistant director of NCIS and at first was a hard-as-nails unpleasant sort to the team. But during the course of the ensuing seasons, his Owen Granger warmed up to them and became a friend. There has been an ongoing mole-hunt storyline in the current eighth season of NCIS: LA, and Granger was stabbed while in police custody in the most recent episode that aired Sunday.


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Nigeria May Devalue Naira This Year To Deal With Exchange Rate Gap |The Republican News

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Nigeria will devalue its currency, the naira, later this year in an effort to improve liquidity and close the gap between the official and exchange parallel markets, a Reuters poll has shown.

That expectation by seven of the nine economists polled this week comes even though Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Godwin Emefiele has said he would not devalue the naira.

Read also: Economy: Nigeria Heading From Recession Into Depression, Warns Expert |The Republican news

An analyst and investor at Rich Management in Nairobi. Aly-Khan Satchu, said: “The possibility of a devaluation is certain; the question is the timing. They are eventually going to capitulate at some point this year, a similar scenario to Egypt at the end of last year – a big devaluation in the official rate.

“Nigeria stubbornly held on to an official peg of 197 naira to the dollar for 16 months, until June of last year, hurting the economy. It subsequently floated the currency but maintained some measures to prevent further weakening. The naira currently trades at 305 per dollar. Dollar shortages meant the currency fell to close to 500 against the dollar last week on the unapproved open retail market.”

Satchu said keeping the currency artificially high is effectively stalling the economy and making investment difficult.

The CBN is expected to leave its benchmark interest rate unchanged on Tuesday, and for the rest of the year, at 14 per cent to halt rising inflation and support growth, the wider poll of 12 economists also found. After the apex bank added 300 basis points to borrowing costs last year to try and tame soaring prices, all 11 analysts surveyed said they expected it to keep its benchmark rate on hold next week. Inflation was uncomfortably high at 18.55 per cent in December, its highest in more than 11 years and the 11th straight monthly rise.

Galloping inflation comes as Africa’s largest economy grapples with its first recession in 25 years, largely caused by the decline in global oil prices since 2014. Crude oil sales account for 70 per cent of government revenue. Inflation is expected to average 15.2 per cent this year and slow to 11.0 per cent in 2018.

Read also: Economic Recession: Nigeria Economy May Grow By 1% In 2017, Says World Bank |The Republican News

Cobus de Hart of NKC African Economists in a client note, said:“High inflation, however, remains the main stumbling block at this stage, but the CBN may become more willing to gradually loosen its grip on the naira as inflationary pressures start to ease somewhat this year.”

The economy is expected to grow 1.5 per cent this year and 2.9 per cent next, although the most bearish analyst said it is possible the economy will contract 1.5 per cent this year. (The Nation)

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El-Zakzaky Still In Detention For Public Safety, Security Implications~Presidency


The Presidency yesterday said the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, is still being detained for public interest and security implications.

The government said it was keeping the IMN leader in line with its obligations as enshrined in Section 14 (2) (b) of the 1999 Constitution.

But it, the government added that the spiritual leader’s wife, Malama Zeenatu Ibraheem, was free to go home because she had no case to answer.

Read also: Court Orders Release Of El-Zakzaky, Wife, Awards N50m Damages |The Republican News

A top Presidency source spoke in an interview with reporters in Abuja against the backdrop of pressure on the government to obey court orders on the release of El-Zakzaky.

The official, who craved anonymity, said the “major constitutional policy objective of government as stated in section 14 (2) (b) is public and not individual security”.

The source said: “The issue of the release of Zakzaky is not exclusively legal. It has security and public interest as against individual interest undertones.

“Public interest and national security implications must be factored into consideration in line with international practices that conventionally place national security and public interest above any other individual claim of right.

“The Federal Government is looking into the case with the public and security interest dimensions being put into consideration.”

The source, however, said the wife of El-Zakzaky was free to go home because she has never had a case to answer.

Read also: United States Tells FG To Account For 300 Shiites Members Killed Last Year |The Republican News

The source claimed the IMN leader’s wife was “not of any security interest and therefore was merely keeping her husband company in the apartment in which he is kept”.

The source added: “She is not under detention. If it is her wish, that of her husband or of the IMN, she will be allowed to go home in a matter of hours.

“El-Zakzaky’s spouse was picked up by the Department of Security Service (DSS) beside her husband with bullet wounds following IMN’s encounter with the army.

“They took her along with the husband, treated her wounds and allowed her to care for her husband.

“Upon his request on an occasion, the children joined them during Ramadan. That is what happened.”

The IMN, on Wednesday, made seven demands for the release of El Zakzaky.

At a briefing, Sheikh Abdulhamid Bello, head of the Shuhadah (Martyrs) Foundation, IMN, tabled the demands, among others:

“We demand and insist that the Federal government unconditionally and in accordance with the procedures laid down in the judgment of the Federal High Court delivered on December 2, 2016.

Read also: Shiites As Dangerous As Boko Haram, Says El Zakzaky’s Senior Brother |The Republican News

“The Federal Government and its agencies must obey the orders of the Federal High Court Abuja, as they have a responsibility to show good example to the people of Nigeria as a regime that believes in the rule of law and due process. Serial disobedience to court orders and contempt for the fundamental rights of citizens to freedom of religion does not portray our country as one that is ready to manage its religious diversity in a way that strengthens the federation.

“The IMN demands that the government desists from trying to infiltrate the movement using fifth columnists and agent provocateurs. The IMN does not believe in violence or the use of violence to achieve its objectives.

“The Federal Government and the Kaduna State government have been and continue to engage in provocative acts aimed at inciting the movement to take to the path of violence in vain. The IMN assures the Nigerian public that any act of violence attributed to it can only emanate from agent provocateurs being injected into the movement by state agents.

“The IMN thanks the human rights community and professional groups and organisations for their support in this matter thus far and urges them to persuade the government to release our leader and his wife and withdraw all trumped up charges against members of our movement.

”We urge the international community to persuade the government to obey the orders of court and to release our leader unconditionally.

“We also appeal to the international community to commit Nigeria to upholding religious rights and freedoms, failing which the Nigerian government and its agents be isolated and sanctioned.

“We appeal to all Nigerians to prevail on the government to release our leader to seek medical attention to the challenges of his sight.”   (The Nation)

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UPDATE: Police Arrest PREMIUM TIMES Publisher, Journalist |The Republican News

Our Reporter

Police arrest Premium Times publisher


THE police yesterday raided Premium Times head office in Abuja and arrested the online newspaper’s publisher Mr. Dapo Olurunyomi.

A statement by the organisation said its judiciary correspondent, Evelyn Okakwu, was also whisked away.

It said: “Plain-clothed officers conducted search at the office shortly after 5p.m. Thursday, and said they were acting on a complaint filed by the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai.

Read more: BREAKING: Police Storms PREMIUM TIMES Head Office; Arrest Publisher, Journalist

“The arrests came days after Premium Times turned down the army’s demand to retract news stories about the Nigerian Army and its operations.”

Editor-in-Chief Musikilu Mojeed said: “They should stop deluding themselves that they can muzzle the press and intimidate Premium Times.

“They should know that our loyalty lies with our readers and the Nigerian people, who have a right to know.

“The paper will continue to discharge its responsibilities in line with global best practices, social responsibility and patriotism, even at great risk to our personal liberties.”


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BREAKING: Police Storms PREMIUM TIMES Head Office; Arrest Publisher, Journalist

BREAKING: Police storms PREMIUM TIMES head office; arrest publisher, journalist

The Nigeria police have raided PREMIUM TIMES head office in Abuja, and arrested the newspaper’s publisher.
The publisher, Dapo Olorunyomi, was arrested alongside the paper’s judiciary correspondent, Evelyn Okakwu.
Plain-clothed officers conducted search at the office shortly after 5p.m. Thursday, and said they were acting on a complaint filed by the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai.
The arrests came days after PREMIUM TIMES turned down the army’s demand to retract news stories about the Nigerian Army and its operations.
The paper’s Editor-in-Chief, Musikilu Mojeed, condemned the raid.
“They should stop deluding themselves that they can muzzle the press and intimidate PREMIUM TIMES,” said Mr. Mojeed. “They should know that our loyalty lies with our readers and the Nigerian people who have a right to know.”
He said the paper will continue “to discharge its responsibilities in line with global best practices, social responsibility and patriotism, even at great risk to our personal liberties”.

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This is What Donald Trump Will Do Starting On Day One |The Republican News


By Anita Kumar
President-elect Donald Trump arrives for a news conference on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017, at Trump Tower in New York.© Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times/TNS President-elect Donald Trump arrives for a news conference on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017, at Trump Tower in New York.

WASHINGTON — Donald Trump will begin his presidency with a flurry of executive orders on illegal immigration, the environment and ethics as he works quickly to try to make good on campaign promises and dismantle his predecessor’s legacy.

But he will leave the bulk of his significant actions until Monday — the first full business day following his inauguration Friday — as he kicks off a week in which he is expected to confer with Republican lawmakers, swear in new Cabinet secretaries and talk with foreign leaders.

“I’d say to America, ‘Buckle your seat belt.’ This is going to be a very quick start out of the gate,” said Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., a member of Trump’s transition team. “It’s going to be fast-paced. Mr. Trump is not someone to dillydally.”

Staff from his legislative and policy teams, as well as his counselor’s office, were meeting this week to determine which issues to introduce Friday and next week, transition spokesman Sean Spicer said.

Trump made many grandiose promises during the campaign of what he wanted to accomplish immediately upon taking office. But after the election he streamlined his list and members of his transition team say he is working to deliver on:

—Withdrawing from the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.

—Canceling restrictions on energy production, including shale energy and clean coal.

—Altering visa programs.

—Restricting members of his administration from becoming lobbyists for five years after they leave government and banning them from lobbying foreign governments.

He also is likely to sign an executive order banning funding to international family planning groups that provide abortions. It was implemented by President Ronald Reagan, rescinded by Bill Clinton, restored by George W. Bush and rescinded again by Barack Obama.

Trump is expected to spend much of the weekend celebrating with his family, including with his wife, Melania, and their 10-year-old son, Barron, before those family members return to New York, where they plan to live until the summer. Other members of his family, including his adult children, Ivanka, Don, Eric and Tiffany, are also expected to be at the White House.

The Trumps will attend the traditional swearing-in, parades and balls Friday as well a prayer service Saturday morning at the Washington National Cathedral.

“He is going to make Monday of next week Day One. … It’s going to let the inaugural and the lunch and the parade, all the swearing in and inaugural activities play out Friday and Saturday “ said Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., a vice chair of Trump’s transition team. “And then be ready Monday morning to start with rolling back some of the executive orders.”

Trump expects to sign four or five executive orders Friday and more throughout next week. He will continue to name ambassadors and assistant and deputy secretaries. He had hoped to swear in new Cabinet members on his first day, though he’s unlikely to have more than a handful confirmed by the Senate by then.

Ken Duberstein, Reagan’s chief of staff in his second term, said the first few days in the White House were “always a whirlwind” and that much of what a president was doing was behind the scenes, including hiring and meeting new staff. “It’s a fresh start, a clean slate,” he said. “You have to start filling up your teams.”

Trump said recently that he would nominate a Supreme Court justice within the first two weeks of taking office, saying he has already spoken with several candidates from his initial list of 21 possible nominees that he released during the presidential campaign. Transition officials say the announcement may come in the third week.

Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence will meet with House and Senate Republicans late next week at a retreat in Philadelphia to talk about legislation, particularly how to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law, which would take congressional approval.

Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., a member of Trump’s team, said he wanted Trump to start working with Congress right away on delaying Obama administration rules on overtime pay and retirement investment advisers that he said could hurt working Americans. He also wants Trump to craft a replacement for the Affordable Care Act, make changes to the tax code and improve K-12 education.

Presidents traditionally sign some executive orders on Inauguration Day, though they don’t always come to fruition. Obama, for example, signed one that required the closure of the Guantanamo Bay prison. White House press secretary Josh Earnest acknowledged this week for the first time that Obama would not succeed in that goal.

Others are expecting Trump to immediately direct the government to deport 2 million convicted criminals who he says are in the United States illegally. But some transition officials say he may wait to tackle any deportation of immigrants brought to the country illegally who came as children or who have children who are citizens or legal residents, until he can tackle the whole immigration issue.

Other possible executive orders: approving the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines, removing a requirement that the government take climate change into consideration when making decisions, withdrawing from the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico, and suspending the Syrian refugee resettlement program.

During the campaign, Trump made numerous other pledges but not all could be accomplished so easily. Rule changes will require justification following a Reagan-era court case mandating that regulation changes aren’t done on a whim — and a lengthy legal process.

Those include easing rules on fracking on federal land, ending federal funding to so-called sanctuary cities that do not enforce immigration laws, and ensuring immigrants in the United States convicted of illegal re-entry receive “strong mandatory minimum sentences.”

Ari Fleischer, White House press secretary under President George W. Bush, cautioned Americans not to pay too much attention to how presidents traditionally start their terms. For example, Trump may not worry about being disciplined enough to have a single message each day like his predecessors.

“All the rules are different for Donald Trump,” he said. “He cares less about tradition, not swayed by arguments that it’s always done this way. He was elected to change Washington and wants to change Washington.”   (Tribune Washington Bureau)

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