Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 2nd 2014 Contents A31
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Russian President Vladimir
Putin secured his parliament s
authority yesterday to invade
Ukraine after troops seized con-
trol of the Crimea peninsula and
hoisted flags above government
buildings in two eastern cities.
Putin s open assertion of the
right to deploy troops in a country
of 46 million people on the ram-
parts of central Europe creates the
biggest direct confrontation
between Russia and the West since
the Cold War.
It followed days of warnings
from US President Barack Obama
and other Western leaders that
Russia must not intervene, and
assurances from Moscow that it
would not do so.
Putin swiftly secured unani-
mous approval from Russia s sen-
ate for the use of armed force on
the territory of his neighbour, cit-
ing the need to protect Russian
citizens, the same reason he gave
for invading tiny Georgia in 2008.
Britain summoned the Russian
ambassador. EU ministers were
due to hold emergency talks.
Czech President Milos Zeman
recalled the Soviet invasion of
Czechoslovakia in 1968.
Troops widely believed to
belong to Moscow have already
seized Crimea, an isolated penin-
sula in the Black Sea where
Moscow has a large military pres-
ence in the headquarters of its
Black Sea Fleet. The campaign
there has been bloodless so far,
with Kiev s new authorities pow-
erless to intervene.
Scores were also hurt yesterday
in clashes between pro-Russian
demonstrators and supporters of
Kiev s new authorities in eastern
cities---areas near the Russian
frontier, where Moscow is staging
war games on high alert.
The rapid pace of events has
rattled the new leaders of the
country, who took power of a
nation on the verge of bankruptcy
when Yanukovich fled Kiev last
week after his police killed scores
of anti-Russian protesters in Kiev.
Ukraine s crisis began in
November when Yanukovich, at
Moscow s behest, abandoned a
free trade pact with the EU for
closer ties with Russia.
"I want to live with Russia. I
want to join Russia," said Alla
Batura, a petite 71-year-old pen-
sioner who has lived in Sevastopol
for 50 years. "They are good
lads...They are protecting us, so
we feel safe."
But not everyone was reassured.
Inna, 21, a clerk in a nearby shop
who came out to stare at the
APCs, said: "I am in shock. I don t
understand what the hell this is...
People say they came here to pro-
tect us. Who knows? ... All of our
(Ukrainian) military are probably
out at sea by now."
For many in Ukraine, the
prospect of a military conflict
chilled the blood.
"When a Slav fights another
Slav, the result is devastating," said
Natalia Kuharchuk, a Kiev
"God save us." (Reuters)
The US federal government made a rare
intervention to block a gold and copper mine
in Alaska on Friday, saying it was compelled to
protect the world's biggest salmon fishery.
The mine, which had investment from Rio
Tinto, was cast as one of the biggest
environmental decisions awaiting Barack
Obama in his second term.
The move---a victory for a three-year
campaign by salmon fishermen, native tribes
and environmental groups---did not amount to
an immediate veto on the Bristol Bay mining
But Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) officials made it clear in a phone call
with reporters the project to build the largest
open pit mine ever constructed in North
America was all but over before it even
reached the permitting phase.
The EPA has spent three years studying
the potential impacts of mining for copper
and gold in the Bristol Bay area. The region is
the spawning ground for half of the world's
The EPA's scientific review last month
found that the mine---because of its sheer size
and the low-grade of ores---would require a
big footprint and generate significant waste.
The operations could destroy up to 94 miles
of salmon-supporting streams and between
1,300 to 5,350 acres of wetlands and lakes,
the study found.
It was nighttime in May of 1990,
in the heyday of the cocaine boom
across America. Twenty Mexican
federal police officers and a handful
of US Customs agents, acting on a
tip, descended on a stucco home
on the edge of Agua Prieta, Mex-
ico--- a stone s throw from Arizona.
"Policia," they yelled, guns drawn,
before busting down the front door.
The house was empty but looked
lived in, with dishes in the kitchen
and toys in the backyard. The officers
moved quickly to a spacious game
room, complete with a bar and a
pool table, set atop a ten-by-ten
foot concrete panel on the floor.
An informant had told them that
what they were looking for was
under the pool table. With a jack-
hammer, the officers went to work.
Then, a stroke of luck: one of them
turned the knob of a faucet and sud-
denly the floor and the pool table
rose into the air---like a hydraulic lift
in an auto shop, or something
straight out of a Bond movie.
A metal staircase led down to a
stunning discovery: beneath the
house, connecting to a warehouse
in the US 300 feet away, was an
underground tunnel outfitted with
lighting, air vents and tracks on the
floor to transport carts full of drugs.
It was, at the time, unheard of, a
new level of sophistication in the
cross-border war on the Colombian
and Mexican cartels that were send-
ing tons of cocaine and marijuana
north every year. "A masterpiece,"
retired Customs agent Terry Kirk-
patrick, who was there that day,
recalled of the tunnel that came to
be known as Cocaine Alley.
But, he added: "None of us ...
looked at it with the vision that this
would be the future of drug smug-
Nor did they know then who was
behind it: The one they called Shorty
because of his five-foot-six-inch
frame, a man who grew up poor and
had no formal education but would
rise from a small-time Mexican mar-
ijuana producer to lead the world s
most powerful drug cartel.
Learned the trade
from his father
A week after his capture in the
resort city of Mazatlan, Joaquin "El
Chapo" Guzman sits in a cell in
Mexico s highest-security prison.
From abused boy
to cartel kingpin
El Chapo's Rise:
Russia's Putin claims
right to invade Ukraine
US moves against Alaska gold/copper mine to protect salmon fishery
Unidentified gunmen wearing camouflage uniforms block the entrance of the Crimean Parliament building in
Simferopol, Ukraine, yesterday. The discord between Russia and Ukraine sharpened yesterday when the pro-
Russian leader of Ukraine's Crimea region claimed control of the military and police and appealed to Russia's
president for help in keeping peace there. Poster reads "Crimea Russia." AP PHOTO
In this November 4, 2013 photo, a Homeland Security Investigations member looks
south in a border tunnel equipped with lighting, ventilation and an electric rail
system discovered between Tijuana, Mexico and San Diego in San Diego. Discovered
on October 30, 2013, the secret passage on the US-Mexico border was linked by
authorities to Mexico's Sinaloa cartel and its leader, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman,
who was arrested on February 22 in Maztalan, Mexico. AP PHOTO
Continues on Page A34
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