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Mexico’s former public security chief arrested in US on drug trafficking charges

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Mexico’s ex-public security chief has been arrested in Texas on charges of receiving millions of dollars in bribes to help notorious cartel kingpin “El Chapo” ship tons of drugs into the US, officials said Tuesday.

Genaro Garcia Luna, who was Mexico’s secretary of public security from 2006 to 2012, was taken into custody Monday in Dallas, prosecutors in New York said.

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“Garcia Luna stands accused of taking millions of dollars in bribes from ‘El Chapo’ Guzman’s Sinaloa Cartel while he controlled Mexico’s Federal Police Force and was responsible for ensuring public safety in Mexico,” US Attorney Richard Donoghue said, announcing the arrest.

An indictment unsealed on Tuesday in court in Brooklyn charges the 52-year-old Garcia Luna with cocaine trafficking conspiracy and making false statements.

A former cartel member, testifying in the New York trial of Sinaloa chief Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, described personally delivering two suitcases with six to eight million dollars in bribes to Garcia Luna at a restaurant.

At the time, Garcia Luna denied the allegations by Jesus “Rey” Zambada, calling them “lies, defamation and perjury.”

He is alleged to have protected the Sinaloa cartel’s cocaine trafficking operations from 2001 to 2012, using his positions in law enforcement to enable it to operation “with impunity” in Mexico.

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He headed the federal investigative agency in Mexico tasked with fighting drug trafficking and corruption from 2001 to 2005.

He then moved up to the post of secretary of public security, which controls the Federal Police, serving until 2012.

If found guilty by a US jury, he faces a minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum of life in prison.

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Guzman was sentenced in July to life in prison after a three-month trial in New York.

Prosecutors said Garcia Luna, who moved to Florida in 2012, has amassed a personal fortune worth millions of dollars.

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They said he lied about his past criminal activity in applying for US citizenship.


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UAE announces first Wuhan coronavirus case

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The United Arab Emirates announced Wednesday its first case of the new coronavirus, in a family from Wuhan, in what is thought to be the first confirmed case in the Middle East.

“The UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention announced a case of the new coronavirus affecting people from one family coming from the city of Wuhan in China,” the state news agency WAM reported, without saying how many were infected.

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Mike Pompeo’s behavior is straight out of Nixon VP’s playbook: historians

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s expletive-laden dust-up with NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelly is on message for the Trump-led Republican Party. Complaining that Kelly’s question about Ukraine was “another example of how unhinged the media has become in its quest to hurt President Trump and this Administration,” Pompeo has rallied the Republican base by slamming a journalist doing her job.

Whether he knows it or not, Pompeo is drawing from a playbook written a half century ago and perfected by a politician once voted the worst vice president in American history. Secretary Mike Pompeo, meet Vice President Spiro Agnew.

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‘Our chances of ever exiting the nightmare are shrinking’: Paul Krugman explains how the GOP is getting worse

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It is a great detriment to civil discourse that the divide between left and right in the United States is often depicted as being purely cultural — as if one’s politics were solely mediated by aesthetics, such as whether one prefers shooting guns or drinking lattes. This fabulist understanding of politics is harmful inasmuch as it masks the real social effects of the policy agendas pushed by left versus right. Seeing politics as aesthetic transforms what should be a quantitative debate — with statistics and numbers about taxation and public policy, questions of who benefits more or less from policy changes — and devolves it into a rhetorical debate over values.

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