U.S. Attorney’s Office Concludes Investigation Into Fatal Shooting in Southeast Washington

Source: United States Attorneys General 4

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia announced today that there is insufficient evidence to pursue federal criminal civil rights or District of Columbia charges against the officer from the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) who was involved in the fatal shooting, in May 2021, of Vedo Hall in Southeast Washington.

New Mediterranean Fruit Fly Facility in Mexico to Keep Insect Pests at Bay and Save Fruit Production and Exports

Source: International Atomic Energy Agency – IAEA

The new state of the art Mediterranean fruit fly mass-rearing and irradiation facility in Metapa de Dominguez, Mexico, will play a major role in keeping the country free of these insect pests. (Photo: SENASICA-SADER)

One billion sterile flies a week – that is the production of the world’s second largest Mediterranean fruit fly facility, opened earlier this year, with support from the IAEA, in cooperation with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The factory of sterilized flies, located in the Chiapas state at its south-eastern border with Guatemala, will help keep the country’s growing agriculture pest free.

Here is how it works.

Mediterranean fruit flies lay their eggs in fruits and after they hatch, larvae feed on fruit pulp destroying it – and farmers’ livelihoods in the process. Keeping orchards fly free is a prerequisite for exports to many countries, which want to keep their own fruits un-infested. The alternative is expensive post-harvest treatments, which would hurt the competitiveness of Mexico’s export products.

An environmentally friendly method used in dozens of countries to keep fruit fly populations in check is the sterile insect technique (SIT), which uses irradiation to sterilize male insects. After being released these sterile insects will mate with wild females, but this mating will produce no offspring, thereby reducing pest populations over time. In order to prevent wild females from reproducing, hundreds of millions of sterile males need to be reared and released every day over the infested areas. The mass-rearing facility just opened is using the most advanced fruit fly production and sterilization techniques. Following the IAEA’s guidance, the new facility incorporated recent developments in design, such as having a glass ceiling and walls to allow more natural light for the adult flies in the mother colony area, which results in increased sexual competitiveness of the males once released. It was built in the vicinity of a facility, set-up in 1977 under the MOSCAMED Programme, a tri-patriate cooperation by Mexico, Guatemala and the United States.

The invasive fruit fly was eradicated in Mexico, thanks to the use of SIT, in 1982. The goal of the gigantic facility’s establishment is to consolidate the current containment barrier at Mexico’s border with Guatemala, and gradually eliminate Mediterranean fruit flies from Guatemala all the way south to Panama, in line with MOSCAMED’s long-term objectives. “The new facility will be instrumental in keeping the country free of this invasive pest, protecting and supporting sustained production and trade of fruit and vegetable commodities,” said Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador at the inauguration. He noted that despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the agricultural sector in Mexico has continued to grow, and has remained a vital component of the country’s economy.

Forces such as climate change and increase in global travel and trade are providing more favourable conditions for pests to spread – therefore countries need to increase their vigilance. People might unknowingly carry flies or larvae in the fruits that they bring with them to pest free areas, said Walther Enkerlin Hoeflich, Entomologist at the Joint FAO/IAEA Centre of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture.

“When you have conditions that favour pest introductions and dispersal, you want to make sure that you have the means to face up to this changing situation: a facility that can guarantee the level of sterile fly production that you need and the quality of the insects to be released in the target area or in potential outbreaks that can occur elsewhere,” he added.

“The new facility will guarantee the continuation of the use of the environmentally friendly SIT nuclear technology, strengthening the pest containment barrier, thus protecting the horticultural production in Mexico, Guatemala and also in the United States,” said Javier Trujillo, Mexico’s Head of the National Service for Agricultural Health, Food Safety and Quality (SENASICA).

Collaboration between Mexico and the IAEA Continues

Najat Mokhtar, IAEA Deputy Director General, handing over a plaque re-designating the National Fruit Fly Programme (PNMF) of Mexico as an IAEA Collaborating Centre to Luis Javier Campuzano Pina, Mexico’s Ambassador to Austria and Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Vienna. (Photo: E. Orucevic/IAEA)

Mexico’s National Fruit Fly Programme (PNMF) has been an IAEA Collaborating Centre since 2010 – supporting the IAEA in providing assistance on SIT to countries in the region, and the PNMF has now been redesignated as a Collaborating Centre for a further four years.

“Synergies between our institutions will allow a global multiplication of the impact of SIT and related technologies,” said Najat Mokhtar, Head of the IAEA’s Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications.

Through this cooperation, hundreds of professionals from Latin America, the Caribbean and other regions in the world have been trained in the application of SIT and the National Service for Agricultural Health, Food Safety and Quality (SENASICA) through PNMF has also helped the IAEA with research and development in advancing the technology, she added.

“The redesignation of PNMF-IAEA as an IAEA Collaborating Centre for another term will undoubtably be a great opportunity for strengthening cooperation between Mexico and the IAEA, as well as multilateral collaboration in SIT technology for the benefit of many other countries,” said Luis Javier Campuzano Pina, Mexico’s Ambassador in Austria and Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Vienna.

Appeal for information regarding woman missing from Camberwell

Source: United Kingdom London Metropolitan Police

Police are appealing for information regarding the whereabouts of a woman missing from Camberwell, SE5.

Petra Srncova, 32, who lives in the Camberwell area, was reported missing on Friday, 3 December by a concerned work colleague.

Petra was last seen at 19:45hrs on Sunday, 28 November. She is believed to have been wearing a green coat and carrying a red backpack.

Police have contacted her family in her native Czech Republic and they also have not heard from her.

Police are growing increasingly concerned for Petra’s welfare and are asking anyone who has seen her, or has information as to her whereabouts, to make contact immediately.

Detective Superintendent Clair Kelland, from the Central South Command Unit which covers the area that Petra lives in, said: “Petra’s disappearance is out of character and, of course, her family and friends are very worried.

“We are also growing increasingly concerned for Petra’s welfare and have officers working hard to try and find her.

“If you have any information whatsoever, please get in touch and help us with our enquiries.”

A man, no further details, has been arrested in connection with her disappearance and taken into custody, where he remains.

Anyone with information is asked to call 101 or tweet @MetCC referencing 21MIS037753.

Coast Guard searches for missing snorkeler just off “Punta Arenas” in Vieques, Puerto Rico

Source: United States Coast Guard

Coast Guard searches for missing snorkeler just off “Punta Arenas” in Vieques, Puerto Rico

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Coast Guard air and surface units are searching Thursday for a missing missing snorkeler in waters just off Punta Arenas in Vieques, Puerto Rico.

The missing snorkeler is Joanna Revis, 38, from Chicago, Illinois, who reportedly was last seen snorkeling near the shoreline at 1p.m. Wednesday.  She was wearing a swim attire consisting of a long-sleeve white shirt and a black short.

Watchstanders at Sector San Juan were initially contacted at 7:15p.m. Wednesday by a U.S. Fish and Wildlife officer, who reported the incident to the Coast Guard.  Shortly thereafter, Watchstanders directed the launch of a Coast Guard MH-60T Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Borinquen and diverted the Coast Guard Cutter Reef Shark, that searched throughout the night and into the morning.  Air, marine and land units from the Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid Action, the Puerto Rico Emergency Management Bureau, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are also actively participating in the search.

Coast Guard assets involved in the search are:

·         MH-60T Jayhawk helicopters from Air Station Borinquen

·         Coast Guard Cutter Reef Shark, is an 87-foot coastal patrol boat homeported in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Anyone with any information on this case should contact the Coast Guard Sector San Juan Command Center at 787-289-2041.

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Convicted Felon with Violent Criminal History Sentenced in PSN Investigation

Source: United States Attorneys General 4

MACON, Ga. – A Macon resident with prior felonies taken into custody on state warrants while in illegal possession of a gun was sentenced to prison this week for violating federal gun law.

Craig R. Harpe, 40, of Macon, was sentenced to serve 37 months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release by U.S. District Judge Tilman E. (Tripp) Self, III on Dec. 7, after he previously pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. There is no parole in the federal system.

Deputy Assistant Attorney General Arun G. Rao Delivers Remarks at the Food & Drug Law Institute’s (FDLI) 2021 Enforcement, Litigation and Compliance Conference

Source: United States Attorneys General 13

Good morning. Thank you, Bob, for that introduction. And thank you to FDLI for inviting me to speak today. It’s an honor to join so many respected business leaders, industry experts, attorneys and government colleagues to discuss some of the accomplishments of the Department of Justice’s Consumer Protection Branch over the past year.

Department Of Justice Awards More Than $17.5 Million Nationwide To Support Project Safe Neighborhoods

Source: United States Attorneys General 9

LAS VEGAS – The Department of Justice announced today that it has awarded more than $17.5 million in grants to support the Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program. Funding will support efforts across the country to address violent crime, including the gun violence that is often at its core. The Nevada Department of Public Safety was awarded $201,426 to administer PSN grant funds in the District of Nevada.