In South America, drug cartels, not afraid of corruption and violence, made their way to Europe. In many European cities, finding cocaine has become as easy as ordering pizza.
The drug cartels of South America turned coca leaves grown on the high mountain plateaus of Bolivia, Colombia and Peru into drugs and transported them to Europe.
Europe has become one of the most lucrative markets for large drug cartels, which are not afraid to use corruption and excessive violence, which work so well in South America.
According to the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), around 3.5 million Europeans used cocaine in 2021. This number is four times higher than it was 20 years ago.
Belgian federal police chief Eric Snoeck said the continent was hit by a “storm” with 240 tonnes of cocaine seized in 2021, according to Europol, almost five times more than a decade ago.
In Paris, France, narcotics commissioner Virginie Lahaye said, “Consumers prefer drugs that are delivered by someone who looks like a bicycle courier. They don’t have to go to scary residential areas in the suburbs.”
One drug courier told AFP, “I’m like the couriers rushing around in Paris delivering food. I take orders and deliver them. One is 70 euros, two is 120 euros.”
“REPLACED THE GOVERNMENT THAT NEVER EXISTED”
In South American countries where the rules of the cartels dominate, coca leaves, the raw material of cocaine, is the only source of income for the poor people.
José del Carmen Abril, a Colombian coca collector, relies on coca leaves to feed his eight children.
“Koka… replaced the government here that never existed. It helped us build schools, health centres, roads and homes,” said Abril, 53.
In a country where many earn no more than $7 (6.5 euros) a day, a coca grower can earn five times that. However, Del Carmen Abril said she was uncomfortable being called a “narco” and that other farmers working like her didn’t even earn “minimum wage”.
Although the US and Colombian “war on drugs” struggle has so far reached billions, peasants continue to grow more coca. Coca harvests in 2021 rose 14 percent to reach an all-time high of 1,400 tonnes, according to the United Nations.
Coca, which a coca collector collects for an average of 30 Euros per day, can cost more than a thousand Euros per kilo thanks to “Chemists”.
CARTELS AND THE EUROPEAN MARKET
Colombia has come to account for two-thirds of the world’s cocaine. Once mere intermediaries, Mexican cartels have since taken over nearly all of the market, from financing production to controlling cocaine trafficking.
While the Sinaloa and Jalisco cartels in Mexico initially focused on their “natural” market, the United States, they later turned to Europe, where cocaine consumption was booming.
Most of the cocaine that crosses the Atlantic is transported in containers and hidden inside shipments of perfectly legal bananas, candy or canned food.
According to Europol estimates, the cocaine market in Europe is currently valued at street level between 7.6 billion euros and 10.5 billion euros.
“The US market is saturated, and cocaine is sold at 50 to 100 percent higher prices in Europe. Another advantage for smugglers is less deterrent prison sentences and more logistics options in Europe,” said Florian Colas, head of intelligence at French customs. .
VIOLENCE MOVED TO EUROPE
The unlawful acts of “kidnapping, murder, injury, corruption, violence” by South American cartels were transported to the port cities of Europe with the transportation of cocaine.
“Kidnapping, torture and murder. The money at stake is huge. The methods of criminal cartels have moved to our shores,” said Stephanie Cherbonnier of the French anti-drug office.
Brussels Chief Prosecutor Johan Delmulle has warned that the country may soon “be considered a narco state” due to gunfights on the streets of Antwerp.
Northern Europe’s major ports such as Antwerp and Rotterdam have been so shaken by drug violence that democracy itself has been threatened.
The cartels even dared to plot to kidnap Belgium’s justice minister.
Germany in search: Qualified workforce is needed
German Chancellor Scholz signaled the new immigration law, drawing attention to his country’s lack of workforce.
In an interview with Bild am Sonntag newspaper, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz mentioned the lack of skilled labor in his country. Scholz said that by 2030, 6 million additional labor force is needed in the German job market.
Stating that measures should be taken in this regard, Prime Minister Scholz said that in order to increase the number of working mothers and fathers, attractive conditions should be created for parents, more support should be provided in the transition from school to vocational education and those who lost their jobs in their 50s should be qualified.
Immigration law on the agenda
Stressing that these will not be enough, however, Scholz said that there is a need for qualified workforce from countries outside of Europe.
5 people killed by avalanche in Austria
5 people died as a result of successive avalanches in many ski resorts in the Austrian state of Tyrol.
In a statement made by the Tyrolean police, Langenfeld im Ötztal, Kaunerberg, Debanttal, St. It has been reported that 5 people died under an avalanche in ski resorts in Anton am Arlberg regions.
In the statement, it was stated that the dead were 3 athletes aged 29, 33 and 34, a 59-year-old driver and a 62-year-old tourist.
Heavy snowfall and successive avalanche disasters affect life negatively in the states of Tyrol and Vorarlberg in the west of the country.
On the other hand, it was recorded that the danger warning was raised to the highest level due to the avalanche falling at 30 points in the region yesterday. A total of 8 people lost their lives in the avalanche in the region since Friday.
Ford decided to discount electric vehicle
Ford has announced that it is increasing production and cutting prices to increase the competitiveness and accessibility of its electric car Mustang Mach-E for customers.
In a statement made by the company, it was stated that production increases and discounts will continue to position Ford as an important option in the growing electric vehicle market.
It was stated in the statement that two-thirds of Mustang Mach-E’s customers come from competing brands, and it was stated that the model was the number 3 electric car in the USA last year.
In the statement, it was reminded that Ford already offers a truck, SUV and minibus to its electric vehicle customers, and it was shared that the raw materials and batteries are safe for the scale production of these models in 2023.
Pointing out that current pricing is part of the plan to keep the model competitive in a rapidly changing market, the statement also included a table of price changes for Mustang Mach-E.
Marin Gjaja, the company’s representative in charge of customers, whose views are included in the statement, stated that they will produce more electric vehicles in order to reduce customers’ waiting times, offer competitive prices and create an unrivaled customer experience. We will continue to push the limits.” used the phrase.
HOW MUCH DISCOUNT WILL BE DONE?
According to the shared price table, prices of various versions of Mach-E will be reduced by up to 8 percent, while low-priced models will be discounted between $ 600-900.
The discount on high-priced models will also reach 5 thousand 900 dollars. In this context, the starting prices of the model will vary between approximately $ 46 thousand and $ 64 thousand.
Existing customers waiting for their vehicle to be delivered will automatically benefit from the new price.
COMPETITION IN THE ELECTRIC VEHICLE MARKET IS HEATING
Electric car maker Tesla also lowered its prices in the USA and Europe after discounts in China at the beginning of the year in order to increase its sales.
While Tesla’s discounts, which find 20 percent in the prices of Model 3 and Model Y vehicles, vary between 6 percent and 20 percent according to the car model in the USA; In Germany it was 17 percent.
Tesla prices were also reduced in Austria, Switzerland and France.
US expands tax incentive for electric vehicles
The U.S. Treasury Department has updated its vehicle classification standard that will allow more electric cars to benefit from tax incentives.
In the statement made by the US Treasury Department, it was reported that under the “Reducing Inflation Act”, the vehicle classification standard used to determine the price cap for the current “clean vehicle” tax deduction was changed.
Reminding that the basic requirements were determined in December last year for clean vehicle manufacturers and dealers to benefit from tax incentives, it was reminded that a guide on the subject was published in January.
In the statement, it was noted that the guideline provides the standard to determine whether vehicles are sedans, SUVs or any other type, or subject to the 55 thousand to 80 thousand dollars limit.
In order to make it easier for consumers to know which vehicles are within the scope of the clean vehicle tax reduction, it was stated in the statement that the vehicle classification standard was updated, and the change will be effective from 1 January.
In the US, consumers can benefit from clean vehicle tax deductions of up to $7,500 on new electric vehicle purchases.
Thanks to the update, some electric car models of automakers such as Tesla, Ford and Volkswagen, which were not covered by tax reductions before, will also be able to benefit from the incentives.
Partial step back from the government in the pension reform that put France on its feet
In France, the government of Emmanuel Macron may make partial concessions to its plan to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64, which is confusing the country.
In France, the government of Emmanuel Macron may make another concession to its plan to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64 to secure a parliamentary majority amid a massive popular backlash.
As more and more people join the protests and opinion polls show the French overwhelmingly rejecting reform, the government is under pressure to rethink the president’s signature economic reform.
French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said in an interview with JDD newspaper today that they are planning an arrangement so that more people can retire before they turn 64. Borne said that regulation will be made to enable people who start working at a young age to retire earlier.
IT COSTS 1 BILLION EURO
If the last amendment is approved by the parliament, those who start working at the age of 20-21 will be able to retire at the age of 63. The change, which allows more people to retire at age 63, will affect around 30,000 people a year in France and will cost between 600 million euros and 1 billion euros per year.
Debate on the proposal will begin tomorrow in the National Assembly, with unions scheduled for further strikes and protests for Tuesday. This proposal also aims to impress MPs of the conservative party.
Italy takes to the streets for hunger striker anarchist
Demonstrators gathered in Italy held a march to protest the prison conditions of anarchist prisoner Alfredo Cospito, who was on hunger strike.
Protest marches were held across the country in solidarity with 55-year-old Cospito, who has been on a hunger strike for more than 100 days because he was held under strict isolation conditions in prison, and to protest the strict isolation conditions, known as “41bis” in the public.
The march, which started from Vittorio Emanuele 2, one of the busiest squares of the capital city of Rome, continued until Prenestina Street under extensive security measures.
During the march, which was attended by approximately 800 people, the demonstrators frequently lit torches and detonated sound bombs.
Security forces intervened against the demonstrators who wanted to set up barricades on the street. In the small-scale brawl that broke out, 2 people were injured and 3 people were detained.
It was stated that a performance was held in this city for Cospito, who was held in the Opera Prison in Milan.
It was reported that more than 200 demonstrators gathered near the prison where Cospito was held and tried to approach the fears of the prison, throwing stones and explosives at the security forces, members of the press and the prison.
In support of Alfredo Cospito, demonstrations were held in the cities of Bari and Cagliari, as well as in Rome and Milan.
CALL FROM THE PRIME MINISTER
While Cospito’s situation led to debates between the government and the opposition, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, in a letter to the Corriere della Sera newspaper, warned that the situation had escalated due to anarchists and that this could lead to different results. Meloni reminded that his party called on the parliamentarians and everyone to lower the tone due to the Cospito issue.
The anarchist ringleader Cospito, who has been in prison for 10 years due to his conviction on charges of attempting to protect the security of the state in different incidents he was involved in, has been kept in strict isolation since May 2022, within the framework of the law known as “41bis” in public, on the grounds that he incited violence in the messages he sent outside the prison.
Alfredo Cospito was transferred from Sassari prison to Milan’s Opera prison on January 30, upon the request of his lawyers and the approval of the prosecutor’s office, after he lost 40 kilograms due to a hunger strike he had been on for more than 100 days to protest his strict isolation.
HE BURNED THE DIPLOMATS’ VEHICLES
The Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on January 28 that the entrance to the Italian Consulate General in Barcelona, Spain was destroyed and the car of the Italian diplomat working in the embassy in Berlin, the capital of Germany, was set on fire.
An incident similar to the one in Berlin had also occurred on 3 December 2022, when the car of the chief clerk of the Italian Embassy in Athens, the capital of Greece, was set on fire.
It was stated that the acts of violence in question were carried out by anarchist groups in order to protest the situation of the hunger striker Cospito.
Most industries in the Netherlands have become dependent on immigrants
It is stated that many sectors in the Netherlands have become dependent on migrant workers and services cannot be met without foreign workers.
While many sectors in the Netherlands are dependent on a growing number of migrant workers, experts believe that services cannot be provided without foreign workers.
In the news site NU.nl, it was stated that the number of workers with a migrant background is increasing and many sectors are dependent on foreign workers.
In the news, it was stated that in the period of 2006-2021, the number of foreign workers in the country increased 4 times and approximately 800,000 migrant workers, especially from Eastern European countries, were working in the country.
A march will be held in the Netherlands for the ugly action against the Quran
Pointing out that migrant workers are employed in delivery, warehouse and distribution centers, especially in the agriculture and horticulture sector, experts’ views on the dependency of some sectors on migrant workers were included in the news.
In the news, it was shared that a large number of migrant workers, especially from Poland, Bulgaria and Romania, came to the Netherlands in the last 15 years.
Olaf van Vliet, professor of economics at Leiden University, stressed that migrant workers are especially working in low-wage jobs. “If they leave today, it will be difficult to fill their place.” used the phrase.
Pointing out that hiring foreign workers is a political decision and that it brings with it a number of social problems such as housing shortages, Van Vliet said, “If labor costs increase, consumers will feel it. For example, orders may no longer be delivered for free.” made its assessment.
“These people make a significant contribution to our economy”
Frank van Gool, director of the employment firm OTTO Work Force, stated that some sectors cannot function without migrant workers, adding, “In the absence of these, markets and vegetable stalls will remain empty. There will be problems in the health, construction and technology sectors. There are even Filipino workers in our health sector.” used the phrases.
Noting that he found it right to discuss the social problems that come with the increasing number and place of migrant workers in employment, Van Gool said, “But that doesn’t mean we don’t need those people. These people make a significant contribution to our economy.” commented.
Greece comes under the influence of cold weather conditions
Due to the cold weather and snow expectation prevailing throughout Greece, it was decided to conduct distance education in primary and secondary schools in some regions tomorrow.
In the statement made by the Greek Meteorology Department, it was stated that snowfall is expected in Attiki Region, Eğriboz Island and Central Greece today and tomorrow. In the statement, it was stated that the snow thickness in high regions can reach up to 60 centimeters.
In the statement of the Ministry of Education, it was reported that face-to-face education is not possible due to cold weather conditions and the expectation of snowfall, and distance education will be held in primary and secondary schools tomorrow.
It has been noted that the Attiki Region is among the regions where face-to-face training is suspended for one day due to snowfall and adverse weather conditions.
INTENSIVE MEASURES IN TRAFFIC
In the announcement made by the Civil Defense units, a call was made to the citizens, especially in the North Attiki Region, not to go out to traffic except for compulsory situations.
It was made compulsory to have chains for those watching in traffic.
The Ministry of Development and Investment announced that the stores in North Attiki will not open tomorrow due to the expected heavy snowfall.
ASEAN reaction to Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands
The Union of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Foreign Ministers in Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands condemned the attacks on the Holy Quran in the strongest terms.
ASEAN Foreign Ministers met yesterday in Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta, to discuss regional issues.
In a statement made on ASEAN’s official website, it was stated that the meeting condemned “in the strongest terms” the burning and tearing of the Holy Quran by far-right politicians in Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands last month.
In the statement, which reported that these actions “harmed religious tolerance”, it was emphasized that freedom of expression should be practiced “responsibly”.
At the meeting, the developments after the 2021 coup in Myanmar and the steps to ensure regional peace were also discussed.
While reiterating its commitment to abide by the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapons-Free Zone Agreement, ASEAN called for a constructive and peaceful approach in the South China Sea, which is at the center of sovereignty disputes.
ATTACKED AGAINST THE QURAN
Rasmus Paludan, the leader of the Danish far-right Strict Direction Party, burned the Quran in front of the Stockholm Embassy in Sweden on January 21 in Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, and no one was allowed to approach Paludan during the protest held under the protection of the crowded police.
On January 27, Paludan burned the Quran in front of the mosque in Denmark and in front of the Turkish Embassy in Copenhagen.
Edwin Wagensveld, the leader of the Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West (PEGIDA) movement in the Netherlands, tore the Qur’an in a solitary action in The Hague.
FedEx to lay off more than 10 percent of its executive team
FedEx, one of the American cargo giants, announced that it will reduce the number of its employees in officer and management positions by more than 10 percent in order to become a “more efficient” company.
FedEx’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Raj Subramaniam, in a note to his employees, reminded that they have initiated a transformation effort to create a flexible, efficient and smart supply chain, and stated that some decisions have been taken to ensure the company remains competitive.
Informing that some of the teams and their functions were combined, Subramaniam noted that the officer and manager team were downsized by more than 10 percent.
Subramaniam underlined that reducing the number of employees is a necessary action to become a “more efficient and agile” organization.