Greenlight for drug lord extradition
RANCHO CUCAMONGA — A Muslim high school student said on Monday she’s hurt after being mistakenly identified in her Southern California yearbook as “Isis Phillips.”
Bayan Zehlif, a 17-year-old high school senior, said at a news conference with Muslim community advocates that she found it “coincidental” that she was mistaken for a girl whose name is widely associated with a terror group.
She was hurt by the error, but even more so after her Los Osos High School classmates blasted her for denouncing it, she said.
“Seeing the yearbook really hurt, but seeing my classmates go against me like that hurt even more,” she told reporters at the offices of the Council on American-islamic Relations in Anaheim, Calif.
Mat Holton, Chaffey Joint Union High School District superintendent, said in a statement that Zehlif was misidentified as another student with the first name of Isis.
The other student, who no longer attends the school, also was misidentified in the yearbook on a facing page, Holton said.
He said an investigation is being conducted.
“The families of both students were immediately contacted and offered a sincere apology,” and another apology was offered at a second meeting on Monday with Holton and the school principal, he said.
Yearbook distribution has been halted until the error is fixed, and those who already received them have been asked to return them.
“The remaining yearbooks will be corrected before the end of the week and distributed to students,” he said.
Zehlif said she didn’t personally know Isis Phillips, but she has heard a girl with that name had attended the school in Rancho Cucamonga. The mix-up occurred on a candid photo, and her class photo lists her name correctly, she said.
Zehlif posted a photo on Facebook of herself in a hijab with the name “Isis Phillips” underneath it as it appears in the yearbook.
Zehlif is not returning to school for now out of fear of a backlash from some of her classmates, but hopes to attend graduation next week as her relatives from Jordan have travelled for the ceremony, she said.
— AP WASHINGTON — US President Barack Obama is considering whether to lift a three-decade-old arms embargo on Vietnam, US officials say, as he weighs calls to forge closer military ties with Hanoi against concerns over its poor human rights record.
The debate within the US administration is coming to a head amid preparations for Obama’s trip to Vietnam this month to bolster ties between Washington and Hanoi, former wartime enemies who are increasingly partners against China’s growing territorial assertiveness in the South China Sea.
The full removal of the embargo — something Vietnam has long sought — would sweep away one of the last major vestiges of the Vietnam War era and advance the normalization of relations begun 21 years ago. It would also likely anger Beijing, which condemned Obama’s partial lifting of the arms ban in 2014 as an interference in the region’s balance of power.
On one side of the internal debate, some White House and State Department aides say it would be premature to completely end restrictions on lethal military assistance before Vietnam’s communist government has made more progress on human rights.
They are at odds with other officials, including many at the Pentagon, who argue bolstering Vietnam’s ability to counter a rising China should take priority, according to people with knowledge of the discussions.
Boosting the security of allies and partners has been a major thrust of Obama’s strategic “pivot” toward the Asia-pacific region, a centrepiece of his foreign policy.
Even as Vietnam seeks warmer relations with the United States, though, US officials are mindful that suspicions linger among MEXICO CITY — A Mexican judge has ruled that drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman can be extradited to face charges in the United States, the country’s federal court authority said on Monday, days after he was moved to a prison near the US border.
On Saturday, Guzman was transferred to a prison in Ciudad Juarez on Mexico’s northern border and a senior Mexican security official said the kingpin’s extradition was in motion and would happen by mid-year.
Guzman, boss of the powerful Sinaloa Cartel, was for years the world’s most wanted drug trafficker until his capture by Mexican Marines in February 2014. He then embarrassed the government by escaping from prison through a tunnel last July.
The government recaptured him in January and President Enrique Pena Nieto said soon afterwards he had taken steps to ensure Guzman was extradited as soon as possible.
He faces charges ranging from money laundering to drug trafficking, kidnapping and murder in cities that include Chicago, Miami and New York.
Juan Pablo Badillo, one of Guzman’s lawyers, said his client’s legal situation was still being processed and that to extradite him now would be a violation of his human rights.
Badillo listed nine appeals pending against Guzman’s extradition.
However, government officials have said in private the decision to extradite the drug lord Communist Party conservatives that Washington wants to undermine their country’s one-party system.
One major factor in Obama’s decision will be whether Vietnam will move forward on major US defence deals, a potential boon for American jobs that could soften congressional opposition to lifting the weapons ban, according to one source close to White House policymaking.
There have been questions about whether Vietnam, which has relied mostly on Russian weapons suppliers since the Cold War, is ready to start buying U.s.-made systems.
Diplomats have seen increasing signs that Hanoi is seeking ties with U.S. defence contractors but Washington wants tangible commitments, according to the source.
Vietnam is big buyer of weapons from Russia, its Cold War-era patron, including Kilo-class submarines and corvettes.
It could look to the United States for items such as P-3 surveillance planes and missiles to beef up its naval forces and coastal defences.
At the Pentagon, the prevailing view appears to be more in line with Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s congressional testimony late last month that he would support lifting restrictions on the sale of U.S. weapons to Vietnam.
That comment raised eyebrows at the White House, where officials said Obama had yet to rule on the issue.
Obama’s final decision could hinge on whatever recommendations come from ongoing visits to Vietnam by Tom Malinowski, the administration’s top human rights envoy, and Daniel Russel, the Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and the Pacific.
Speaking in Hanoi on Tuesday, Russel is essentially a political call dependent on the president.
A government source said on Monday nothing was likely to happen to Guzman for weeks.
Mexico’s foreign ministry said in a state- ment on Monday that it had received notification of the judge’s decision, adding that once it received the case file, it would have 20 business days to analyse and decide on the matter. The judge’s identity was not disclosed.
In a radio interview, Eduardo Guerrero, head of Mexico’s federal prisons service, denied Guzman’s transfer was a preamble to extradition, noting that prisoners awaiting extradition go to the Hermosillo jail in northwest Mexico.
It was not clear why he was taken to Ciudad Juarez, the lowest rated federal prison in a 2015 National Human Rights Commission report on factors including illicit activities and violent incidents.
Guzman’s cartel is present in the city, fighting a war for control that made it the world’s most murderous town in 2010. Crime has since dropped.
At 9pm on Friday, authorities entered Guzman’s cell at the Altiplano jail in Central Mexico, told him to put on a shirt and pack up his things, placing them in transparent bags, Guerrero said.
At 1.30am on Saturday, Guzman was flown by helicopter to Mexico City airport, where he boarded a police plane and flew to Ciudad Juarez.
Guzman asked once where he was being taken, but was not told until he arrived in the Ciudad Juarez lockup, Guerrero added.
Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman is escorted to a helicopter in handcuffs by Mexican navy marines.