Peru cooperates with the FBI to fight organized crime

first_img Peruvian security forces are strengthening their collaboration with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to fight transnational criminal organizations which engage in drug trafficking, kidnapping, oil theft, extortion, cyber-theft, and other criminal enterprises. The National Police of Peru (PNP) and the FBI recently signed a “letter of intent”, in which the two law enforcement agencies agreed to cooperate in the battle against transnational criminal organizations, according to published reports. The Peruvian ambassador in Washington, D.C., Harolf Forsyth, and FBI Assistant Director Richard McFeeley signed the document at FBI headquarters in Washington on Jan. 23, 2014. The link between international drug trafficking According to the study “Situational Analysis of Drug Trafficking 2013” conducted by the American Police Community (Ameripol), the link between drug trafficking and terrorism is a serious threat to Peruvian national security. The Shining Path rebel group trafficks drugs and engages in other criminal activities like extortion in order to buy arms and finance terrorist activities. The Shining Path and drug traffickers from Mexico and Colombia operate around 300 clandestine laboratories in the Apurimac and Ene River Valley (VRAEM), the largest coca-growing basin in the country, according to authorities. Since 2000, the presence of Mexican cartels has expanded by 60 percent, according to the publication, Expresso. The Sinaloa Cartel maintains armed gangs and produces cocaine and marijuana in the VRAEM, in coastal regions, and in Ayabaca, located in the Piura Mountains. One of the gangs involved in drug trafficking includes the brothers, Máximo, Zósimo, and Sergio Arce Medina, who are from the La Mar province of Ayacucho. The Arce Medina brothers operate in towns of Satipo province, La República reported. The Arce Medina brothers buy drugs from various producers in the VRAEM, the region where the Shining Path rebel group operates. Then they transport the drugs to nearby towns, and then ship them via air to Bolivia and Brazil. Other gangs known as “Motoco”, “Platanazo”, “David”, and “Chino” also traffic drugs. Europe, in particular Spain followed by Italy and the Netherlands, is the main destination for drugs leaving Peru. “The government has drawn up an intelligence strategy in the fight against drug trafficking. All security forces have declared a full-fledged fight against drug trafficking and related activities such as money-laundering,” García Villena said. From January 2007 to May 2012, organized crime groups in Peru laundered about $5.3 billion (USD), authorities said. Continuing efforts Law enforcement training The PNP and the FBI agreed to work together to strengthen digital technology which can help identify criminal suspects. The two law enforcement agencies also pledged to work together to make sure both agencies have the most modern tools for scientific forensic investigations. This would include technology to identify fingerprints and conduct DNA tests. The collaboration with the FBI will help improve public safety in Peru, Forsyth said. “The field of police science advances very quickly in the world,” the ambassador said. “If we want to build a safer society in Peru, we need to keep up with these new techniques. Peru faces a serious problem: transnational crime.” The Peruvian government has been sending PNP officers to the FBI Academy in the U.S. state of Virginia since 2012, authorities said. The PNP will send a greater number of officers to the academy in 2014, authorities said. A week before signing the agreement with the FBI, prosecutors’ offices, the PNP, the Public Prosecutor’s Office, and the Judiciary (PJ) of Peru presented the “Protocols and Action Guide” for the PNP and other Peruvian law enforcers. As detailed in the document, the PNP and the FBI will focus on training a variety of law tactics, such as the best way to monitor and record telephone calls and other forms of communication, such as text messages and how to enter a building using force, according to a statement from the PJ. “The purpose is to standardize the work for law enforcement administrators. From now on, these institutions will avoid contradictions and delays when implementing measures,” said Walter Chávez Cotrina, chief of the Public Prosecutor’s office and the coordinator of special prosecutions against organized crime. Senior Supreme Court Judge Luis Almenara Bryson presented these new tools of action against organized crime on Jan. 16, 2014 in the Palace of Justice. . Whenever a crime is reported, police face a series of challenges, Col. Víctor Gonzáles Silva, head of the PNP’s criminal investigation division for kidnappings told the website, Peru21. For example, law enforcement officers usually have just 24 hours to investigate a detainee before they would have to release him or her. The new protocols for law enforcement officers in per “represent a major breakthrough,” said José Luis García Villena, communications director for the State Bar Association of Lima. “The protocols and the guide are essential in the fight against criminal organizations, crime, and the current public insecurity situation in Peru.” center_img Digital security International drug trafficking By Dialogo March 16, 2014 International cooperation with the FBI complement the continuing efforts of Peruvian security forces to destroy coca crops, intercept illegal flights loaded with cocaine, and purchase equipment and technology to fight against transnational criminal organizations. According to García Villena, “The success of these actions depends on cooperation between institutions and Peruvian society” García Villena said. “We have to form a united front to combat public insecurity, terrorism, and drug cartels.” All countries in the world should cooperate and share intelligence information to fight against these organizations, García Villena said.last_img read more

Unfair to blame buggies for crashes

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionThe Jan. 13 article, “Quaint buggies among Amish, with a deadly side,” by Corey Kilcannon, New York Times Service, struck me as a case of blame-the-victim. I felt its tone was below the standard. The picture’s caption stated, “A surge in the population of Amish and Mennonites in northern New York has produced more buggies on the state’s roads, which has led to more accidents with motor vehicles.” The author states: “The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recorded 71 buggy crashes nationwide, resulting in 84 deaths, for a five-year period from 2011 to 2015.”  The “17 fatalities” in 2016 is about the same.For perspective, an open source article out of the University of Iowa reported by Science Daily, states “in nine Midwestern states (combined) … more than 1,100 farm vehicle crashes … (occur) each year (2005-2010), often causing severe or fatal injuries.” Lighting and marking farm vehicles reduced crashes.Fundamentally, a rear-end collision “is nearly always the striking driver’s fault.”The “quaint buggies” article states “officials say: Vehicles zoom up behind the much slower buggies and rear-end them, often plowing right through the lightweight fiberglass or wooden coach and into the horse.”Greer PomeroyDuanesburg More from The Daily Gazette:Local movie theater operators react to green lightSchenectady County warns of possible COVID-19 exposure at Schenectady restaurant, Rotterdam barFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristslast_img read more

Winning Post – Assessing tax hikes in Ireland

first_imgIn this context, an ad ban as a ‘big but simple’ political reaction is perhaps unsurprising – and not one being resisted much, if at all, by incumbents (tellingly, the CEO of one of the biggest multi-jurisdiction omnichannel businesses is now calling for a pre-watershed ban in the UK, albeit largely aimed at TV football). With this political backdrop, will the EU listen to LeoVegas’s reasoned arguments for better ways to protect players? We doubt it – it is the wrong time and, worse, the wrong audience: the public, press, regulators and politicians need persuading – not the EC executive or the courts, or attempts to overturn broadly supported laws (outside elements of the gambling industry) are likely to lead to even more draconian domestic interventions.Australia: POC and privatisation – Hobson’s choice?Western Australia (pop. 2.6m, 11% total) has announced that it will privatise RWWA (c. AUS$330m revenue; 50+ year lease; almost certainly to Tabcorp – representing a potential 13% increase in wagering revenue) and set a 15% POC tax to commence next year. WA therefore joins SA, NSW, ACT and Victoria in adopting POC legislation, now covering (or about to cover) 97% of Australia by population and suggesting a blended rate of 11% GGR nationally. As has been well reported, this rapid take-up of state taxes comes on top of Federal GST (10%, part recoverable through the supply chain) and product fees (c. 20%; largely horseracing). Australia’s CB tax burden has now reached uncompetitive levels, in our view; likely driving greater levels of economic consolidation than consumer choice would demand, and thereby adding to black market leakage (along with the bans of gaming and in-play), regardless of the fact that that the majority of the taxes do not impact price (though mitigated in part because Australia is such a distinctive market in terms of product: expertise in in-play football, tennis and basketball counts for very little, even in the black market). Is a tax rate of 20-30% GGR equivalent too high? We think that is hard to argue, certainly at the lower end of the range most relevant to retail. There are issues with unrecoverable input VAT, but that is a problem for the gambling industry globally and not Ireland-specific. There are also issues with VAT as gaming tax not being recognised as an industry contribution, but that does not apply to retail (no gaming) and is a structural issue with how VAT/GST is perceived by Treasuries across the world. Was 1% turnover (effectively a c. 10% GGR duty) ‘penal’ – we really struggle with that also, certainly other consumer sectors in Ireland do not pay it, but other sectors do face a consumer price increase of 19% due to VAT, which does not apply to betting – the ‘real economy’ equivalent of a turnover tax (recoverable, but still effectively paid in full by the consumer whenever they buy goods or services). That Irish betting shops paid business taxes as well like all other businesses is hardly remarkable. Share This appears to be a significant move by the WPBSA. Typically, sports bodies will only issue provisional suspensions in such cases when the evidence is particularly damning and / or the individual concerned poses an on-going threat to the integrity of the sport. Jones is a relatively high-profile player, and the suggestion that he has been involved in fixing a match involving other players means that the detail of the case and eventual outcome of the hearing will be eagerly awaited by the sport, and anyone involved in protecting sports betting integrity.Global: M&A Watch – The Stars Group / Sky Betting & Gaming; NEP Group / SIS LIVE; Scientific Games / Don Best; MGM / GVC / UAIC; Penn / Pinnacle.The CMA has announced that it has investigated and cleared the completed acquisition by Stars UK of Sky Betting & Gaming.NEP Group (global technical production outsourcing) has announced the acquisition of SIS LIVE, which will be rebranded as NEP Connect.Scientific Games Corporation has reached agreement to acquire Don Best Corporation and DBS Canada Corporation, with the deal expected to complete in Q4 2018.MGM and GVC have announced a partnership with the United Auburn Indian Community (operator of Thunder Valley Casino Resort) in California.Penn National Gaming has received approval of its acquisition of Pinnacle Entertainment from the Federal Trade Commission, Nevada Gaming Commission, and the Nevada Gaming Control Board. The acquisition is expected to complete in mid-October TVBET passes GLI test for five live games in Malta and Italy August 25, 2020 CT Gaming bolsters Italian profile with The Betting Coach  August 27, 2020 Flutter moves to refine merger benefits against 2020 trading realities August 27, 2020 The demand-side danger now is that a once over-extended retail sector will be cut to below the point of demand equilibrium, meaning retail-only bettors will lose access (though a 35% cut in supply would only take Ireland to 10% below the UK in shop density per head of population, while online is an increasingly ubiquitous replacement across demographics). More serious for Irish horseracing would be bookmaker attempts to reduce the effective tax rate by pushing much higher margin non-racing products (eg, football multiples), while also seeking to reduce horseracing content costs. Both are almost inevitable, in our view, but both can be mitigated by producing high quality, competitive horseracing from a well-funded base that Irish punters still love. The best mitigation all round, therefore, is for Irish bookmakers to work with Irish horseracing to ensure that the sector is producing high quality betting product (especially fewer short-priced favourites) as well as a high quality racing product (and, given its importance to the Irish betting market, to use all levers possible to ensure that GB is doing the same). Betting in Ireland has also enjoyed a significant level of long-term tax reductions: betting duty was fully 20% of turnover before 1986, 10% until 1999, 5% until 2002 and 2% until 2006. Tax cuts and economic growth led to a boom in supply as well as demand, with customers getting much more value and the number of betting shops peaking at nearly 1,400 in 2008 (representing massive and unsustainable over-supply, not halcyon days, in our view). As we have noted elsewhere (see blog “Price Wars”), the two key issues with turnover taxes are their price distorting effects (albeit only at the keenest-priced singles markets at 2%) and the fact that they treat different products differently (eg, at 2% turnover: football in-play online = c. 40% GGR tax; SSBT in retail = c. 10% GGR tax). Horseracing, still by far the most popular betting product in Ireland, sits in the middle of these two extremes. Overall, the GGR equivalent of the tax will be c. 20-30%, depending upon product/customer mix, channel (to an extent) and value proposition.   The position of Irish bookmakers highlights three things to us, from a policy standpoint. First, railing against a 1% turnover duty – among the lowest in the world by any measure – makes the reasoned opposition to almost any other point look questionable (and therefore easily discounted). Second, expecting the state to support horses and dogs without a coherent alternative (whatever stakeholders’ thoughts on the value or legitimacy of subsidies, or the overall cost of content) simply created a time-bomb, in our view. Third, the lack of an effective gaming duty, despite now being a core (offshore) online product for licensed domestic bookmakers, means that the levers available to policy makers were significantly reduced – making a ‘big but simple’ response almost inevitable.  center_img On Tuesday the Irish government announced a doubling of betting duty to 2% of turnover in its 2019 Budget (with exchange duty increasing by two-thirds to 25%) – effective from 1 January 2019. The likelihood of an increase had been well trailed as well has having cross-party support, though it was still treated with shock by the Irish betting sector. PPB announced that the increase would cost a further £20m (€23m) on H217-H118 pro-forma figures, suggesting little in the way of possible mitigation. The Irish Bookmakers Association, already describing the 1% turnover tax as ‘penal’ predicted the end of the independent sector as well as material closures among the chains – estimating 35% of Irish shops closing due to the increase (or c. 300 outlets). Ireland therefore joins the UK, Italy, Germany, Australia and Japan in tightening fiscal-regulatory pressure on traditional forms of mass-market gambling, as well as seeing online as a source of further tax revenue. So how did it come to this in Ireland (arguably more the ‘home of betting’ than anywhere), and is it the end for Irish betting as we know it?Ireland’s fiscal-regulatory set up regarding gambling is largely driven by legacy. First, commercial gaming is not licensed, though it does attract VAT at an effective rate of 18.7% GGR (23/123) – this is paid but largely unrecognised as a sector tax since in theory VAT falls on the consumer (not in practice in gaming as price cannot be effectively adjusted). Second, betting duty has historically been hypothecated to supporting the Irish horseracing and greyhound industries. These command a state subsidy of c. €80m pa (2018), with horseracing getting a 4.7% increase in 2019 to €67.2m (80%, 20% to dogs). The fairly obvious problem with this figure is that the 1% turnover tax, even when applied to online, did not cover the cost (expected to yield c. €55m in 2018) – leaving Irish racing subsidised out of general taxation: hardly a sustainable position. UK: In Parliament – Suicide Unlikely to be PainlessAfter the long summer break and the shorter recess for party conferences, Parliament returned in earnest this week; and the battle on gambling policy was re-joined in both the Commons and the Lords.In case any of us had forgotten the mess that British gambling is in, we were swiftly reminded by the twin scourges of the industry (and Government policy), Carolyn Harris (Lab, Swansea East) and Lord Chadlington (Cons).Predictably, Harris led proceedings with four Parliamentary Questions on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals. She found three different ways to ask when the stake reduction (from £100 to £2) would take effect as well as enquiring about the Government’s assessment of impact on jobs. On a related point, Harris also sought clarification on how much revenue an increase in remote gaming duty would bring in (at 18%, 19% and 20%).In the upper chamber, Lord Chadlington enquired about the merits of establishing a national strategy for the prevention of gambling-related harms, suggesting either that he is unaware of the National Responsible Gambling Strategy (currently nearing the end of its three-year term) or that he doesn’t hold it in very high esteem.Lord Chadlington went on to enquire about the proportion of Police call outs involving gambling-related mental health issues. The Tory peer may have made his name in the stereotypically superficial realm of public relations but his interest in gambling-related harm is both long-lasting and deep. More than any other parliamentarian, Lord Chadlington has got to grips with the subject of gambling-related harm. Over the course of the last eight months, Lord Chadlington has submitted 36 written Parliamentary Questions on gambling policy, covering mental health issues, effects on children, isolation, crime, treatment provision and suicide. It is critical that operators rise to the challenge on the subject of harm if the industry is to avoid getting swept away on a tide of public health concerns; and suicide is likely to be the most potent issue of all. Under current proposals, attempts will soon be made to record gambling involvement in coroner reports on cases of suicide; and GambleAware has recently commissioned a (fairly modest) study of the subject.The pressure group, Gambling with Lives (set up by the bereaved families of gambling-related suicide victims) has quickly established itself as a force within gambling policy discourse and has attracted the attention of national broadcast media. Next month, it will host its inaugural parliamentary reception. The gambling minister, Tracey Crouch (Cons, Chatham & Aylesford) and the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, Tom Watson (Lab, West Bromwich East) are believed to have accepted invitations to speak at the event; and it seems likely that they may be joined by Jackie Doyle-Price (Cons, Thurrock) who was this week appointed to the newly created role of Suicide Prevention Minister.The causes of any suicide are often complex and where gambling is involved it is likely to be only part of the story; but in the current political climate, there is little room for complexity and low tolerance for nuance.UK: esports – cutting through the hype…The British Film Industry has released its annual Screen Business Report, which details the contribution of video games and eSports (along with other more obvious screen-based entertainment) to the UK economy (for 2016). While the strong, export-led and well supported video games business generated an impressive GVA of £2.9bn, eSports managed a paltry £18.4m. Certainly, some of this is timing, with material growth possible in the nearly two years that have passed from the basis period. However, it also highlights the fact that the eye-catching figures of prize money and total market estimates are global and tend to be dominated by Far Eastern markets (China especially). eSports might be big globally, but its economic contribution in markets that are easy to access for ‘Western’ businesses tends to be very small – an uncomfortable truth that has direct bearing for most gambling companies looking to monetise the issue. Another point implicit in the data is that the UK video games industry has a lot at stake for what might be a very narrow prize: behind the hype, protecting IP and minimising regulation is likely to be a much greater priority for games publishers than capitalising on the esports market – with gambling almost certainly a step too far for most…Italy: ad ban challenge – right and wrong, or cause and effect?Another example of complaining about a bolting horse is LeoVegas’s decision to take Italy’s ad ban to the EU (or at least attempt to via a complaint to the Commission, which could lead to CJEU scrutiny). LeoVegas’s case is robust on fundamentals, in our view: the EU has recognised advertising as an important component of domestic regulated gambling supply (which it is) and an ad ban has not been demonstrated to be an effective way of protecting players (certainly not blanket and certainly not on its own). However, In an attempt to take a slice of one of the few functioning domestically regulated markets in Continental Europe of scale, a critical mass of operators spent far more than was sustainable in an effort to gain a toe-hold: the result was an overheating market, more marketing visibility than was commercially or politically desirable and a dysfunctional tail that has more in common with the .com universe than an effective regulated market (none of the successful Italian companies relied on advertising – instead, trading off superior localisation, omnichannel capabilities and product). Indeed, this dysfunctionality has been revealed by a material shortfall in Italian prospective online licensees for the new regime: just 80 licences between 70 companies rather than the hoped for c. 120, because the tail has been so inefficient – with applications confirmed before the Dignity Decree was made public. StumbleUpon Related Articles Not dissimilar to Ireland (see above), we see three underlying causes of this dysfunctionality. First, the state monopoly system could not cope with channel shift either commercially or legally (thanks to NT’s ability to provide ‘internal’ competition). Second, the absence of state taxes caused a fiscal and lobbying vacuum that was filled not by excess profits or over-supply (as in some markets), but by the sports bodies (horseracing especially), which became the chief ‘tax’ beneficiary of quasi .com fiscal status. Third, by railing against all forms of levy while a critical mass of Corporate Bookmakers ignored basic corporate and social responsibility, the sector made itself an easy (and easily justified) target. It is easy to blame other stakeholders or politicians ‘who do not understand’ – it is not politicians job to understand – once the politicians are involved it is usually too late for sophistication or even common sense: until the commercial gambling sector learns this lesson, the fiscal-regulatory casualty roster will keep mounting.Australia: gambling advertising – Racing Hits Bum Note in SydneyThe large-boned lady has yet to belt forth, but the days appear to be numbered for betting marketing as we know it in Australia.Plans by Racing New South Wales to use the ‘sails’ of Sydney Opera House as a billboard for the multi-million dollar Everest Horse Race hit the skids as protestors (including the veteran Aussie rocker, Jimmy Barnes) turned out in force to oppose the move.It is difficult to conceive how anyone thought this particular marketing wheeze would end well; but this has been the story for online betting in Australia in recent years. The more hostile the environment has turned, the more operators have courted controversy. Given that there was nothing technically wrong with the planned stunt, the episode serves to highlight the risks to reputation where companies operate in the no-man’s land between the letter of the law and claimed societal expectations.Global: snooker match-fixing – Jones and John suspended pending hearingJamie Jones, who reached the last 16 of the World Championship earlier this year, has been suspended by the WPBSA in connection with a match-fixing investigation. It is alleged that he was involved in a conspiracy to fix a match between David John and Graeme Dott in 2016.  John has already been suspended (in May); there is no suggestion of wrongdoing by Dott. Share Regulus Partners, the strategic consultancy focused on international gambling and related industries, takes a look at some key developments for the gambling industry in its ‘Winning Post’ column.Ireland: betting duty – they never had it so good…. Submitlast_img read more

No. 2 Wildcats Championship Game Bound After Taming No. 3 Lions

first_imgACU shot just 30.4 percent in the second half and went 6:13 without a point, yet was able to hold on thanks to Jaylen Franklin’s four free throws in the final 42 seconds. Franklin had just one field goal but was a perfect 10-for-10 from the line, finishing with 12 points. The Wildcats didn’t feel at ease about matters until a last-second heave from Southeastern Louisiana’s Von Julien fell short, giving them the chance to play for the tournament crown six years after rejoining the Southland Conference. Southeastern Louisiana (17-16) struggled without the services of All-Conference first teamer Moses Greenwood, who picked up two early fouls. Without their biggest interior threat, the Lions fell behind 37-27 at the half as they committed 12 of their 17 turnovers in the opening 20 minutes of play. Despite blowing a 13-point lead, No. 2-seed ACU survived the challenge of No. 3 Southeastern Louisiana in a 69-66 thriller that places the Wildcats (26-6) into Saturday’s tournament championship game against No. 4 New Orleans at 8:30 p.m. CT. The winner will get the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.MBB: Playing in their first Southland tournament, the @ACU_MBB Wildcats are GOING TO THE ‘SHIP! Run to the big backstage bracket, men! #GoWildcats #ChampWeek @ACUedu @ACUSports— #SouthlandStrong (@SouthlandSports) March 16, 2019 Using the trap to harass the Wildcats, the Lions trimmed the lead down and closed within 49-44 on a dunk from Kajon Brown with 7:58 left. Brown added more offensive spark when his 3-pointer at the 5:49 mark pushed the deficit to 53-51 before Tyron Brewer’s dunk off an alley-oop from Veal gave Southeastern its first lead at 56-55 with 3:17 left. ACU led by as much as 13 in the first half but then went into an extended offensive funk that saw them score only seven points in a span of 12:03 seconds in the first and second half. The Wildcats opened the second half 1-for-7 from the field and eventually opened the door for Southeastern to get back into the contest. To be on the verge of playing in the NCAA Tournament for the first time is a moment long coming for ACU, which had to sit out four years after returning to the conference.The lead is 37-27 after a @JayFrank0 steal and dish to @jarenlewis for the bucket. #GoWildcats— ACU Mens Basketball (@ACU_MBB) March 16, 2019 “With Moses picking up those two fouls, it was tough,” said Southeastern guard Marlain Veal, the team’s All-Southland first teamer who scored 20 points and added six assists in his final game as a Lion.center_img Greenwood (10 points, five rebounds) gave the Lions their final lead at 59-57 after a layup with 2:07 left. However, ACU’s Payten Ricks responded with a 3-pointer that gave the Wildcats the lead for good with 1:59 remaining. Box Score | Photo GalleryKATY, Texas – Arriving at the Merrell Center was worth the wait for Abilene Christian, who finally played its first Southland Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament game on Friday night in Katy. Thanks to clutch defense and a couple of huge baskets down the stretch, the Wildcats will spend one more day in town with a chance to head to the NCAA Division I Men’s Tournament at stake. “We knew how important it is to make them turn the ball over,” said Wildcats forward Jaren Lewis, who had 17 points, 11 boards and two assists. “They’ve been pretty good at what they run since I’ve been at ACU, so we knew that was a point of emphasis. We knew we had to get after them defensively and be aggressive.” “We got off to a great start, but in the second half we couldn’t see the ball go through,” said ACU coach Joe Golding. “But we continued to guard and continued to rebound. Rebounding was the most important factor and we ended up tied on the glass (31-31).” “That was a huge, huge shot,” said Lions’ coach Jay Ladner. “That might have been the difference in the game.” “We came from a program that didn’t have a lot of success, but these kids stuck with me,” said Golding. “At the end of the day, we’re 40 minutes away from the NCAA Tournament. Six years ago, that was a pipe dream.”last_img read more