Arizona Gun dealer armorer to Mexico gangs

Police Photo/Daylife/AP Photo

Law-enforcement agents on both sides of the U.S.-Mexican border will be watched closely as a Valley businessman accused of supplying assault rifles to Mexican drug cartels went on trial.

The case has drawn international attention as a landmark effort against gunrunning and because of the cooperative work between Mexican and U.S. authorities. Mexican prosecutors sat in on suspect interviews and provided investigative materials for the case.

Court papers claim dealers in Arizona and other states bordering Mexico provide three- quarters of the black-market firearms to Mexico, a nation that strictly controls gun ownership. Phoenix is considered a hub for illegal exportation of AK-47s, SKS rifles, .50-caliber rifles and other weapons favored by narcotics gangsters.

In Phoenix, a store called X-Caliber was raided last year after multiple weapons in Mexican shootouts were traced back to the store. Owner George Iknadosian, 47, is accused of selling more than 700 “weapons of choice” to straw buyers, knowing that the firearms were bought on behalf of narcotics syndicates.

His co-defendants have pleaded guilty, with most getting reduced charges and sentences in return for cooperation with the prosecution.

The important part of this case is the number of weapons that ended up at crime scenes in Mexico,” Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard said. “There’s no question that he (Iknadosian) was a specialist. He was able to get the weapons they wanted in the volumes they needed…”

Throw away the key!

The 300-year History of Internet Dating

Almost everyone these days can name a couple they know that met on the Internet, though it wasn’t so long ago that skimming the online personals for love was considered strange, even a bit desperate…

Internet dating is just the modern version of the first “matrimonial” agencies of the 1700s, which helped lonely bachelors search for wives through printed ads, said author H.G. Cocks, a history lecturer at the University of Nottingham, UK. In between, the social acceptance of personals has waxed and waned with the times…

It only took a few decades after the invention of the modern newspaper in 1690 for the new medium to become a way for people to meet in Britain. Matrimonial agencies were big business there by the early 18th century, printing ads on behalf of men who paid the agency to recruit them a good wife. Being single passed the age of 21 was considered almost shameful in that era, and the ads were often a last resort for the men who advertised and the women who read them. If a match resulted, it is unlikely that you boasted the fact to your friends, Cocks said…

Personal ads went mainstream in the early 20th century, with expectations at a much lower level than their earlier incarnations. Many of the postings were simply calls for friends or pen pals, becoming especially popular among single servicemen, called “lonely soldiers,” during World War I…

Personals died away again until the 1960s, when ads became part of the growing counterculture in the UK, along with drug experimentation and the Beatles, the author explains. Like the latter, though, it took some time for the personal ad to be accepted by the Mom-and-Pop public…

The difference between the personal ads of the previous centuries and today’s is the age of those using Internet dating sites, according to statistics. The core demographic of those publicly “looking for love” has been turned on its head, with people settling down and marrying much later (if at all) in Western cultures. Internet sites tend to favor older singles, many of whom turn to the technology after a divorce or traditional forms of courtship have failed, Cocks said.

I forget that Personals and Internet dating is still a big deal for some stiffs. Cripes. One of my cousins met her hubbie online 20 years ago. They have a long and happy relationship.

Better off than a lot of folks who relied on church socials. Though it still depends on your community. Even though I was an atheist by 13, I kept on with church for 5 more years because it was the best place in my neighborhood to meet girls.

Cricket massacre exposes a failing state – six years worse than it was

Daylife/Reuters Pictures

The grainy CCTV footage showing the escape of the Lahore killers has none of the drama of an action movie getaway, yet all the atmosphere of a Hitchcock film. Less than four minutes after blasting a tour by the Sri Lanka cricket team into carnage, the perpetrators are seen strolling calmly through the narrow back streets of Liberty market.

It is their nonchalance that is most chilling. One sequence shows a man arriving on a motorbike in a deserted street. Two others with guns slung over their shoulders mount the bike, which drives off. They look like men confident of not being caught.

Six policemen and a driver were killed while six players and two assistant coaches were wounded.

Even in a country increasingly inured to violence…there was outrage at both the audacity of the onslaught and its targeting of a cherished sport…

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