Organized crime spreading using modern technology UN panel told

Antonio Maria Costa, the Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) told the General Assembly’s Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee that his office had recently developed a composite index of organized crime, combining data on over 10 factors, and then ran the factors through the computers.”The results showed that sub-Saharan Africa appeared to be the region most affected by organized crime, followed by Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean,” he told the Third Committee yesterday.Among the factors UNODC studies, he said, were ” perceptions of organized crime and high-level corruption by business leaders, the extent of the grey economy, the degree of arms and tobacco smuggling, levels of human trafficking, car theft and money laundering.”Mr. Costa also told the Committee that criminals too, use advanced methods.”Modern technology enabled criminals to launder money, commit large-scale fraud, attack computer systems and disseminate paedophile material,” he said.Mr. Costa said Asia and the Andean countries had seen a “sizeable reduction” of opium and coca cultivation, with the exception of Colombia and Afghanistan. He also detected a “significant” reduction in cocaine and heroin abuse in North America and Western Europe but new markets had emerged in Eastern Europe, Russia and China. read more

Greener pipelines

first_imgPipelines are one of the themes of the December issue. A new approach to managing fauna during construction of major pipelines in Western Australia’s iron ore-rich Pilbara region has saved native wildlife, reduced costs and broadened workforce skills. Earlier this year the KT-OSD Joint Venture successfully completed the construction and commissioning of the 85 km connector from the Goldfields Gas Pipeline to a gas-fired power station at Rio Tinto’s West Angelas iron ore mine.In an address to the Australian Pipelines and Gas Association’s annual conference recently, Project Manager Keith Horstmann explained that changing the approach to managing fauna meant fewer animal losses and better training and work opportunities for the local traditional owners.“Trenches are essentially vast fauna pit traps stretching for kilometres,” Horstmann said. “Once in a trench, fauna face a lack of shelter, extreme heat, dehydration and predation – the cause of previous high fatality levels.”Regulators have since 2004 successfully forced new fauna management conditions which have helped stem fauna losses. However, this has also brought increasing expectations and escalating costs around the need for specialists such as zoologists to be present during a trenching program.“Our focus was on developing the skills needed to minimise fauna losses, which lead to an agreement to develop a unit of competency in fauna management recognised in the national training system, rather than just certificates of participation,” Horstmann said.“There was a larger upfront cost involved in developing this more intensive and tailored fauna training program, but the net cost saving to the West Angelas project was significant. We now hope to continue to work with Polytechnic West, regulators and indigenous employment agencies on future pipeline projects to achieve even better fauna management outcomes.”Rio Tinto Projects Area Manager Wal Terlecki said trenches posed a major environmental risk during pipeline construction and that he was delighted with how the joint venture had dealt with that risk.The KT-OSD Joint Venture elected to build its own fauna knowledge and wildlife handler skills by developing customised training including for indigenous trainees, on fauna identification, rescue and record keeping, and matching it with improved trench inspections and backfilling practices.When not required, the fauna handlers resumed their normal trade assistant or machinery operator duties, thus increasing site manpower efficiency and maximising the workforce’s fauna experience.last_img read more