Judge denies El Chapo-wife embrace, deems too risky

Authorities escort Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzman from a plane to a waiting caravan of SUVs in New York(Reuters)
Updated 08 November 2018
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Judge denies El Chapo-wife embrace, deems too risky

  • Guzman has been held in solitary confinement since he was extradited to the US in January 2017
  • Guzman is on trial, accused of smuggling drugs into the United States over a quarter of a century

NEW YORK: The US judge overseeing the New York trial of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman ruled Thursday that the notorious drug baron could not hug his beauty queen wife, as requested, just before opening statements are to begin.
Guzman has been held in solitary confinement since he was extradited to the United States in January 2017, after twice escaping from prison in Mexico, subjected to the strictest inmate security protocols in the United States.
This week, with jury selection underway in a Brooklyn federal court for his trial, he asked Judge Brian Cogan, in a letter submitted by his lawyer, if he could greet and embrace wife Emma Coronel before opening statements begin next Tuesday, kicking off the substantive part of the four-month trial.
But while Cogan praised Guzman’s “exemplary” behavior in court and confinement to date, and for having “displayed considerable grace under pressure,” the request was denied as “contrary to all” security procedures.
Guzman, 61, is banned from communicating with or having any physical contact with 29-year-old Coronel, the mother of the couple’s seven-year-old twin girls.
The restrictions, Cogan noted, were “tailored to the government’s legitimate objectives of preventing” Guzman from “coordinating any escape from prison or directing any attack” on cooperating witnesses.
“This is especially true on the eve of trial, when the reality of the potential liability defendant faces if convicted may be setting in and his motivation to escape or threaten witnesses might be particularly strong.”
Guzman is on trial, accused of smuggling drugs into the United States over a quarter of a century, and is likely to spend the rest of his life behind bars in a maximum security US jail if convicted.
A jury of seven women and five men have been selected to determine whether Guzman is guilty on 11 trafficking, firearms and money laundering charges.


UK Cabinet to meet after Britain, EU reach draft Brexit deal

Updated 37 min 53 sec ago
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UK Cabinet to meet after Britain, EU reach draft Brexit deal

LONDON: Negotiators from Britain and the European Union have struck a proposed divorce deal that will be presented to politicians on both sides for approval, officials in London and Brussels said Tuesday.
After a year and a half of stalled talks, false starts and setbacks, negotiators agreed on proposals to resolve the main outstanding issue: the Irish border.
British Prime Minister Theresa May’s office said the Cabinet would hold a special meeting Wednesday to consider the proposal. Its support isn’t guaranteed: May is under pressure from pro-Brexit ministers not to make further concessions to the EU.
Ambassadors from the 27 other EU countries are also due to hold a meeting in Brussels on Wednesday.
May told the Cabinet earlier Tuesday that “a small number” of issues remain to be resolved in divorce negotiations with the European Union, while her deputy, David Lidington, said the two sides are “almost within touching distance” of a Brexit deal.
Britain wants to seal a deal this fall, so that Parliament has time to vote on it before the UK leaves the bloc on March 29. The European Parliament also has to approve any agreement.
Negotiators have been meeting late into the night in Brussels in a bid to close the remaining gaps.
The main obstacle has long been how to ensure there are no customs posts or other checks along the border between the UK’s Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland after Brexit.
Irish national broadcaster RTE said the draft agreement involves a common customs arrangement for the UK and the EU, to eliminate the need for border checks.
But May faces pressure from pro-Brexit Cabinet members not to agree to an arrangement that binds Britain to EU trade rules indefinitely.
May also faces growing opposition from pro-EU lawmakers, who say her proposed Brexit deal is worse than the status quo and the British public should get a new vote on whether to leave or to stay.
If there is no agreement soon, UK businesses will have to start implementing contingency plans for a “no-deal” Brexit — steps that could include cutting jobs, stockpiling goods and relocating production and services outside Britain.
Even with such measures in place, the British government says leaving the EU without a deal could cause major economic disruption, with gridlock at ports and disruption to supplies of foods, goods and medicines.
On Tuesday, the European Commission published a sheaf of notices outlining changes in a host of areas in the event of a no-deal Brexit. They point to major disruption for people and businesses: UK truckers’ licenses won’t be valid in the EU, British airlines will no longer enjoy traffic rights, and even British mineral water will cease to be recognized as such by the EU.
The EU said Tuesday it was proposing visa-free travel for UK citizens on short trips, even if there is no deal — but only if Britain reciprocates.
“We need to prepare for all options,” EU Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans said. On a deal, he said: “We are not there yet.”
Meanwhile, official figures suggest Brexit is already having an impact on the British workforce.
The Office for National Statistics said the number of EU citizens working in the country — 2.25 million— was down 132,000 in the three months to September from the year before. That’s the largest annual fall since comparable records began in 1997.
Most of the fall is due to fewer workers from eight eastern European countries that joined the EU in 2004.
Jonathan Portes, professor of economics at King’s College London, said the prospect of Brexit “has clearly made the UK a much less attractive place for Europeans to live and work.”