Farm Service Agency Stands Ready to Assist Agricultural Producers Slammed by Recent Heavy Rains

North Carolina Farm Service Agency (FSA) reminds farmers and ranchers across the state of federal farm program benefits that may be available to help eligible producers recover from recent heavy rains and flooding.

FSA offers disaster assistance and low-interest loan programs to assist agricultural producers in their recovery efforts following floods or similar qualifying natural disasters. Available programs and loans include:

MEMPHIS, TN—Five men have been indicted for their roles in a shipping theft scheme that defrauded FedEx of more than $1.7 million.

The defendants include:

Christopher T. Crawford, 31, Memphis, former FedEx material handler
Akeem Gowdy, 23, Memphis, former FedEx material handler
Tavaris Mickens, 23, Memphis, former FedEx supervisor
Juan Royal, 24, New York City, co-conspirator
Jordan West, 27, New York City, co-conspirator

Forecasters at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center issued the U.S. Winter Outlook favoring cooler and wetter weather in Southern Tier states with above-average temperatures most likely in the West and across the Northern Tier. This year’s El Niño, among the strongest on record, is expected to influence weather and climate patterns this winter by impacting the position of the Pacific jet stream.

“A strong El Niño is in place and should exert a strong influence over our weather this winter,” said Mike Halpert, deputy director, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “While temperature and precipitation impacts associated with El Niño are favored, El Niño is not the only player. Cold-air outbreaks and snow storms will likely occur at times this winter. However, the frequency, number and intensity of these events cannot be predicted on a seasonal timescale.”

Six Children Recovered, 52 Johns Arrested in the Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO—Officials from the FBI and 30 Bay Area law enforcement agencies have recovered 149 underage trafficking victims and arrested 153 pimps in a nationwide human trafficking operation conducted throughout the United States last week. The initiative, dubbed Operation Cross Country IX, is a national effort spearheaded by the FBI and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, along with state and local law enforcement partners across the country. The initiative, now in its ninth year, targets the criminal enterprises responsible for the commercial sex trafficking of children.

The youngest victim in this year’s operation was 12 years old.   more...
PHOENIX – Silent Witness is offering a cash reward of up to $50,000 for information that leads to the arrest of those responsible for multiple shooting incidents on Arizona freeways.

Detectives within the Arizona Department of Public Safety (ADPS) continue to investigate a number of shooting incidents occurring on the freeways in the Phoenix metropolitan area dating back to August 29, 2015.

CHICAGO—Two foreign nationals have been indicted on federal fraud charges for running a $10 million telemarketing scam that targeted elderly investors in the United States.

Jonathan Papa and Methsiri “Lal” Palliyaguru sold phony investments in certificates of deposit and real estate to nearly 200 investors, primarily American senior citizens, according to an eight-count indictment returned Wednesday afternoon in U.S. District Court in Chicago. The unsuspecting investors had been identified through online research of American retirement communities, and then contacted by call centers operated by Papa and Palliyaguru in the Philippines. In some of the calls and promotional materials, Papa and Palliyaguru knowingly misrepresented that Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway were involved with the purported real estate investments, according to the indictment.

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