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EL UNIVERSAL (Mexico)

SAN JOSÉ - The Costa Rican capital is where Los Charros, a Central American drug cartel with links to to one of Mexico's biggest mafia families, picks up cocaine to transfer through Central America. And Los Charros has found a way to launder money to cover up its trafficking revenue: by purchasing and registering vehicles and property in the name of Evangelical Churches, El Universal reports.

At least one religious foundation was identified by tax authorities as actively taking part of the cartel network.

Several of the cartel's leaders were sentenced to 27 years in prison in Nicaragua this past March, and their prosecution shed some light onto the cartel's methods. Los Charros is run from Guatemala, and its members include nationals of several Central American countries.

One member, captured in May 2011, was a judge in Nicaragua and is suspected of being a key piece in a network of document forgery. Los Charros also used hardware stores, construction companies and transportation companies to launder its drug cash.

The cartel mainly transported cocaine that was bought in Costa Rica and then transported through Nicaragua and into Guatemala in fleets of cars and trucks, El Universal reports. It is believed to work in association with Mexican drug cartels.


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Coronavirus

In Shanghai, A Brewing Expat Exodus As COVID Crackdown Shows "Real" China

Not only strict rules of freedom of movement as part of Zero-COVID policy but also an increase in censorship has raised many questions for the expat population in the megacity of 26 million that had long enjoyed a kind of special status in China as a place of freedom and openness. A recent survey of foreigners in the Chinese megacity found that 48% of respondents said they would leave Shanghai within the next year.

People walk in Tianzifang, located in Huangpu District, a well-known tourist attraction in Shanghai.

Lili Bai

SHANGHAI — On the seventh day of the lockdown, Félix, a French expat who has worked in Shanghai for four years, texted his boss: I want to "run,' mais je sais pas quand (but I don’t know when). A minute later, he received a reply: moi aussi (me too).

Félix had recently learned the new Mandarin word 润 (run) from social network postings of his local friends. Because its pinyin “rùn” is the same as the English word “run,” Chinese youth had begun to use it to express their wish to escape reality, either to “be freed from mundane life”, or to “run toward your future.”

For foreigners like Félix, by associating the expression “run” with the feeling of the current lockdown in Shanghai, “everything makes sense.” Félix recalled how at the end of March, the government denied rumors of an impending lockdown: “My Chinese colleagues all said, Shanghai is China’s top city, there would be no lockdown no matter what.”

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