Tag Archives: International Business Times

Mere consideration

An article was given today in the Guardian. We can argue in many ways, there is no ‘Yay’ or ‘Nea’, there is no setting that gives rise to anything wrongfully reported (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jul/27/cassie-sainsbury-to-serve-six-years-in-colombian-jail-after-judge-accepts-plea-deal). The question that formed in my mind was all about the previous part, all about the part ignored. The Daily Telegraph (at http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/cassie-sainsbury-worked-as-a-prostitute-former-colleague-says-shes-a-compulsive-liar/news-story/e3897bc910b3c4d5d7f97d6b8eb406bc) states “the 22-year-old was a former sex worker who spent months working in a Western Sydney brothel in the lead up to her ill-fated ­Colombian trip“, another source gives us that she worked for Club 220. It does not make an impact, what does give us the goods is that this 22 year old went to Columbia of all places. I have nothing against Columbia, I worked with the Colombian presidential guards in 1982, all dedicated to their nation, a little fanatic, but all believing in what they did. Yet as a tourist, Colombia would never be on my list. Rio might (not too likely), yet Buenos Aires definitely would be on my list. Still from Australia that is not the most affordable trip. The cheapest was $2400 return whilst Buenos Aires is offered at $1750, all this whilst Jakarta is merely $270 away. Now, she might not like Indonesia, that’s fair. Yet in all this, Colombia is not the actual most desired place to go to. Some, especially those with connections would feel different and that is fair too. In all this there has been very little reporting on the reasoning of the 22 year old and her choice of travel. So as the Sydney Morning Herald reports “The plea bargain was then explained: if the deal was accepted by the prosecutor, the defence and the judge, Ms Sainsbury would be sentenced to 6 years of prison instead of the potential 30 year sentence if she was found guilty” sounds nice, yet in all this, the deciding players behind this, the elements do not add up. How long until we get scores flying to Bogota, because the coffee is just so much fresher in the place where the beans are plucked. We need not wonder on the validity of choice, merely accept the freedom to choose. It is a point of view we can agree with to some extent, yet questions still rise.

Even as we seem to focus on: “the judge asked Ms Sainsbury if she had been coerced into taking the plea deal“, I wonder how a plea deal is coerced, is a plea deal not the best option she could have hoped for? Was the option to stay in prison for 6 years, or be forced into 30 years? It would be the other way round and as such, how much arm twisting would be required? When we see “Ms Sainsbury was caught at Bogota’s international airport in April, trying to smuggle 5.8 kilograms of cocaine inside 18 separate packages of headphones“, so how was this any good idea? To become an exporter of headphones, whilst JB-Hifi sells quality Sony headsets for $34 (and JBL for $50)? How was any of this a good idea? We know that according to urban folk tales that criminals tend to be not too intelligent, but this dim? Nope, I am not buying it! In addition adding 330 grams to a headset package; something like that gets noticed and real fast too!

In all this, the Daily Telegraph now becomes in addition a worry for Cassie Sainsbury in other ways too. We see this in the two quotes “a former colleague of Sainsbury, who told Nine News she worked with her at brothel Club 220 near Penrith, has accused her of being a compulsive liar who once pretended her mother had died from MS” and “The former colleague said she had donated money to Sainsbury to cover her mother’s funeral costs and was horrified to see images of her mother alive and well on television“. Another claim given is “According to the colleague, Sainsbury went under the name of “Claudia” and listed herself online as “19 years old … classy, fun and ready to please”“, which get us to the situation that if the reliability of the accused is found to be non-existing, there is the chance that the judge throws out the option of plea bargain as the defence of the accused was “she was “threatened” into becoming a mule by an international drugs syndicate“, if there was no threat, she becomes the instigator of smuggling for large profits and that sets her on that 30 year train ride to nowhere.

I found the quote “Sainsbury’s fiancé Scott Broadbridge maintained his partner was innocent during an interview with Seven’s Sunday Night program. He said she was employed by a mystery couple who paid her $1800 a week to travel the world to work for their cleaning business“, it is interesting as it is a better income than most people at ASIS get, and they get into a lot more hot water, being in better shape and having a near Olympian constitution and well above decent looks too, which applies to both the boys and the girls working there. All elements Cassie lacked (as well as other shortcomings in education and degrees), so which cleaning business is hiring people at almost $10K a month?

There is a level of befuddlement within me as parts of all these given items are accepted by media, the courts and apparently the gullible audience. In all this, the Sydney Morning Herald gives one additional Gem that the AAP seems to have missed. When we consider “Given that any amount over 5 kilos is considered “aggravated circumstances” and draws a higher penalty, Ms Sainsbury could be facing 30 years in Colombian prison“, so no matter who was involved, the issue of this element which could have been diminished by trying to smuggle 4.9 Kg instead of the 5.8Kg is showing to be an element, especially as the 18 headsets were already a joke, the difference of 50 grams per headset would still have been noticed, but overall, on the two elements (apart from the mindlessness of trying to personally export 18 headsets whilst you are competing against players you have no chance against), we see that there is an element of stupid greed coming in. When drug tourism relied on the elements of stupid and gullible (added with two tits and a vagina to make the package even more appealing), whomever was linked in all this, going for the lower threshold of staying below 5000 grams might have had another (read: better) impact.

This is not merely the limitations of a system, this is a different circus. The Australian Daily Telegraph is also giving us “Bogota hotel manager describes man whom accused drug mule says tricked her into smuggling cocaine“, in addition; the quotes given give additional light on the less factually given job with $1800 a week. The quote “Ms Hernandez saying she stood out at her hotel because she arrived without a reservation and paid for her accommodation only two days at a time“, would a ‘business‘ trip not be prearranged? How would the ‘cleaning business‘ continue without a clear itinerary as well as clear invoices? In addition to that, the quote which is seen in news.com.au “Earlier it was revealed the US Drug Enforcement Agency reportedly alerted Colombian authorities to their suspicions about Ms Sainsbury. “We found her because of an alert from the DEA [Drug Enforcement Agency],” Bogota airport’s narcotics chief, Commander Rodrigo Soler, told News Corp Australia” the entire mess gets another image entirely. If the given is true, not only is the entire mess as I personally speculate it to be a farce, there is every consideration that she was a 5.8Kg decoy for other parties to get out without a hitch. Consider the facts. She got into the hotel on April 3rd, left April 12th and got arrested on the airport. So in 9 days, she got approached, likely after a few days the ‘coercion‘ was made so in less than 7 days, a infiltrated drug ring got data to the DEA, the name and details forwarded to other parties so she could be arrested. So someone gave up $20,650 in goods (Colombian value of Cocaine), which in Australia would be $1.74 million. Is that what really happened, or was the actual catch to send two additional models (or a couple) each with 2,450 grams of cocaine (total value $1.45 million), whilst the total venture costed $35.5K and three plane tickets. It could just be me, yet when we hear screaming of a high profile drug dealer being caught on boarding the flight those getting of the plane in Sydney might have a lot more smooth sailing.

In the end, there is a chance that she was merely the patsy in this endeavour, whether it was a willing one or a coerced one is hard to tell, however the evidence is not in her favour at present. In light of all this, when we go back to Chapelle Corby who had a bag and a boogie board and decided to add more than the weight of a boogie board in Marijuana in a place that hates drugs with a passion, now we see equally less intelligent acts by a person nicknamed in the papers as ‘Ccocaine Cassie‘, yes, if all hedge funds managers were only that stupid the economy would have been in a much better place.

In my view, we cannot oppose the fact that the bulk of papers are merely reporting on what the AAP is giving them (read: reporting should be copy and paste), yet the ‘articles’ left me with merely common sense issues on nearly every level. In all this I wonder if the court and prosecutor had done their due diligence in addition to all this. Should we have expected more from the Australian Associated Press? They report themselves to be the “AAP is the media company that businesses turn to for news, information and publishing solutions. With breaking news firmly at our core, our vast range of products and services help clients connect with and engage their audiences. AAP is your integrated, simple solution“, yet the AAP made no mention of the 5Kg threshold and what is the verdict on both sides of that isle. In addition, something that was not on the list is the question on how many trips Cassie had been on since she turned 18? I would love to know how she got to decide on Bogota without knowing where else she had been, as that stands to the character of the accused. In addition, considering that the weight of a headset is around 200 grams, replacing that with in excess of 150% weight in cocaine seems even less intelligent. When we get an overdose of details on the lingerie of Kim Kardashian and a lack of facts and evidence in a reported drug hearing, the lack of questions asked all over the place is a little too deafening to my liking.

In all that, the valid words of immigration minister, Peter Dutton as we hear “People need to abide by the laws of that country. If not, they will face serious consequences,” might be well, but it falls on the ears of those stating ‘who the fuck cares?

This directly relates to the lack of visibility we see given to the defence lawyer of Cassie, in this as I see it, only the International Business Times gave any level of visibility to Orlando Herran. Here we see what was given to 60 minutes. With “someone on Craigslist offering a loan and a trip to London, she jumped at the opportunity. However, the itinerary was allegedly changed to Hong Kong, Los Angeles and Bogota“, how was that missed and changed to merely ‘a global cleaning service‘? Does this impede the reliability of the statements of the accused even further? That would be for the court to decide, but overall there has been a level of skipping that is just way too weird. In this the evidence also not reported on was who paid for the flight? Was it in cash (where was it paid) or credit card? All evidence not shown to the audience by the media either.

In the mere consideration here I see a failing on several sides and in all this there would be the required additional forensic digital investigation regarding the Craigslist as well, as it could be useful evidence. This entire event has too many holes and several unlooked places, especially when you consider that the DEA had its own role to play in all this.

 

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After the E3

I tend to not take Kotaku as a source (not for any negative reason), yet they have been hammering the nail on the head, even as they did not say it.  Their part ‘the losers’ starts with an image of the Xbox with the text ‘I witnessed the most powerful console ever‘, yes, hiding behind a technical detail whilst there is no proper space to store it is always a bad idea and I was happy to call the Microsoft presence literally a ‘waste of space‘ in my previous E3 article, so far I stand by it. Consider that the most powerful console has only 50% of storage space compared to a MacBook pro, which cannot do that level of gaming. Consider (taken Seagate 2.5″ drives as an example). The shift from 1TB to 2TB is $30, the shift from 2TB to 3TB is an additional $60. I do acknowledge that the 3TB drive is 8mm thicker, yet the dimensions of the 1TB and 2TB are identical, so twice the size for a mere $30 more, this is what makes the Xbox a joke. Sony might do the same, yet with Sony, you get the run on how to change it and there are good guides to show how to replace the hard drive. Plenty of gamers shelled out the additional $120 to get the space, with Microsoft it is not an option.

Now for the hardware, the Switch showed what fun was like and it has the games and more coming to keep us all happy. Both Sony and Microsoft failed us a little there. Now Sony was more about games, which is good and they just released the PS4pro, so this is not an issue, whilst the way they did it shows long term commitment, which is what gamers like. Now we see a changing market with any PS4 next to a Nintendo switch and it is a good day for gaming. Another visible event is that some of the better Xbox One exclusives are now making their way to Sony, so whilst the Sony exclusives grow, the Xbox exclusives list is starting to shrink. In addition, although not confirmed, the consoles Sony vs Microsoft was at 2:1 in 2015, some sources now give this a 6:1 setting. The PS4 has gone through the roof, with sales now surpassing 60 million consoles, meaning that they have surpassed the PS3 and could surpass the PS2 sales by 2018. I think it is a stretch, but part of me hopes so. Part of me can go towards Steve Ballmer with an ‘I told you so‘ state of mind. The weird think is that neither Mattrick nor Ballmer are stupid, they are decently intelligent and the conclusions I got to did not take a rocket scientist, which beckons who is drawing their marching orders and why are they on some track to force people to push data towards the Azure cloud? Why endanger your console market in this way?

By the way, pretty much NONE of the E3 attending press took a decent look at that, even the Guardian avoided the storage issue, which is a question for another day.

The only questionable part in it was the Bethesda Creation club. I think that it is not just about making money. The developer gets a share (as I understood it), so those with really good mods could stand to make $1-2 per quality mod. Now, I am not much of a mod fan, but there are a few really good ones and I would not begrudge the maker those $2 if need be. It would in addition up the ante for mod creators to become even better, which is not a bad thing. Finally, in some respects, a game like Fallout 3 (PC) went from awesome to beyond legendary, just because of some mods. Now, it might not be for all and that is fair enough, yet if your perception of a 90% game becomes a 98% game through the additional $2-$4 because of 1-2 mods, is that such a bad thing? It is up to the gamer to decide that, but I believe that there is some validity in the option. The validity is for them to come with it and for us to embrace those professional mods, or to ignore them. It should not impact the foundation (the original game) you bought.

In the end Nintendo did what it always does, it did something different, which is why I did not care about the WiiU and the failure I personally see it to be, from those ashes came the Switch and it rocks, going to the edge can get you big failures and massive hits, and the Switch could become their greatest hit yet, good for Nintendo! Yet, in fairness, there are media that really do not agree with me and that is fine. International Business Times was all but creating a shrine in the honour of the Xbox One X. The BBC is on my team when it comes to the Nintendo. They raised the issue that mattered for Nintendo; can the 100M units of Wii be equalled? I believe so! Now the Wii was backward compatible with the GameCube, which was my reason for getting it on day one, beyond that the Wii was a nice machine, yet it lacked a decent array of games. They let me down a little there. The Switch is already surpassing the game titles in the first year, compared to Wii 3 years, so they have that in the bag. Nintendo has in equal measure a few new IP options which can really make the Switch a phenomenal success. So from those points of view, the option of surpassing the 100M consoles seems like an easy mark. Even if the economy does not take a turn for the better, choosing between a Switch at $450 without 4K beats the Xbox One X at $500 with 4K gaming by close to 300%. So by the end of 2018 the console offset ‘Sony:Nintendo:Microsoft’ could end up being ‘13:9:2’. This would show Microsoft on how they truly bet on the wrong marketing horses. So I admit, it is a speculative prediction, yet the sales numbers are not that far off and my expected Nintendo growth is not unrealistic. Now, in the off season, the Switch is adding roughly a million users per month. I expect that the European summer, the upcoming games and upcoming festivity days could set it to a total of 10 million by the end of the year. If the economy kicks off a little stronger, it could go to 12 million, which means that in one year the Switch will equal the total Xbox One systems in the field. As more games come to switch, the added active users will fuel growth even stronger. Good games and word of mouth tends to do that, don’t take my word for it, and just look at the PS2 and PS4.

Yet, what more can we expect with the E3 behind us? Both the critics and people gave Super Mario Odyssey best of show, which fuels growth even more and it won by a substantial margin. Assassins Creed Origin did not win on any console or PC, they all had a different winner which was nice to see. Super Mario Odyssey also became best platformer, which is not really that big a surprise and again There was no win for Assassins Creed, which when we consider the stages of completion of the different games not too bad a negative. Again Nintendo got the best title for Strategy game. In this case ‘Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle‘, so as the laurels are handed to Nintendo in several ways. IGN wasn’t the only one with a voice, Gamesradar saw another part my way, they to just announced Ubisoft as the winner of 2017. It was a fair call and two brand new IP’s definitely boosts the score for Ubisoft. Gamesradar also shows one element the others did not, the lack of Indie developers. In regards to the PlayStation and the fact that this month Elite Dangerous will make it to PS4 is actually a big thing, it is one of the three top space games and now on PS4. The second is the remastered RPG original System Shock. Nightdrive Studios has enhanced a true original and so far has been able to capture the original suspense that System Shock brought us. The third one is unconfirmed from sources not that reliable, yet if true, Unknown Worlds with their open world RPG Subnautica will make waves. I reckon that the last two might bring additional hype to the Switch if they ever adapt those two for Switch. Games radar concurs; Nintendo is a winner, Xbox a loser. It is a harsh world for Microsoft and they might want to seriously consider in 2017 what their intent truly is, but as stated now the 4K and ‘strongest console ever‘ marketing gets them some media, yet in the end they poisoned their own customer base.

I think in the end it was a great E3, partially because Ubisoft and Nintendo amazed me with actual new stuff, which is what gets any gamer to the station ;-). I feel less negative about Bethesda than some of the ‘professional’ critics. Not sure why so negative as Bethesda delivered plenty, just some of their focus is VR, which might make them the legendary winner next year. In addition their new power puncher Prey was released a month before the E3, so there is that to consider. Finally there are more DLC’s coming for those games many love, so overall, we should not be too grumpy towards Bethesda.

So as the dust settles, we now get to wait another year for the next presentation of marketed hype by all the players. I for one will be very interested to see my own projection of Nintendo upcoming future. They have 5 optional new IP’s at their back and call and if they get 3 up and running, the run for Switch will grow more than even I predict which would be nice too. In the end, I am happy that the Nintendo message ‘it is about fun‘ that got through stronger than the need for 4K, which gives hope for gamers all over the world. For me personally, the moment it is a financial option, the Switch come in, perhaps a trade for my Xbox? I do hope that Nintendo will give us Pikmin, and Metroid Prime one and two, because those are the games I miss, and I will happily buy them again for the Switch, good gaming is just that, more good!

 

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