L.A. still at risk of attack

first_img“We are not safe and we will not be safe for many years,” LAPD Deputy Chief Mark Leap said at the forum sponsored by the university’s School of Public Affairs. “There are many, many more people who consider themselves jihadists now. And criminal enterprises are being used to support terrorist activities.” Officials said the links between organized crime and terrorism are particularly troubling in light of a message posted on an al-Qaida Web site saying the group wants to kill 4 million Americans in retribution for the number of Muslims killed by the U.S. and its allies in recent years. “Al-Qaida recently announced on their Web site that they have two main targets – Los Angeles and Melbourne, Australia,” said Michael Intriligator, a terrorism expert and UCLA professor who moderated the forum. “I don’t know why they picked Melbourne, but Los Angeles was specifically mentioned as a target for their next terrorist attack.” Intriligator said Los Angeles has a number of potential targets, including LAX, its downtown skyscrapers and the nation’s largest port complex. He is especially concerned about the potential for an attack using a black-market nuclear device. “I think we are not at all prepared for this and we are living in what psychologists call a state of denial,” Intriligator said. “It’s such a horrendous thing to think about. We think it happened way back in 2001 and that it can’t happen again.” Gang involvement Sheriff’s Department Lt. John Sullivan, who helped found the county’s Terrorism Early Warning Group that has since been emulated by 26 cities nationwide, said organized crime groups in Los Angeles County are supporting international terrorists. “Al-Qaida has stated their intent to obtain nuclear weapons,” he said. “Whether they can do so is unknown. They have often in the past made good on their threats. So it’s reasonable to believe that it’s viable. “As far as attacking Los Angeles, they have attempted to attack Los Angeles in the past. It’s reasonable to believe they will again.” Sullivan also said officials are concerned about the notorious MS-13 street gang and its involvement in human smuggling and other activities on behalf of organized crime syndicates. “MS-13 has a lot of the characteristics that could facilitate terrorist activities,” Sullivan said. Brian Michael Jenkins, a terrorism expert at the Rand Corp., said officials are especially concerned about growing organized criminal activity and lawlessness in parts of Mexico and South America, the erosion of government authority and whether terrorist groups can exploit the situation to attack the U.S. “When we have criminal organizations becoming more powerful than the government then we will end up with increasing militarization along the southern border,” Jenkins said. Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Jenkins said, the U.S. government has made undeniable progress in degrading the capabilities of al-Qaida, destroying its training camps, disrupting its flow of funding and thwarting a number of terrorist plots around the globe. “But we’ve had failures as well,” Jenkins said. “What we have not been able to do is dent their determination one bit. We have not been able to stop them from turning angry young men around the world into self-destructing terrorists.” troy.anderson@dailynews.com (213) 974-8985 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Are we safer today from terrorists than we were on 9-11? No, according to a panel of experts at a forum Monday at University of California, Los Angeles. America is just as vulnerable to attack as it was on 9-11, with street gangs funding terrorist groups and also draining resources from law enforcement agencies working to head off future attacks. The experts said the war on terrorism has been replaced by the war on gangs – a huge concern in Los Angeles, which has an estimated 40,000 gang members and is an attractive target for terrorists. last_img read more

See More

French glamour club PSG turns to China for fans… and funds

first_imgPSG’s Asian fan base has grown while its social media presence has exploded along with the French club’s rising profile following the signings of world football’s most expensive player Neymar and French teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe.Riding the wave of rising popularity, the French club with the Eiffel Tower logo took advantage of the Asian tour to open a permanent office in Singapore.“With the growth the club has enjoyed in recent years, along with the arrival of our two superstars Neymar and Mbappe, we thought that now was a good time to do it, it was the right moment,” said Sébastien Wasels, the club’s Asia Pacific director.French glamour club PSG is looking to Asia for fans, and funds © AFP / FRANCK FIFEHe said the Qatari-owned club with ambitions to dominate Europe needs the base to handle rising Asian growth opportunities.And the club that could face sanctions by European football’s governing body UEFA for allegedly violating regulations over spending limits needs to significantly boost its income.PSG says that it has signed several commercial deals in the region including a multi-million euro partnership with marketing agency Desports for sponsorship and licensing rights in China and Hong Kong.– Younger generation –The club has also pinpointed three geographical growth areas in Asia and plans to hire a team of five expert locals to focus on business development opportunities in China, South Korea/Japan, and Southeast Asia/Oceania.During the club’s brief summer Asia stay that included matches in Singapore and the French Super Cup final against Monaco in Shenzhen, PSG hosted a range of promotional events.Paris Saint-Germain’s Neymar Jr and celebrate with the trophy at the end of the French Cup final © AFP / FRANCK FIFEThe included a cooking class by the club’s Brazilian defender Marquinhos and a training session for young players at China’s “PSG Academy” by former star player Maxwell, now part of the PSG management team.PSG’s eSports section was also brought into play to woo the younger generation, hosting a FIFA video tournament for 400,000 participants on local platforms to boost the club’s active gaming sector.PSG’s social media footprint in Asia is rapidly expanding, says the club.“When QSI (Qatar Sports Investments, the club’s owners since 2011) took over, we had a million social media followers globally: 90 percent in France“Today we have 60 million… 90 percent outside France. No other sports entity has had that scale of digital growth.”0Shares0000(Visited 5 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Paris Saint-Germain’s Neymar and teammate Kylian Mbappe celebrate after a French Cup goal scored against Rennes in January © AFP / LOIC VENANCESHENZHEN, China, Aug 8 – After three pre-season tours in a row to the United States, French glamour club Paris Saint-Germain turned to Asia in search of new fans and business deals ahead of the new season.It’s the market “with the biggest growth potential,” according to a PSG official discussing the club’s two-week summer trip to Singapore and China.last_img read more

See More