New Orleans: 5 missing girls rescued, 30 sex offenders arrested- National & International News – MON 3Jan2022

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New Orleans: 5 missing girls rescued, 30 sex offenders arrested. Holiday’s over, but not travel chaos. Sudan junta: PM’s resignation leaves future in doubt.




New Orleans: Law enforcement find 5 missing girls and arrest 30 sex offenders

A months-long inter-agency law enforcement operation, dubbed “Operation Boo Dat”, has recovered 5 missing teens and rounded up more than 30 sex offenders in Louisiana. Operation Boo Dat was a joint task force with the U.S. Marshals Service New Orleans Task Force, the New Orleans PD and the Louisiana State Police taking part.

The rescued girls ranged in age from 14-17 and were victims of sex trafficking and sexual assault by adults.

Most of the 30 sex offenders arrested were charged with felony registration violations. These offenders failed to properly report changes of address. But police also caught up to a few felons wanted for more recent offenses. One of these,  Lorenzo Oliver,  was arrested on a charge of raping a 12-year-old girl in an abandoned New Orleans residence in December. Oliver already had one arrest and one conviction on serious sex crimes. Another, Lamonte Versill Morris, was fleeing a Texas warrant for sexually assaulting a 14-year-old.

Stunningly, police in Hammond, LA, arrested a 17-year-old girl on human trafficking charges. The girl was “known to have prior ties to several female runaways from New Orleans as well as ties to organized gang activities”.

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Holiday travel chaos still not over

Hundreds of thousands of Americans attempting to fly after the holidays this weekend faced disruptions and delays. Airlines canceled more than 5,000 U.S. flights, 2,700 on Saturday and 2,500 on Sunday. This only added to the chaos that’s prevailed since the Wednesday before Christmas, when airlines canceled thousands of flights due to personnel shortages. The airlines say that their staffing issues are due to COVID infections among their flight crews. Severe weather, including a storm front currently making its way up the East coast, have only added to the disruption.

Some airlines are offering financial incentives to flight crews to fill the gaps. Late last week, United was offering pilots 3.5 times their normal pay up to Tuesday this week, and 3 times normal for manning flights from Tuesday to January 29.

But airline staffing problems cannot be blamed exclusively on the omicron variant. While leisure travel in the U.S. is back up roughly to pre-pandemic levels, airlines have about 9% fewer workers than they had two years ago. Since March 2020, Congress has given the airline industry $54 billion to maintain their employees. But last year, some airlines were offering incentives to their employees to quit last year. Many employees, including experienced pilots, took them up on it.

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Sudan: PM steps down after cooperating with junta

Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok has stepped down after his cooperation with the country’s leadership failed to appease critics of the resurgent military junta. For three decades, Sudan was ruled by a military junta led by Omar al-Bashir. In 2019, a military coup ousted Bashir and set up a transitional democratic government led by Hamdok.

In October, Bashir loyalists within the military staged another coup and deposed Hamdok. Following widespread protests, Hamdok entered into an agreement for joint civilian-military rule. Hamdok’s supporters believe he entered the agreement to minimize bloodshed in the streets, but it had the opposite effect. 

During the short-lived agreement, Hamdok did not establish a Cabinet, and therefore has no obvious successor. His resignation leaves Sudan’s political future in doubt.

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