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The FARC smuggles drugs to Europe through West Africa

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first_imgBy Dialogo October 14, 2013 Atlantic Ocean drug routes leading to West Africa and Europe have become increasingly important for Colombian and Mexican transnational criminal organizations, according to authorities. The organized crime groups are transporting greater amounts of drugs to ports of entry in West Africa. Once the organized crime groups have smuggled the drugs are into West Africa, they transport them, often in vehicles or small airplanes, to markets in Europe. T he criminal groups which are sending greater amounts of drugs to Europe through West Africa include which the FARC and the Norte del Valle Cartel, from Colombia; and the Sinaloa Cartel and Los Zetas, which are both Mexican transnational criminal organizations. Latin American drug traffickers are using two basic methods to transport drugs to Africa and Europe, authorities said. • By sea, transnational criminal organizations hide drugs in large ships which travel from Latin America to Africa and Europe. Drug traffickers set up fake export operations and hide their drugs in the cargo of the phony export businesses, authorities said. Once the large ships have reached their ports, organized crime operatives often use smaller “fast boats” to transport the drugs from the ship to land. • By air, organized crime groups hire travelers, who are known as “drug mules,” to hide drugs in their luggage, in their clothes, or even inside their bodies. Once the drugs have reached West Africa, by sea or air, drug traffickers often load the drugs into land vehicles, such as SUVs, and drive them to their distribution points in Europe. Alternate destinations Security forces in Latin America and in the United States have succeeded in recent years in slowing the amount of drugs smuggled north to Mexico and the U.S. by transnational criminal organizations. This success has made the Atlantic drug routes to Africa and Europe more important to drug traffickers, said security analyst Alfredo Rangel Suárez, director of the Democracy and Security Center at the Sergio Arboleda University in Colombia. “The fight against crime and the closing of border crossings by authorities in countries where cocaine is directly introduced have forced the FARC, Los Zetas and the Sinaloa Cartel to look for new routes to satisfy demand in the European drug market, that means ports in Western Africa,” said Alfredo Rangel Suárez, Director of the Democracy and Security Center at the Sergio Arboleda University in Colombia. For Colombian drug traffickers, “the Atlantic route is becoming more important than the Pacific one,” according to the World Drug Report 2013 of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Many Brazilian drug traffickers ultimately transport their drugs to Portugal in part because they speak Portuguese, making communication easier, according to the UNODOC report. Entry points Sixteen African countries comprise the main points of entry for Latin American drug traffickers, according to a report by the American Police Community (AMERIPOL), a continental police organization of 18 countries in the Americas, including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Nicaragua, and the United States. The African countries which are commonly used as entry ports are: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mail, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Togo, Sierra Leone, and the Ivory Coast. The FARC The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) is responsible for many of the drugs which are transported to West Africa and then to Europe, Rangel Suárez said. “The FARC is the biggest cocaine smuggler in the world,” according to the security analyst. “In Colombia, more than half of the drugs produced and exported to other countries are marketed by the FARC.” Three other Colombian organized crime groups also transport drugs to West Africa and on to Europe. They are the Popular Revolutionary Anti-Subversive Army of Colombia (ERPAC), Los Urabeños, and Los Rastrojos. Los Zetas and the Sinaloa Cartel Two Mexican transnational criminal organizations, Los Zetas and the Sinaloa Cartel, smuggle cocaine from Colombia, Ecuador, and Brazil into Sierra Leone and then to Europe, according to Rangel Suárez. Los Zetas and the Sinaloa Cartel, which is led by fugitive kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, often collaborate with other Latin American organized crime groups. For example, El Chapo has formed alliances with Colombian organized crime groups, such as the Oliver Solarte Cartel. El Chapo also has partnerships with criminal organizations in such several European countries, including Spain, Portugal, Germany, Italy, Poland, and the Czech Republic, according to the European Police Office (EUROPOL), the European police agency which handles intelligence. Los Zetas also has partnerships with organized crime groups in Central American and the Caribbean. The drug cartel has also established an alliance with Ndrangheta, a Mafia organization in Italy, according to the report “Mexico: The Invisible War,” by Libera, an Italian human rights organization. “This alliance is beneficial for both criminal groups. Los Zetas transports the drugs to and within Europe while Ndrangheta guarantees secure distribution points and a number of profitable plazas,” according to the report. Transnational cooperation Transnational cooperation among security forces is crucial in the battle against drug traffickers, according to Colombian Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzón. Countries need to share information, experience, and technology to fight transnational criminal organizations, the defense minister said. The AMERIPOL report also emphasizes the importance of transnational cooperation in the fight against international drug traffickers. “What we do know for a fact is that international police cooperation is a key element to undertake joint actions and respond in an adequate and firm manner to this criminal phenomenon,” the report stated.last_img read more

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Explosives Found on Colombia-Ecuador Border

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first_imgBy Marian Romero/Dialogo April 20, 2017 In a March 21st operation against drug trafficking, the Colombian Army’s Pegaso Task Force found an illegal cache of 600 homemade 81 mm cartridges in the municipality of Barbacoas, in the department of Nariño. So far this year, the Colombian Armed Forces have seized more than 2,000 grenades of various calibers in the region – the same grenades used by illegal organizations to commit terrorist acts against infrastructure such as highways, bridges, transmission towers, and oil pipelines, among others. Brigadier General Sergio Alberto Tafur García, the commander of the Colombian Army’s Pegaso Task Force, said that the department of Nariño, where the task force operates, is situated in a strategic position that has allowed crime problems such as illegal mining to fester. Over the past several years the problems have also included trafficking in weapons, ammunition, and explosives. “Historically, it [this area] has been influenced by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC, per its Spanish acronym), and the National Liberation Army (ELN, per its Spanish acronym), and recently by other Organized Armed Groups (GAOs, per its Spanish acronym) that have not come out of guerilla movements. In the border area with Ecuador, Nariño has a jungle geography that facilitates the illegal trafficking of weapons,” he said. In that area, the Colombian Army has also seized 653 grenades of various calibers, 42 improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and 1,801 kilos of explosives. All thanks to the joint effort between both countries’ militaries, which have conducted a series of binational operations to effectively tackle the problem. Interference by GAOs The border between Colombia and Ecuador is characterized by a complicated geography with a lowland that features high temperatures, abundant rainfall, and lush vegetation. This topography is used by criminal groups to take refuge in the region. “Currently, the enduring threat matrix in Nariño is made up of the ELN’s Southern Comunero Front and the Gulf Clan. These two GAOs base their financing on drug trafficking and criminal mining,” Brig. Gen. Tafur noted. “Now that the FARC is transitioning over to the rule of law under the peace process, the ELN wants to take back its criminal power in these areas, but since it doesn’t have greater resources or logistical capability, it’s exerting pressure on the civilian population and the government through terrorism.” On the Ecuadorean side of the border, the problem of explosives trafficking is linked to the strategic position the nation holds on the continent, and to poverty. “Trafficking networks find this border attractive because of its porosity with Colombia,” stated Joint Chiefs of Staff Colonel Francisco Narváez Vaca, who commands the Ecuadorean Army’s 31st Infantry Brigade, called Andes. “There are Ecuadoreans and Colombians grappling with unemployment who have gotten used to the culture of criminality on the border. Encouraged by the ability to solve their families’ basic needs, they end up in [collaboration with] common criminal organizations,” he said. Among other seizures in 2017, the Joint Command of the Ecuadorean Armed Forces on March 15th found 18 sacks containing approximately 546 kilograms of ammonium nitrate in the area. Binational Border Security Strategy Brig. Gen. Tafur explained that the unlawful importation of weapons reached its zenith in 2015 when 1,267 grenades of various calibers, 1,360 IEDs, and 6,916 kilos of explosives were seized. These figures alarmed the military authorities at the border. As a result, a binational plan was drawn up to tackle the problem in a coordinated way. “Colombia’s Army Command brought in 180 men to bolster security at the border. It was a group of regular soldiers who control illegal border crossings along the 243 kilometers of the land and river border,” Brig. Gen. Tafur said. “That way, soldiers specialized in counterinsurgency can continue to confront the specific challenges within that department.” Today the border between Colombia and Ecuador has an early alert system for conducting ordinance seizure and destruction operations. This was made possible through tactical binational meetings, intelligence sharing, patrolling and monitoring of land, river, and sea border crossings, and the parallel actions generally are taken to prevent illegal trafficking in explosives between the two nations. “A threat to Colombian or Ecuadorean security at the border is a shared threat. That is why our two nations’ armies maintain close relations and why we have deployed mechanisms for counteracting illicit acts while honoring the interests of the other country and protecting the people who live at the border,” Col. Narváez stated. Through their management of these border issues, the Ecuadorean Armed Forces and police are growing increasingly precise in their intelligence, communications, and mobility. This is all intended to prevent the problems associated with the end of the armed conflict in Colombia and to protect the civilian population. “Staying in constant communication — sharing communications between intelligence agencies in order to conduct joint military operations — is crucial for keeping our cooperation agreements in force and thus effectively combating the illegal trafficking of drugs, weapons, contraband, and the guerilla insurgency. These are the most pronounced issues at the border,” Col. Narváez said. Both nations have organized comprehensive action events in which work crews fan out across the border communities offering health services and distributing provisions. These events are held in both countries every six months, benefitting nearly 5,000 residents. On March 24th, as follow-up to this cooperation effort, Colombia’s Deputy Minister of Defense and International Affairs Aníbal Fernández de Soto met with Ecuador’s Deputy Minister of Security Coordination Andrés Fernando de la Vega Grunauer for the purpose of signing the Annual Operating Plan, a binational mechanism through which their joint defense and security plans and strategies for 2017 will be formulated.last_img read more

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Floating houses new accommodation offer in Pula

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first_img“Croatia has one of the most beautiful coasts in the world and our idea was to allow guests who arrive on that coast to stay, not only in the first row to the sea, as they could before, but also in the first row at sea. Floating houses have long been a common way to have a pleasant stay on the water all over the world, so we do not discover any ‘hot water’, but only open the possibility to enjoy your stay on the Adriatic in the same way.”, Sebastian Selan, director and one of the founders of the company 3maran, told Glas Istre. Floating houses are a project of the Slovenian company 3maran, whose “sea” apartments are already part of the offer in the marina Punat on Krk, Slovenian Portorož and Italian Rimini. From now on, cottages are also available in Marina Veruda, where the first four, out of a total of ten planned, floating apartments, have been set up in recent days. Source / photo: Glas Istre; 3maran In Pula Marina Veruda, a new tourist offer was presented – floating houses. Namely, these are apartments that allow their visitors to rest on the sea surface, and with the complete comfort they would have in facilities on the coast, reports Glas Istre. In any case, this is an interesting tourist product with which Marina Veruda expands its offer, and floating houses will surely attract the interest of many visitors to Pula and the Veruda Channel. Floating house in Marina Veruda / Photo: 3maran He adds that the trend of living, and even living, in floating houses is already recognized around the world. “In the canals of Amsterdam, on the Danube in Vienna or on the river Seine in the middle of Paris, this has been a common thing for a very long time and it was actually very easy to imagine a similar story on the Adriatic coast. Before entering the entrepreneurial waters, I was the director of the marina in Portorož for seven years, and it was in that marina that we completed our first project, ie in 2016 we set up the first floating houses. Today, there are a total of 41 such houses and their occupancy is 95 percent in the summer months, or about 65 percent throughout the year because the climate allows it. After that, we realized the project in Italy, ie the marina Portoverde in Rimini, and our first floating houses in Croatia were set up two years ago in the marina Punat on the island of Krk”, Explained Selan.last_img read more

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Jobs watch: Captains of industrial

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first_imgTo access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week. Would you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletterslast_img

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Regions to limit Independence Day events to prevent further COVID-19 spread

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first_imgDeputy secretary of the Surabaya COVID-19 task force Irvan Widyanto said such events with a large gathering of people were fertile ground for the coronavirus to spread. East Java recently emerged as a new COVID-19 epicenter in the country, after capital Jakarta, with a total of 26,979 confirmed cases and 1,967 fatalities as of Friday.”It’s quite risky to hold tirakatan and competitions in the current conditions. So, we call on all residents to not hold any celebrations that involve many people on Independence Day,” Irvan said earlier this week. Another city in East Java, Malang has also issued restrictions for Independence Day celebrations in the City Hall complex. Malang Mayor Sutiaji said a very limited number of people would perform a small prayer the night before the flag-hoisting ceremony, and it was going to be aired online through the city’s social media accounts.  A number of regional administrations across the country have decided to limit the celebrations of Indonesia’s upcoming 75th anniversary and called on their respective residents to refrain from holding events that could attract crowds amid the current COVID-19 pandemic, which is showing no signs of slowing down.The Surabaya administration in East Java has altogether prohibited celebrations that usually involve a large number of people, such as tirakatan (a tradition held on the eve of Independence Day to express gratitude to God before holding a flag-hoisting ceremony the next morning) as well as various competitions featuring traditional games including panjat pinang (pole climbing) and balap karung (sack race).Indonesia’s Independence Day is celebrated every Aug. 17, when residents traditionally hold various events to commemorate the anniversary. “Each activity [namely the tirakatan and flag-hoisting ceremony] would be attended by no more than 20 people,” he said.Read also: Less fun and games as Greater Jakarta limits Independence Day eventsIn Central Java, several regions in the province have opted for different approaches to the celebration. The Surakarta administration, for instance, has banned tirakatan yet still allowed traditional competitions to take place as long as health protocols are implemented. The Sukoharjo regency administration chose to take stricter action by prohibiting all gatherings without exception.”There will be no tirakatan, no fun games this year. Let’s avoid any gatherings in the meantime,” Sukoharjo acting regional secretary Widodo said.Similarly, local administrations in West Java, North Sumatra and South Sulawesi will also limit Independence Day celebrations to only the flag-hosting ceremony, which will involve small groups of people.West Java COVID-19 task force secretary Daud Achmad urged residents not to hold big and festive celebrations “because they potentially attract crowds, which we must still avoid,” he said.A top official at the North Sumatra administration, M. Fitriyus, said the administration had decided to call off the annual Independence Day parade that had always enlivened the region’s main roads every August 17. He also said the administration called on residents to put off any event that could gather a crowd.”All of this is to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the region,” Fitriyus said.Despite the calls, residents in Medan Selayang district in Medan, have worked together in the past week to prepare a series of celebrations, especially traditional competitions for children, to commemorate Independence Day.“Generally there is not much difference between this year’s Independence Day celebrations than last year’s. The only difference is that, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, all competitions will be held under health protocols,” local resident Herdianto said on Friday.Acting Makassar Mayor in South Sulawesi, Rudy Djamaluddin, said he had issued a circular calling on residents not to hold any gatherings or celebrations to prevent further transmission of the coronavirus.“We are putting our focus on COVID-19 handling. Holding events for Independence Day will only gather crowds and we worry that it could trigger another spike of COVID-19 cases,” he said. (vny)Arya Dipa from Bandung, Apriadi Gunawan from Medan and Andi Hajramurni from Makassar contributed to this story.Topics :last_img read more

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Australia’s biggest waterslide could be in your own backyard

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first_imgDon’t show the kids. 9 Parakeet Court has the ultimate Summer accessory.A HOUSE with a pool might seem like the perfect way to escape the summer heat, but this house has something even better.The expansive property at 9 Parakeet Court in Warner comes with one special feature that is turning a lot of heads from prospective buyers.The fully functional 50 metre waterslide looks like it was designed perfectly for the backyard of the property, but owner Craig Gormley insists that was not the case. He never intended to build a waterslide in his backyard, but when he came across the second hand slide for sale on Gumtree he decided to give it a go.“I had no idea if it was going to work, but I bought it anyway,” Mr Gormley said.The slide was once part of a family attraction in Ferny Grove called The Woolshed, which has long since closed. “We used to go up and down it a lot when we were kids,” he said. As a professional builder he liked to make interesting additions to his home such as the mini golf course, granny flat and a hairdressing studio. 9 Parakeet CourtWhen it was finally constructed in 2016 his two children were over the moon at what they had in their own backyard.Mr Gormley still enjoyed going down the waterslide as an adult, but said that he remembered it being “much bigger” as a kid. “I’ve got a piece of history and I am pretty proud of that,” he said. Check it out! Modern throughout.But he said when he purchased it that he had no idea if he would ever get it to work. The slide came in several pieces which each weighed about 200 to 300 kilograms.After discussing it extensively with the council and a building certifier, he was told that it would be okay as long as it did not lead into a pool.Once he got the all clear he invited his mates over to put construct the slide in his backyard. “I didn’t even have a picture of what it would all look like together,” he said.“It was just 100 per cent pure luck that it fit the property, fit the slope, and it worked.” Family living.Now that it was time to sell, he hoped that whoever purchased the property would get a lot of enjoyment out of it. “I’m tearing up thinking about how I won’t have this soon, but I’ve got to move on,” he said. The five bedroom home (which includes the waterslide) is on the market now through Jonathan Wein at LJ Hooker — Albany Creek. Tee time.More from news02:37Purchasers snap up every residence in the $40 million Siarn Palm Beach Northless than 1 hour agoNew apartments released at idyllic retirement community Samford Grove Presented by last_img read more

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Shop at Marsh to help ISP Youth Camp

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first_imgGREENSBURG, Ind. — March 16 through March 18 your purchase at Marsh Supermarket will help the Indiana State Police Youth Services which sponsor State Police camps throughout Indiana.5% of your total purchase, excluding tax, beer, wine, tobacco, liquor, pharmacy, lottery, gift cards and in-store services, will be donated to Indiana Youth Camps.To participate in the program, download and print this coupon and take it to the cashier when you check out.Marsh in Greensburg is participating in this program.last_img

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Officials Launch Anti-Sex Trafficking Effort Ahead of Super Bowl

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first_imgFederal and South Florida law enforcement officials are preparing for Super Bowl LIV in a new way.With tens of thousands of people projected to descend on the region for the game, the issue of sex trafficking is a top concern that authorities are determined to prevent at this year’s event.With that in mind, officials will be enlisting regular people to report suspected sex trafficking activity, including that involving children as young as age 12, at party-type events during game week.According to Miami-Dade state attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle, “We’re not going to tolerate the sexual exploitation of our children and our youth.” She adds, “We are really ready to head this off.”The effort will include ads featuring a “creepy guy” poster with the words: “Buy Sex. Be Exposed.” Ads will also be placed on buses, social media, billboards, and at mass transit stations, among other locations.A 24-hour phone number, (305) FIX-STOP, will allow people to report suspicious behavior.Authorities say that Miami-Dade County ranks first in sex trafficking in the state, which ranks third in the nation. Nearly 40 percent of victims are children, while most of the remainder are between 18 and 23 years old.Federal statistics reveal that victims are sometimes sold for sex up to 20 times each day. A trafficker can make between $150,000 and $200,000 per year for each person they sell for sex.Kathy Andersen, executive director of The Women’s Fund Miami-Dade, says, “The Super Bowl does one thing for us — it gives us a platform to make noise. This is just the start of it.”Super Bowl LIV will be played February 2 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens.last_img read more

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Honduras top Panama, qualify for CONCACAF Gold Cup

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first_imgEDDIE Hernandez converted a penalty kick and Honduras (3W-0D-0L, 9 points) clinched a berth in the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup with a 1-0 win over hosts Panama (1-1-1, 4) in a spirited Copa Centroamericana encounter Tuesday night at the Estadio Rommel Fernandez. Honduras, who won their first three matches in the competition for the fourth time, remain atop the six-team table with nine points.The Panamanians had their tournament-record unbeaten streak snapped at 16 games and sit in fourth place – trailing third-place El Salvador on the most-goals-scored tiebreaker – with four points from three matches.The scoreless stalemate was broken in the 36th minute, when Hernandez rolled a penalty kick into the left side of the net, as Panama goalkeeper Jose Calderon dived the other way. Referee Jair Marrufo had pointed to the spot after ruling that defender Luis Ovalle pulled Hernandez down inside the box.Hernandez’s second goal of the tournament came just five minutes after teammate Marcelo Canales put a blistering free kick from 30 yards just over the crossbar.Panama pushed hard for an equaliser, but were unable to break down a Catracho defence that had now conceded one or fewer goals in 21 of their last 22 Copa Centroamericana matches.Tony Taylor had a quality chance to level for the Canaleros in the 54th minute, beating an offside trap and cutting inside the box, before his low shot from 12 yards out was stopped by goalkeeper Donis Escober.Moments later, Panamanian midfielder Armando Cooper sent a dangerous ball across the face of the goal, but Marcelo Pereira slid to clear at the edge of the six-yard box.Panama’s best chance came in the final minute of regulation. Arabe Unido star Edgar Yoel Barcenas chipped an effort that forced Escobar into a leaping save.Honduras are three-time champions of the tournament, last winning in 2011. Panama, who have lifted the trophy once (2009), lost previously against Costa Rica 3-0 on January 23, 2009.Both sides return to action tomorrow as Honduras face Costa Rica.last_img read more

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Big Ten Basketball Tournament moving to Washington D.C.

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first_imgThe Big Ten Conference announced Tuesday that the 20th annual Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament will be held in at the Verizon Center in Washington D.C in 2017.The Washington D.C. location will mark the first time the conference tournament will be somewhere other than Chicago or Indianapolis.“We’re thrilled to announce plans to host the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament in Washington, D.C.,” Big Ten Commissioner James E. Delany said in a press conference Tuesday. “We have a great amount of respect for basketball in this region of the country and are pleased that we were able to place this tournament at the Verizon Center at this first possible opportunity in March 2017.”The Verizon Center is a 20,000 seat multi-purpose arena set in downtown Washington D.C. that hosts the NBA’s Washington Wizards, NHL’s Washington Capitals and WNBA’s Washington Mystics.“We are looking forward to and are honored to host the Big Ten Tournament here in Washington, D.C. for the very first time,” senior vice president and general manager of Verizon Center David Touhey said Tuesday. “The excitement that surrounds this conference event is unparalleled, and with Maryland becoming a part of the fold officially next season, the tournament is sure to have some added local flair here in the nation’s capital.”The Big Ten will be adding two East Coast teams, Maryland and Rutgers, in 2014 to go along with Penn State.The United Center in Chicago will host the 2015 Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament. The conference tournament will move back to Indianapolis in 2016 before moving east in 2017.Washington D.C. is just more than 800 miles from Madison.last_img read more

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