Magnetic lifters — what are they and what are they for besides being, uhm, containers for

Magnetic lifters — what are they and what are they for besides being, uhm, containers for contraband? I have never seen one except in pictures recently. It shocked me that drug smugglers could really find all means to enhance their illegal activities. Nothing is spared. Magnetic lifters have been in the news lately, not because of their use in heavy industries, but because a number of these imported metal objects are now being used to smuggle in illegal drugs, such as crystal meth or “shabu” amounting to billions of pesos. No sooner have most of us heard about these heavy, thick metal magnetic lifters for the first time in connection with drugs than a conflagration erupted, with no less than an official of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) raising a howl about how more drugs were in fact smuggled in via magnetic lifters but were not, uhm, detected. BOC’s former X-ray inspection chief Ma. Lourdes Mangaoang boldly came forward to accuse Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña of ignoring her alert that a drug shipment was once again going through customs. (A previous one had been foiled, establishing the fact that imported magnetic lifters are being used for shabu shipments and, therefore, c...

WORLD WATCH MONTHLY: Malaysia/Thailand CRAINS-DETROIT-horizontal-red-wht CRAINS-DETROIT-horizontal-red-wht

The economies of Malaysia and Thailand are driven by exports, but each has different economic challenges. The global economic recession had a strong impact on Thailand’s export industry, with most sectors experiencing losses in the double-digits, according to the CIA World Factbook. Some of Thailand’s exports include electronics, textiles, fishery products, rice, rubber and computer and automobile parts. Its largest export partners are China (11.7 percent), Japan (10.2 percent) and the United States (9.9 percent). With a 2013 GDP of $400.9 billion, some of Thailand’s industries include tourism, garments, manufacturing, rubber, plastics, electronic appliances and computer parts. It is the world’s second-largest producer of tungsten and the third-largest producer of tin. Malaysia is attempting to reduce its dependence on exports, particularly from electronics, oil, gas, palm oil and rubber. The oil and gas industries supplied 32 percent of government revenue in 2013, according to the CIA World Factbook. With a 2013 GDP of $312.4 billion, major industries include light manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, timber processing, logging, and natural gas production. I...