A man that authorities say is the most notorious Colombian drug lord since Pablo Escobar is now headed to the U.S. in handcuffs, after plastic surgery failed to conceal his identity from police.
Daniel Barrera, AKA El Loco or The Madman, ran a 400-ton-per-year drug empire with the help of violent leftist guerrillas, and controlled the major cocaine smuggling routes from Colombia to the U.S. He burned off his fingerprints with acid and had cosmetic surgery on his face, but an international law enforcement task force was still able to track him to a phone booth in Venezuela in September.
Colombian authorities have now extradited the 51-year-old to New York, where he faces drug trafficking and money laundering charges in two federal courts. He was set to arrive in New York in Tuesday, and will be arraigned in Manhattan on Wednesday morning and in Brooklyn on Thursday morning. After he is prosecuted in New York, he will be arraigned in the Southern District of Florida.
Barrera’s career as a drug smuggler dates back to the 1980s, and he is believed to have shipped thousands of tons of cocaine north, often in cooperation with the leftist guerrillas of Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia, or FARC. FARC has been the world’s largest supplier of cocaine and has engaged in bombings, massacres and kidnappings inside Colombia. FARC guerrillas allegedly provided Barrera with raw materials and charged him a monthly tax for establishing drug labs in their territory.
Barrera was convicted on drug charges in Colombia in 1990 but escaped. After his escape, he used public telephones instead of cell phones to avoid surveillance by law enforcement.
By the time he was caught by Venezuelan law enforcement last fall, authorities said he accumulated multiple dwellings, a yacht and 48 automobiles.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos announced his capture on live television, saying, “We have caught the last of the great lords,” and thanked British and American authorities for their help.
“In the fight against drug trafficking, this is a very important and final step,” Santos said at the time.
Beyoncé strips down and covers herself from head to toe in glitter for Flaunt magazine’s Context Issue photographed by Tony Duran.
In the interview, Beyonce speaks about being a gay icon, the criticism surrounding her Pepsi deal, and what bores her most:
A picnic planner is hoping to get lucky with his/her picnic companion. What’s in the picnic basket?
A cozy blanket, red wine, fruit, ’90s R&B playing on my iPod. I don’t think you need much else.
Gay men are drawn to you and empowered by you, as they have been to “gay icons” Judy Garland, Barbra Streisand, Cher, and Madonna. What is it about you, and those women, that gay men love?
I’m flattered if I’m in the company of those great women. I think they love that we are bold, unafraid to love, and flaunt our sexuality and strength.
Some were critical at your participating in a Pepsi campaign after you moved your body for childhood obesity. Where is the balance between your career objectives and your philanthropy?
Pepsi is a brand I’ve grown up seeing my heroes collaborate with. The company respects musicians and artistry. I wouldn’t encourage any person, especially a child, to live life without balance. When you work out, take care of your body, rehearse as hard as I rehearsed in the commercial, I think it’s great to have a Pepsi or Diet Pepsi when you want one. It’s all about choices.
You have always carefully sculpted your image and controlled public access to your off-stage life. Is there anything to envy about stars who don’t care about safeguarding their private lives?
I have chosen to keep certain aspects of my life private. But I also love sharing what makes me happy, especially through photography.
What’s boring to you?
Lack of creativity.
Nicki Minaj: Rapper, former American Idol judge and soon-to-be film actress now holds another title: the first rapper to ever appear on the cover of Marie Claire.
It’s easy to make fun of Facebook. The depressed stock, the misguided political comments, the unguarded vanity of high school “friends”—all tend to reinforce the inanity of the social network.
But a billion people still use it. Even those who complain (like me) still use it. And for large, multinational companies, it’s becoming an increasingly valuable tool for recruiting employees.
Work4, previously known as Work4 Labs, has been on our radar since the fall. Run by Stefane Le Viet, a 33-year old Frenchman, the San Francisco-based company helps companies like Pepsi, Gap and Oracle recruit for entry-level and hourly positions via Facebook. For the moment, it seems to be working.
The company has posted 6 million jobs through its clients’ Facebook pages. Facebook itself began using the company to fill positions two weeks ago. “That pretty much killed any competitive threats we could’ve faced,” Le Viet laughs. BranchOut, a company that previously competed in the space,pivoted last fall. Companies like Identified and Jobvite offer competing tools.
Monthly revenue at Work4, meanwhile, is doubling year-over-year. The company is on pace to make between $5-$10 million in 2013, up from “low millions” last year.
For an 85-person company though, that still implies a serious burn-rate. Le Viet counters that developers in France, where Work4 headquarters its tech team, cost 1/3 of those in the U.S. after tax subsidies. And 30 of the company’s 85 employees are interns (whoa). Still, Work4 intends to raise more cash next year. It last raised $11 million in a Series A round led by Matrix Partners in September.
Work4′s enterprise package starts at $10,000 annually, but increases as companies add features. Multinationals that maintain unique Facebook pages in different countries pay the $10,000 fee for each page. (Accenture, for example, pays for 25 different pages.) Small businesses can use a free service, but when they pay to advertise the openings through Facebook, Work4 takes a 25% cut.
Since Work4′s enterprise business continues to generate nearly all of its sales, I asked Le Viet why he even bothers to target small businesses. “We spend a lot of time thinking about how to align as much as possible with Facebook,” he answers. Local, he explains, is a huge priority for the social network, so Work4 intends to continue working in that area regardless of the immediate ROI. Smaller customers are also helpful in terms of testing new services and features.
That strategy illustrates the company’s current reliance on Facebook, something it is eager to mitigate going forward. It recently released a tool for recruiting through Twitter and intends to introduce a product for Pinterest in the coming months. A Facebook-oriented version of LinkedIn’s popular Recruiter tool is also in the works. Le Viet’s vision: “Social recruiting software for the enterprise.”
Elite Daily — by Joseph Milord
The deal that saw Samsung Mobile purchase a million copies of the heavily anticipated “Magna Carta Holy Grail” album for $5 million was a big win for Jay-Z. That much is clear. The move ensured that Mr. Carter’s album would essentially go platinum before its official release and he would be given the spotlight in the midst of the NBA Finals, turning millions of people’s attention away from basketball at a time when the game’s best player was contending for a title.
On one end, success was undoubtedly attained. But for Samsung, the company that spent a total of $20 million on the marketing campaign centered around the release of Magna Carta Holy Grail and the app that allowed Galaxy phone users to access the tracks five days early on July 4, the question of profit has gone unanswered.
So, on the day that #MCHG makes it’s official debut in stores, it seems appropriate to ask: What, exactly, has Samsung gained besides a whole bunch of publicity? There’s one theory that seems to be doing the rounds.
“The more information users requested about the album, the more info they’d be asked to give up,” said Time.com writer Melissa Locker. “For example, if you wanted the lyrics to a song, the app posts on your behalf to Twitter or Facebook, alerting your friends and followers. The result has seen Twitter flooded with spam-like tweets, ‘I just unlocked a new lyric ‘Crown’ in the JAY Z Magna Carta app. See them first…’”
In exchange for their money, Samsung has seemingly been committed to going after your personal information. With great resolve and tenacity, too, Galaxy S III, Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note II users have seen the Korean company push the limits, asking for users’ location, phone call logs and other sensitive information. In retrospect, this is a little cringe-worthy.
Don’t worry, though, said Jay-Z manager John McNeilly, it’s nothing.
“It’s much ado about nothing,” McNeilly told Wall Street Journal reporter John Jurgensen. “You have to provide a lot more information than was asked for in this app when you buy music with a credit card. There’s no secret room with people trying to mine through and find out which other artists you like or don’t like.”
But while much of the focus has been on Samsung’s NSA-like endeavors (Elite Daily covered the story, along with the New York Times, Journal, Time, and Gawker ), little attention has been paid to the fact that the company may be on the threshold of revolutionizing the phenomenon of the album release.
Jay-Z may be the first to do it this way, but hyping up one’s tracks with the use of mobile apps is sure to not be a one time thing. Lady Gaga has already said that her next album release will involve an app, while McNeilly also told Jurgensen, “the reason we did the deal with Samsung is that hand-held devices will be the key to music distribution in the future.”
If releasing albums through mobile apps becomes a trend, you could only expect Samsung to be at the forefront of the marketing campaigns that surround it or, at the very least, lead Apple in the potential race to get other artists on board, already with a head start from the Magna Carta sales.
With more hyped up, music-centric advertisements inevitably would come more chances for Samsung to step on Apple’s toes, a process which is apparently already in the works. According to Tech Crunch’s Catherine Shu, Samsung plans to build a new $300 million facility in San Jose that will act as its U.S. headquarters. In addition, the company’s expansion of their presence in Silicon Valley — i.e. Apple Country — also features a $100 million strategy and innovation center in Menlo Park, the home of Facebook, and a start-up incubator in Palo Alto near Stanford University.
Meanwhile, Forbes contributor Kelly Clay says that Samsung already owns a 38% share of the global smartphone space and that the tech giant could consider creating its own music store, like iTunes, as it tries to create a new revenue stream. And it’s all for one reason.
Samsung is on the come up. Whether it’s through helping startups grow or revamping the way artists release their newest works, the company is intent on trying to usurp Apple as the world’s gold standard in the tech world.
One of the problems with charging docks is simply the awkward upright angle your phone sits at which makes it a bit uncomfortable to use when charging. Saidoka fixes that with an angled, upward-facing dock to make it easier to use your apps while charging in the dock. They’ve even made room for iPhones with cases with a removable rubber cover that adds more space to accomodate your phone’s cover. $30-$50, Bluelounge