Australian, PNG police arrest five over cocaine haul By Reuters

By Lidia Kelly

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – A small plane which crashed shortly after takeoff on a flight from a remote airstrip in Papua New Guinea to Australia last week was overloaded with more than 500 kg (1,100 lb) of cocaine, police said on Saturday.

Police from Australia and Papua New Guinea said they had recovered 28 bags of cocaine worth A$80 million ($57 million) and arrested five suspected drug traffickers connected to the Cessna which came down shortly after takeoff from Papa Lea Lea, north of Port Moresby, on July 26.

The five men were members of a Melbourne-based criminal syndicate, with alleged links to Italian organised crime, the police said. If convicted, all five face life imprisonment.

“The AFP (Australian Federal Police) alleges greed played a significant part in the syndicate’s activities and cannot rule out that the weight of the cocaine had an impact on the plane’s ability

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Recession? What recession?

The S&P 500 registered a 5.5% gain in July, as America’s largest corporations shrugged off one of the worst economic downturns on record. The benchmark index is now up 1.25% on the year, having rebounded from March’s historic correction to claw back all the value it lost amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Retail group L Brands led the way among the S&P’s constituent companies with its stock gaining 63% in value in July thanks to a positive earnings report. Walmart, the largest company on the index by revenue, climbed 8% on the month, while tech giants Apple (+16.5%), Amazon (+14.7%), and Alphabet (+5%)—all of them with market capitalizations of $1 trillion-plus—helped drive the market upward.

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