September 27, 2004
While arguments continue over which presidential contender can win the "war on terror," not enough is being said about another "war" on one of its battlefields. In Afghanistan, long a focal point and problem spot of the "war on drugs," the situation has gotten worse. The U.S. State Department reports that Afghanistan is on pace to produce a record opium poppy crop this year. Afghanistan is already estimated by the United Nations to produce three-quarters of the world's opium.
February 2, 2007 |
NATO is fighting a war to eradicate opium from Afghanistan. Western governments are spending hundreds of millions of dollars bulldozing poppy fields, building up counternarcotics squads, and financing alternative crops. Chemical spraying may begin as early as this spring. Opium exports account for somewhere between one-third and two-thirds of the country's gross domestic product, depending on whose statistics you believe. The biggest producers are in the southern provinces, where the Taliban is at its strongest, and no wonder: Every time a poppy field is destroyed, a poor person becomes poorer - and more likely to support the Taliban against the Western forces who wrecked his crops.
March 23, 1990 |
In the Outback, a buffalo herder snarls. Politicians? "I don't like any of them," he says. In Surfers Paradise on Australia's Gold Coast, a real estate man shakes his head. "People just don't trust them any longer," he says. In Humpty Doo outside of Darwin, a buffalo catcher is not coy about his opinion of politicians. "I've never got a straight answer from any I've met," he says. In Brisbane, a politician named Michael Macklin says such critics are too kind.
May 24, 1992 |
The poppies, row on row, stand waist-high by the roadside east of town. The boll of each plant oozes a thick brown sap. A fat boy scrapes the sap off each boll into a burlap sack. The ooze is opium. At a mud fort in the mountains, the opium becomes heroin. And half the heroin coursing through the veins of American addicts comes from the poppy fields of Afghanistan. The Afghan crop now coming in could yield 200 tons of heroin. It is an especially bitter harvest for the United States.
October 13, 1991 |
On Mother's Day, far from Bucks County, activist and artist Peter Tinsman shot to death his 3-year-old daughter, Poppy, then ended his own life with the same gun. Five months later, Poppy's mother, artist Pam Gruno, is still coming to terms with the loss of her only child. She has chosen to cope with her grief in a most creative way - through a theater piece called Fire Journey, which will be performed Friday and Saturday at the Community Education Center in Philadelphia. Gruno and a friend, performance artist Rocky Wilson, who knew Poppy only a few months but grew close to the lively little girl, have woven dance, music, poetry and storytelling into a work that is full of love and healing.
October 17, 2008 |
Poppy (Sally Hawkins) is cycling 'round London town, waving at pedestrians, merrily dodging cars, her face abeam. In the opening minutes of Mike Leigh's oddball and ingenious Happy-Go-Lucky , we already know a lot about its protagonist: She's upbeat, friendly, indomitable. Either that, or she's totally stoned. So Poppy, who turns out to be 30, single, a school teacher (and not stoned, although she partakes now and then), locks her bike to a railing. She trots off to a book shop.
October 7, 1993 |
Exchange students Ekaterina Mineeva (left) of Russia and Gvantsa Apkhazava of Georgia share a poppy roll dessert during a party for foreign students. The Sept. 26 party was at the Fallsington home of teacher Fran Kurz, who placed 12 students in the area. The students cooked dishes from their native lands. Among those at the party were students from Hungary, Brazil and Japan.
December 17, 2004 |
Like professional golfers, collectors start their season in the South and work north. The coin season starts when buyers and sellers converge on Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for auctions bracketing the 50th Florida United Numismatists convention, Jan. 12-15. Bowers & Merena will set the ball rolling Jan. 9 with a sale offering Morgan dollars, 14 of which are graded proof, and many dollars from mints in New Orleans, Carson City, Nev., and San Francisco. The sale includes the James W. Lull collection, which has many coins graded "Finest known.
October 16, 2008 |
Perky people always have something upbeat to say, a cheerful hello to issue, a compliment to drop. In times such as these, they are a beacon of light in a storm-tossed sea of bitterness, anger, darkness. So why do we hate them? It's a question that hovers over "Happy Go Lucky," an oddball British movie that makes a courageous attempt to profile a woman who lives up to the title, always, in every situation. Like Spongebob, only human. I say courageous because any sort of comprehensive movie biography carries the implication of, at the very least, mood change.
July 3, 2011 |
EL DURAZNO, Mexico - Mexico's heroin industry has had a bullish few years, and for traffickers the outlook is as uplifting as the scarlet, orange and yellow poppy flowers from which the narcotic is processed. What was once a problem largely confined to hubs in California and Texas has expanded into the Midwest and the Atlantic Seaboard, narcotics experts say. Using savvy marketing tactics, they've also repositioned heroin commercially, revamping its image from the inner-city drug of yore, with its junkies and needles, into a narcotic that can be snorted or smoked, appealing to suburban and even rural high school youth.