Government, Taliban Let Afghan Poppies Blossom
Shopkeepers selling poppy paste at bazaars in Helmand pay “protection” at a price openly negotiated with police, who in return warn of impending NATO raids. Police officials deny any complicity. The government estimates that Helmand produced about 90,000 hectares of poppies, only 7,000 of which were destroyed in eradication campaigns.
According to the Institute for War & Peace Reporting, both the government and the Taliban benefit from the trade, and even suspended their fighting in the spring to accommodate farmers.
“Intemperate” Asylum Judges Under Fire
Lawyers say bias and an overwhelming caseload cause some immigration judges to deny appeals for asylum at much higher rates than others. One in Dallas denied an asylum seeker from Cameroon before the lawyer even finished making his case, the Dallas Morning News reports.
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales acknowledged the “intemperate” and “abusive” conduct of some judges, and pledged reforms for a system that saw caseloads jump 39 percent between 2000 and 2005.
Iran’s Eyes on the Nose
An unprecedented number of young Iranians are getting nose jobs since the imposition of fundamentalist dress code, which prohibits exposing any body part except the face and even bans heavy makeup.
“The beauty of Iranian women can only be seen in their faces,” one patient told Reuters.
“Everyone’s a winner at Helmand’s opium bazaars”
Institute for War & Peace Reporting, June 1, 2007
“Asylum-seekers at mercy of inconsistent courts”
Dallas Morning News, June 1, 2007
“In Iran, the rich and trendy queue up for nose jobs”
Reuters, June 6, 2007