Monday, March 20, 2006

Tens of thousands of illegal marijuana "grow-ops" remain in Canada

Frank proudly surveys the large log cabin he constructed himself, on a two-acre plot of aromatic evergreen forest he now owns.
"All this," he says, "was built on marijuana."

Over four years, Frank - not his real name - tended a patch of marijuana plants in a forest clearing about 45 minutes' walk from where his cabin now stands.

He regularly pooled his harvests with those of several other growers in the small British Columbia (BC) town in which he lives, to sell wholesale to young men from just across the border in the US state of Idaho.

Frank says he made hundreds of thousands of Canadian dollars before hurriedly leaving the business when his American buyers were arrested.

But tens of thousands of illegal "grow-ops" remain in Canada. Estimates suggest marijuana may generate up to C$7bn (£3.5bn; US$6.1bn) a year in BC, the sunny province thought to be at the heart of the industry.
Read full story via bbc news


The 1918-1919 "Bird Flu" that killed 40 million

Health officials warn that millions could die in a flu pandemic. It would not be the first time. The Spanish flu virus that swept the world in 1918-19 is considered one of the most deadly diseases in history.
In March 1918 an army cook reported to the infirmary at Fort Riley, Kansas, with a temperature of 39.5 C.

Within two days a further 521 men had been taken sick, in what is thought to have been one of the first recorded outbreaks of what came to be known as Spanish flu.

Striking a world already devastated by war, such early warning signs were largely missed and the influenza went on to kill 40 million in a matter of months.

Scientists now believe the virus came from birds and that it bore similarities to the avian flu at the centre of the current scare.
Read full story via bbc news