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Is anti-drug strongman of the Philippines in bed with narco gangs?

Posted on September 5th, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , .

South East AsiaIs it really possible that Philippine President Rodirgo Duterte—who has unleashed a "war on drugs" that has now reached the point of mass murder, and used charges of narco-corruption to lock up his political opponents—is himself mixed up in the drug trade? With the Philippine Senate now launching multiple investigations into the drug-related violence, charges of involvement in the narco trade have actually reached some of Duterte's closest family members.

Hong Kong cannabis interceptions soaring

Posted on June 22nd, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , .

Hong KongCannabis seizures are rapidly escalating in Hong Kong—whether due to greater quantities on the market or stepped-up enforcement, or both. The city's South China Morning Post reports June 19 on a haul of 35 kilos in 136 baggies ready for sale, uncovered in a vehicle during a police raid on a car park. Three were arrested. Police estimated the street value of the load at HK$10 million (about US$1.3 million). As recently as May 27, the SCMP reported a police raid on an industrial building in the city's Tai Po district that netted 110 kilos, worth HK$19 million. (Obviously, the math is not adding up here, raising questions about how the Hong Kong cops arrive at their estimates.)

Global execution stats: good news, bad news

Posted on April 13th, 2017 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , .

nooseThe latest annual Amnesty International report on global use of the death penalty actually has some heartening news. For the first time since 2006, the United States did not make the top five executioners in 2016—falling to seventh, behind Egypt. The 20 executions in the US constituted the lowest number in the country since 1991. Most executions last year took place in China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Pakistan—in that order. And after three years in a row of global executions surging, they appear to have dropped off in 2016. Not including data from China, Amnesty counts 1,032 executions throughout the world in 2016—more than 600 fewer than in 2015.

China launches first CBD research firm

Posted on March 20th, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , , .

ChinaChina is to get its first company dedicated to research, development and marketing of medicinal products based on cannabidiol, or CBD. The firm, dubbed XiBiDi Biotechnology Co, is to operate out of Pudong Technology Park, part of the Shanghai Pilot Free-Trade Zone. It will initially offer hemp-derived CBD oil, as well as hemp-based foods and beverages, according to a press release from ChineseInvestors.com, or CIIX. The Chinese character "XiBiDi" is homophonic to "CBD" in English.

Obama drug war commutations surpass 1,000

Posted on November 23rd, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

Obama Continuing with his campaign of clemency for federal drug offenders who were imprisoned under outdated sentencing laws, President Barack Obama on Nov. 22 commuted the sentences of 79 more inmates, bringing the total commutations throughout his two terms to to more than 1,000. This number now far surpasses that of the previous 11 presidents combined. Bill Clinton granted 61 commutations, and George Bush just 11. But White House officials are still rushing to review all the approximately 6,000 pending clemency applications before the end of Obama's term.  In 2016 alone, a total of 839 commutations have been granted. "It makes no sense for a nonviolent drug offender to be serving decades, or sometimes life, in prison," Obama said in announcing the new commutations. "That's not serving taxpayers, and it's not serving the public safety."

Philippines to turn to China for drug war aid?

Posted on October 18th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , .

South East Asia The Philippines' ultra-hardline President Rodrigo Duterte arrived in China Oct. 18 for a high-profile visit that western media accounts are portraying as a tilt away from the United States. Washington has historically been the Philippines' imperial patron, providing investment and military aid—but relations are now strained over Duterte's murderous anti-drug crackdown, which is believed to have claimed 3,000 lives. Arriving in Beijing, Duterte blasted Washington and the European Union for their criticisms of his lawless crackdown, and praised his hosts for giving him free rein. "China is the only country to come out freely and [make] a firm statement that they are supporting the fight against drugs in my country," Duterte told Chinese state news agency Xinhua in a comment picked up by the Philippine Star. "The other countries, United States, EU, instead of helping us, they know that we are short of money... all they had to do was to criticize. China never criticized."

Archaeologists unearth ancient cannabis 'burial shroud'

Posted on October 18th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

Central Asia Archaeologists working in China's far western Xinjiang region report the discovery of an "extraordinary cache" of cannabis, found in an ancient burial site. National Geographic says the unprecedented find "adds considerably to our understanding of how ancient Eurasian cultures used the plant for ritual and medicinal purposes."  Writing in the journal Economic Botany, archaeologist Hongen Jiang and his colleagues describe the burial of a 35-year-old adult man with Caucasian features in Xinjiang's Turpan Basin. The body was laid out on a wooden bed with 13 cannabis plants—each nearly three feet long—placed across the chest.

Global executions surge —yet again

Posted on April 6th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , , , , , .

nooseFor a third year running, Amnesty International's annual report on the death penalty notes an alarming surge in the number of executions worldwide—now reaching the highest total since 1989. At least 1,634 people were executed in 2015, a rise of more than 50% over the previous year. Iran, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia were leading the field, responsible for 89% of the executions. Iran executed at least 977 in 2015—the vast majority for drug-related crimes—compared with 743 in 2014. Those put to death included at least four who were under 18 at the time of the crime—which Amnesty called a violation of international law. Pakistan continued what Amnesty called as a "state-sanctioned killing spree" that began when a moratorium on civilian executions was lifted in December 2014. Pakistan sent at least 326 to the gallows last year, the highest annual total Amnesty has recorded for that country. Executions in Saudi Arabia rose by 76%, with at least 158 people put to death, Amnesty said. Most were beheaded, with the bodies often displayed in public.

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