Archive for the ‘heroin’ Category

Vietnam sentences Australian heroin trafficker to death

March 19, 2008

HANOI (AFP) – An appeal court in Vietnam has sentenced an Vietnamese-Australian woman to death for heroin trafficking after prosecutors appealed against her original life sentence, a court clerk said Wednesday.
A policeman guards Ho Chi Minh City courthouse, seen in 2003. ... 
A policeman guards Ho Chi Minh City courthouse, seen in 2003. An appeal court in the city has sentenced an Vietnamese-Australian woman to death for heroin trafficking on Wednesday.(AFP/File/Hoang Dinh Nam)

Jasmine Luong, 34, was handed the death penalty on Tuesday by the court in Ho Chi Minh City, he said on condition of anonymity.

Luong, who was born in Vietnam, was arrested at Tan Son Nhat airport outside Ho Chi Minh City in February last year as she preparing to fly to Sydney with nearly 1.5 kilograms (3.3 pounds) of heroin, according to a police source.

“She had been hired to transport those heroin packs, hidden in her luggage and shoes,” the source said.

Several Australians of Vietnamese origin have been arrested over the past few years for trafficking heroin from Ho Chi Minh City to Australia. Of those, some were given life imprisonment or the death penalty.

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080319/wl_asia_
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Teen Prescription Drug Abuse: Alarming Facts

March 10, 2008

By Steve Hayes
Director, Novus Medical, Detox Center of Pasco County LLC

TEEN PRESCRIPTION DRUG ABUSE

Accordingto the Partnership for a Drug-Free America:
–1 in 5 teens has abused aprescription pain medication

–1 in 5 teens report abusingprescription stimulants and tranquilizers

–1 in 10 teens have abused coughmedication

According to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy:

Though overall teen drug use isdown nationwide, more teens abuse prescription drugs than any otherillicit drug except marijuana – more than cocaine, heroin, andmethamphetamine combined.

Every day, 2,500 kids aged12-17 abuse a prescription painkiller for the first time and more peopleare getting addicted to prescription drugs.

Drug treatment admissions forprescription painkillers increased more than 300 percent from 1995 to2005.

Teens are abusing prescriptiondrugs because many believe the myth that these drugs provide a”safe” high.

Especially troubling is thatthe majority of teens who abuse prescription drugs say they are easy toget and are often free.

PHARM PARTIES

At Novus; some of our patients are young people who tell us about parties that kidsas young as 11 attend. Instead of bringing a present, each child is tobring some prescription drugs that they got from their parents’ medicinecabinet.

When they arrive at the party, they go into a room and pour the drugs into a punch bowl. Then the kids will take turns reaching into thebowl and taking a handful of pills. Sometimes the kids combine this with alcohol–an often lethal combination.

When confronted by astounded parents, their children often remark that it is O.K. because these are not illegal drugs– they were purchased at a pharmacy and,after all, they were in their parents’ medicine cabinet. A 15-year-oldwas quoted as saying that she saw the drug advertised on television and if itwere dangerous it wouldn’t be on television.

SOME DON’T GET A SECOND CHANCE

Itis not pleasant, but if you spend a few minutes on the internet you will seenot statistics but real stories of prescription drug overdoses and deaths ofteens. In many of these instances, the fatal drug overdose did notcome after long periods of prescription drug use. The fatal overdoses came the first time they took the prescription drugs. Maybe itwas their individual DNA. Maybe it was the way that the drug was metabolized. Maybe it was another substance that they had taken, like alcohol or another prescription drug. The only thing for sure is that some young people have overdosed and died after their first use.

One18 year old died after taking 40 milligrams of Oxycontin while drinking a beer. A 16 year old died after taking 80 milligrams of OxyContin that she was given by a “friend.” Some of the other deceased children’s parents said that they didn’t believe in taking any type of drugs, but that didn’t stop their children from yielding to peer pressure and “trying” the drug.

MOST ABUSED DRUGS

Painkillers(OxyContin and its generic form oxycodone, Lortab, Vicodin, Percodan,Percocet and the Fentanyl Patch) are the most common pharmaceuticals abused byteens, especially by younger teens. Stimulants (Ritalin, Adderall) abuse ismore common among older teens and college students than youngerteens. Benzodiazepines (Xanax, Valium, Klonopin) are abused byteens of all ages.

Oxies,OC, hillbilly heroin, oxycotton, 80s, percs, vikes, and vikings are commonlyused terms to refer to painkillers. Ritz, rippers, dexies, and benniesare commonly used terms to refer to stimulants. Benzos, xanies,xani-bars, xani-bombs, and roofies are commonly used terms to refer tobenzodiazepines.

Everyoneunderstands that heroin is a dangerous drug and many people die from heroinoverdoses. What parent would not be horrified if their children tookheroin? However, if your children are taking these narcotic painkillers,they are taking drugs that mimic the effects of heroin in the body.

Everyoneunderstands that cocaine is a dangerous drug. What parent wants theirchildren to use cocaine? However, many parents watch their children takeRitalin and Adderall, two heavy stimulants that are Schedule II drugs-just likecocaine. In 2006, it is estimated that three out of 10 high schoolseniors abuse prescription stimulants.

Stimulantside effects include dilated pupils, increased heart and respiratory rates,elevated blood pressure, feelings of restlessness, anxiety, and delusions,hostility and aggression, and panic, suicidal, or homicidal tendencies. Overdose or death is preceded by high fever, convulsions, and heart failurewhich may be hastened by physical activity.

Benzodiazepinescan cause dilated pupils and slurred speech, feelings of intoxication, loss ofmotor coordination, respiratory depression, sensory alteration, depression andlowered blood pressure. In younger children these side effects aremultiplied and can lead to seizures and, if not immediately addressed, death.

Sinceantidepressants (Paxil, Prozac, Effexor, Lexapro) are prescribed now foreverything from weight loss to muscle pain, they are in many medicine cabinetsand are left lying on bedside tables. As we discussed last week, there isnow evidence that these drugs are no more effective than a placebo (sugar pill)and that they are linked to 52% of the suicides by women in Sweden in2006. The FDA has ordered suicide and violence warnings placed on theantidepressant boxes if these dangerous drugs are taken by teenagers becausethese violent side effects are even more prevalent in younger people.

Thedanger to teens from all of these prescription drugs is greatly increased whenthey are combined with each other or with alcohol.

Nocaring parent would leave heroin, cocaine or other dangerous street drugs ontheir nightstand or in the medicine cabinet or just dump it in thegarbage. However, many parents do exactly this with legal heroin, legalcocaine: antidepressants and benzodiazepines.

BANKRUPTCY AND POSSIBLE PRISON FOR NEGLIGENT PARENTS

Inour society where it seems that every bad thing must be blamed on someone elseand that someone else should pay, there is real financial and legal liabilityif these dangerous drugs are taken by teens.

Mostof us are aware that if a child obtains a loaded gun from our house and someoneis harmed, we can have both civil and criminal liability for not havingproperly locked up the weapon. We have read of people being suedand losing their homes and most of their assets because of the use of the unsecured weapon. We have also seen people who have actually been prosecuted fortheir negligence of leaving a loaded gun around and were sent to prison.

Prescriptiondrugs are highly regulated. They can only be obtained if a doctor writesa prescription. They carry many serious warnings. Every day thereare more stories about prescription drug abuse, the dangers of prescription drugs and the deaths caused by prescription drugs.

Ifyour son or daughter were to give another child these prescription drugs andthey were to overdose and die, it is highly likely that a civil suit againstyou for negligence will result in your having to pay damages.

Thereis also a chance that you could face criminal prosecution for your leavingdangerous drugs around that could lead to the death of another.

CREATING CRIMINALS

Maybeyour child is an entrepreneur and does not take the prescription drugs that heor she gets from your medicine cabinet or bed side table but instead sells them to others. Possession of controlled substances with intent to sell is acrime. The painkillers are mostly Schedule II drugs. Ritalin andAdderall are Schedule II drugs. Most benzodiazepines areSchedule IV drugs.

Accordingto the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s report “Crime in the United States”, there were 143,639 juveniles arrested by state and local law enforcement agencies for drug abuse violations during 2006, representing 10.4% of the drugarrests in which the offender’s age was reported.

Ifyour child is caught in possession of any amount of painkillers or stimulantshere are the federal guidelines:

First Offense: Not more than 20 years. If death or serious injury, not less than 20 years, or more than life. Fine $1 million.

Second Offense: Not more than 30 years. Ifdeath or serious injury, not less than life. Fine $2 million.

If your child is caught with benzodiazepines, here are the federal guidelines:

First Offense: Not more than 3 years. Fine not more than $250,000.

Second Offense: Not more than6 years. Fine not more than $500,000.

Obviously,if your child is treated as a minor the guidelines can be different, but it isstill drug trafficking. By leaving prescription drugs around and bynot educating our kids about the dangers of prescription drugs, they risk notonly serious injury or death but also prison.

CONCLUSION

Art Linkletter hosted a television show for a number of years entitled, “Kids Say the Darndest Things.” He would tape kids responding to various things and it was quite humorous. Well, kids still say the darndest things but sometimes what they say is not so humorous.

Forexample, “But Mommy you take them.” Or, “But Daddy itisn’t like I am taking heroin or something.” Or, “But we onlytook two.” Or, “But they are legal aren’t they.” Or,”But a doctor wouldn’t give something dangerous.” Or,”But I saw all the good things it can do on television. If it were bad
they wouldn’t let it be advertised.”

However, some parents have heard this: “I’m sorry. We couldn’t save her.” Or, “The different prescription drugs he took caused him to have a seizure and we couldn’t revive him.” Or, “I know that she only took one OxyContin. I’m sorry for your loss.”

Please help educate our children to the dangers of these prescription drugs. Please help us keep more parents from hearing that their child could not berevived.

Representatives of Novus Medical Detox Center are speaking at churches, schools, service groups and other venues to educate children andtheir parents. Larry Golbom at prescription addiction radio.com is educating his listeners. But compared to the tens of billions of dollars spent by the drug companies, making prescription drugs seem the answer to any problems, it is going to take a real grass roots movement to make peopleaware of the problem and solutions to it.

Please pass this article on to your friends and neighbors. The life you save maybe your child’s.

Related:
High Prescription Drug Use and Abuse in Colleges

Study finds 1 in 4 US teens has a STD

Heath Ledger, President Bush, The Addicted and Our Medical Professionals

January 30, 2008

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
January 30, 2008

President Bush yesterday said for the first time that he was actually addicted to alcohol.  This may be a cause for celebration for care givers and addicted people who usually need great resources of hope to conquer addictions.

We are facing a crisis of drug and alcohol addiction in America. Most experts agree that about ten percent of our population of 300 million people are addicted or routine users. Many more family members, friends, co-workers and employers suffer harmful consequences – and our medical establishment is strained by people suffering from addictions.

On January 1, 2008, in almost every hospital emergency room across America, at least one or two individuals could be found suffering from Delirium Tremens (DTs), milder tremors, seizures and other alcohol and drug-related overdose symptoms.

My friend, physician and recovering alcoholic Len, took me for a post-party tour of a big city hospital emergency room on January 1.

“Look at the carnage following the biggest annual drinking binge Americans wink at every year. It will look like this the Monday after the Super Bowl, too,” Len told me.

In fact, experts say “Super Bowl Sunday” is the biggest day for drinking in America because it is an all day party. Most police agencies issue more tickets for impaired driving on “Super Sunday” than on any other day. And the Center for Science in the Public Interest claims that beer and alcohol advertizing for the Super Bowl targets underage drinkers.

Len invited me into his work environment after reading a Washington Times commentary I wrote for the December 27, 2007 editions. That article discussed the time of year when many recovering alcoholics and drug abusers relapse and end up in the hospital: the “holiday” season between Thanksgiving and January 1.

“For all sorts of reasons, many of the addicted who are in recovery and making progress crash and burn during the holidays. I think the pressure and chaos of buying too many presents and acting like a boy scout drives some in recovery back into really bad and sometimes fatal habits,” Len said.

Len is a recovering alcoholic who attends daily Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) meetings. Len is not his real name. We agreed to protect his anonymity in keeping with A.A. traditions and guarantees.

As an emergency room physician, Len has gained invaluable insight into the disease of the mind called addiction. He is also an expert in how many of his colleagues treat alcoholics and the drug addicted.

“Most physicians I know are first rate. They care deeply for their patients, spend the time necessary to provide excellent care, and operate fair and honest practices,” Len told me.

But once Len finished with what sounded like an American Medical Association (AMA) commercial, I told him I had personally seen some sloppy, even potentially criminally negligent “care” of the addicted doled out by his MD colleagues.

Two patients seeking emergency care for bouts with alcohol were not admitted to emergency rooms while I researched this topic. They were told to make an appointment for ten days to two weeks into the future. For some: this poses a life-threatening dilemma.

We also experienced physicians mis-prescribing and over prescribing drugs and medications to patients they knew to be addicted.

One doctor had his sleepless patient on Ambien for two years. The maximum recommended duration of Ambien therapy is one week. Ambien is addictive. Withdrawal symptoms include behavior changes, stomach pain, muscle cramps, nausea, vomiting, sweating, anxiety, panic, tremors, and seizure (convulsions).

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns doctors and pharmacists not to prescribe Ambien to alcoholics or other addicts.

We also saw doctors giving Xanax to drinking alcoholics to relieve anxiety.

Xanax relieves anxiety in people who do not drink: but it is never recommended for heavy drinkers. This medication may cause dependence. Addicts frequently react violently to the drug and vomit sometimes for hours after taking it and experience other distressing and even life-threatening side effects.

We also met a man who went to his doctor two years ago with severe anxiety symptoms. Today he rarely ventures out from his one-bedroom apartment. There are three deadbolts on the door. He has five physician prescribed drugs delivered to his apartment when he needs refills. He is no longer able to work. He is lost as a productive member of his family and our American society. 

Bill Alexander, who manages a private drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility, recently told us, “There are doctors in America who are killing alcoholics and drug abusers because they haven’t properly availed themselves to the literature and education needed for treating the addicted and they pay too little attention to the warnings associated with all medications.”

We also observed a clear disregard for many addicted patients: an attitude and actions akin to racial prejudice.

Alcoholics and others are frequently looked down upon and can be viewed as “winos” or other disreputable types not worthy of full and complete diagnosis and care.

If the addicted man or woman seeking treatment causes the doctor to become unsettled, the doctor might quickly end the evaluation phase of treatment and hastily write prescriptions for pain killers, sleep aids and other drugs.

“Some doctors, but clearly not all, cut corners. They reach for the prescription pad too readily. They under evaluate and over-prescribe. They are in too much of a hurry. Even when the vast majority of care givers to the addicted advise doctors to first consider a cold-turkey detoxification – without the benefit of additional medications,” said Dr. Len.

“We doctors write prescriptions sometimes even when they are not mandated. Insurance companies pay most of the cost and the doctor feels that he has taken action on behalf of his patient. Some have even told me, ‘I gave the patient exactly what he wanted.’”

The patients, because they are addicted, often act irrationally and not in their own best interests. They self medicate, over medicate, and “shop” for agreeable doctors willing and ready to help them get their “fix.”

Addicts are risk takers – and even knowing that buying drugs below cost and on the street probably means the drugs are impure, dangerous or otherwise filled with a foreign country’s idea of a money-making substitute – they often use and abuse until death.

Despite the herculean efforts of an army of diligent care-givers and treatment facilities nation-wide, many alcoholics or drug addicted people are misdiagnosed, living on the streets, ignored, abused or shunned. Treatment facilities and in-patient care is at maximum capacity with no room for new comers. And the care of medical professionals is stretched thin.

One doctor told us, only after asking for anonymity, “You’ll be lucky if this man can see a physician’s assistant or a nurse. There are no doctors available.”

And more doctors may not necessarily make things better.

“Calling for more doctors, like prescribing more drugs, for an already overmedicated patient, may only make things worse,” said Dr. David Goodman, a professor of pediatrics and family medicine at Dartmouth Medical School, which researches heath care quality and costs.

He says as the American population grows and the “baby boomers” enter their retirement years, more doctors writing more prescriptions and seeing more patients only escalates the costs of an already exorbitantly expensive medical system.

He favors more study and analysis before anyone jumps to conclusions on how to solve the multi-faceted dilemma of our medical system’s future.

Then there is the case of actor Heath Ledger, who died in January 2008 in New York.

Though Heath himself admitted to The New York Times in November that he has taken two Ambien in a row to battle insomnia, psychiatrist Dr. Keith Ablow says that the likelihood of an Ambien overdose is unlikely.

“By and large, Ambien is not something people overdose on,” he said. But Ambien is addictive and how it interacts in the human body with other prescription medications like those in Mr. Ledger’s SoHo living quarters is unclear.

Mr. Ledger had Xanax, Valium and other drugs in his apartment.

“It’s all Russian roulette once you start using these medicines in excess or start using these medicines with illegal drugs,” said Dr. Ablow, author of Living the Truth.

Of all of these prescription drugs, Xanax can be particularly harmful, especially considering that the Brokeback Mountain star reportedly had issues with substance abuse.

“If I could have taken one agent out of his possession prior to these events, and said, ‘This one is absolutely one you can’t have,’ it would’ve been a Xanax,” he says.

“I would never prescribe Xanax to someone with a potential substance abuse history — ever.”

The reason? Xanax is highly addictive because it takes effect quickly and is relatively short-acting (the pleasurable feeling you receive from it only lasts about four hours).

In contrast, Ambien can take longer to take effect and lasts eight hours, so a person can get a build-up of substances in their system without realizing it. Also, people who have a history of drug abuse are often unreliable in taking their medicines at the proper time or in the proper dose.

Often, drug abusers and addicts mix drugs recklessly.“I can think of few worse combinations than Xanax and cocaine because Xanax slows the heart and cocaine speeds the heart up, so you have two substances at odds with each other,” said Dr. Ablow. “So you can have a situation where someone is trying to dose themselves to an ideal mood state but their cardiac status is deteriorating and they can’t tell because Xanax suppresses the racing heartbeat.”

The bottom line is this: despite their best intentions, medical professions do not always have the time nor the knowledge to properly treat serious drug abusers and the addicted.

Secondly, too many times, doctors are in a rush and the addicted receive less than the full attention of medical staffs who determine that they have “higher priorities.”

Finally, the knowledge of how different drugs interact in the human body is far from complete. In fact, mixing drugs and doctor shopping are seriously dangerous and often times fatal.

John E. Carey is a frequent contributor to The Washington Times, a former senior U.S. military officer and president of International Defense Consultants, Inc.

Related:
Bush Enlists Alcohol Past in New Cause

Teen Media Idols: Drunk, Naked, Pregnant, Unashamed (We Have Pictures!)

Nationwide Imminent Danger Alert

Drug Abuse, Drug Overdose Killed Heath Ledger
(February 6, 2008)

We added this new information on Wednesday evening, 30 January:Heath Ledger’s abuse of heroin, cocaine and pills forced his ex-fiancee Michelle Williams to drive him to rehab in 2006, but he didn’t want to go, Us Weekly reports.For three years, Williams was a firsthand witness to the actor’s use of alcohol and drugs, including cocaine, heroin and “a variety of pills,” a Ledger confidant reportedly told the magazine.In March 2006 — when their daughter, Matilda, was only 5 months old — Williams drove Ledger to Promises Treatment Center in Malibu, Calif., the confidant reportedly told Us Weekly. Ledger refused to check in, instead swaying her with a pledge to clean up, the source said.

Both Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan were treated at Promises.

Even after the couple realized “they were in way over their heads,” according to a source, and split in September 2007, two sources told Us that Williams demanded Ledger be drug-tested before his visitations with Matilda.

When news of Ledger’s death broke last Tuesday, Williams was inconsolable, another source said.

“She cried and screamed as soon as she heard,” a source on the Swedish set of her latest film, “Mammoth,” told Us Weekly.

US envoy meets former Taliban commander

January 14, 2008
By JASON STRAZIUSO, Associated Press Writer

MUSA QALA, Afghanistan – The U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan flew to a town previously held by the Taliban in the heart of the world’s largest poppy-growing region and told the ex-militant commander now in charge there that Afghans must stop “producing poison.”

Ambassador William Wood on Sunday drank tea and talked with Mullah Abdul Salaam, a former Taliban commander who defected to the government last month and is now the district leader of Musa Qala in the southern province of Helmand.

Wood urged Salaam to tell his people to leave behind “the practice of producing poison,” and said poppy production, the key element in the opium and heroin trade, was against the law and Islam.

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080114/ap_on_re_as/
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g5m4v3Oov_qlCs0NUE

Vietnam sentences 43 heroin traffickers to death in a month

December 28, 2007
by Frank Zeller

HANOI (AFP) – Vietnam has sentenced eight heroin traffickers to death, a court official said Friday, raising to more than 40 the number of drug smugglers to receive the death penalty over the past month.

Heroin, most of it from the ‘Golden Triangle’ countries of Myanmar and Laos, is the most popular illegal drug in Vietnam and — because it is often injected with shared needles — the leading cause of HIV infections, experts say.

In the latest mass trial, the Hanoi people’s court also jailed 29 others, 18 of them for life, for trafficking heroin across the country’s mountainous north over two years, a court clerk told AFP.

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20071228/wl_asia_afp/vietnamdrugsheroinjustice_
071228084258

China set to pass first anti-drug law

December 23, 2007

BEIJING (Reuters) – China is expected to pass its first anti-drug law this week to combat drug-related crimes and reduce the number of abusers, state media said on Sunday.

Opium, heroin, marijuana, methamphetamine hydrochloride — commonly known as “ice” — as well as morphine and cocaine were listed as banned drugs in the draft, Xinhua said.

A revised version also said drug-addicted pregnant women who breast-feed babies under one year old were not suitable for compulsory rehabilitation.

At present, drug dealing is considered a crime under more general criminal laws.

Drug abuse was virtually wiped out after the Communist Party took power in 1949, but….

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20071223/wl_nm/china_drugs_law_dc_1

Thailand: UN Drug Agency Says Methamphetamine Most-abused Drug In Much Of Asia

August 8, 2007

BANGKOK, THAILAND: Illicit amphetamine-type stimulants have become the main drug of abuse in much of East and Southeast Asia, a U.N. agency announced Tuesday (Aug 7th).

Methamphetamine and similar drugs are now being produced on an industrial scale in the region, challenging the past position of opiates such as opium and heroin being the area’s dominant illicit drugs, said the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

In a 179-page report on Patterns and Trends in Amphetamine-Type Stimulants (ATS) in East Asia and the Pacific 2006, it said that almost 40 million methamphetamine pills were seized ….

Read it all:
http://e.sinchew-i.com/content.phtml?sec=2&artid=200708080005&sdate=

Another record poppy crop in Afghanistan

August 4, 2007

By MATTHEW LEE, Associated Press 

WASHINGTON – Afghanistan will produce another record poppy harvest this year that cements its status as the world’s near-sole supplier of the heroin source, yet a furious debate over how to reverse the trend is stalling proposals to cut the crop, U.S. officials say.

As President Bush prepares for weekend talks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, divisions within the U.S. administration and among NATO allies have delayed release of a $475 million counternarcotics program for Afghanistan, where intelligence officials see growing links between drugs and the Taliban, the officials said.

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070804/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/us_
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Afghanistan’s anti-drug minister resigns

July 9, 2007

KABUL, Afghanistan – Afghanistan’s counternarcotics minister has resigned only weeks after Afghan laborers finished cultivating an opium poppy crop that could exceed last year’s record haul.

Afghanistan’s poppy crop has ballooned under his watch and the country’s production last year accounted for more than 90 percent of the world’s heroin supply.

Read the rest at:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070709/ap_on_re_as/
afghanistan;_ylt=Atm5FaZq6NcfbRSWhbMxJgSs0NUE