Published: Monday 15 April 1996

Pay dues, else lose your right to vote: this seems to be the current slogan of the LIN as it seeks to fight its deepening financial crisis. As a first step, it has stripped 35 countries out of a total of 185 of their voting rights. These countries which include 17 from Africa, owe the LIN sums ranging from as low as US $480 (Cape Verde) to US $3.5 million (Georgia). LIN spokesperson Sylvana Foa, says that the world body is even considering the idea of plastic money to tide over the crisis. LIN officials are now looking into changing the scale of assessments which stipulates how much each of the member-states should pay for the budget.

Synthetic drug abuse has assumed alarming proportions, says a recent study by the LIN Drug Control Programme (UNDCP). Synthetic drugs are different from the plant-based drugs - cannabis, cocaine and heroin - in that they are made of chemical stimulants like methamphetamine, amphetamine and hallucinogens and include ecstasy and LSD. Their "versatility, high yields and high fianancial rewards clearly establish this group as a top candidate for global expansion", reveals the UNDCP report. Their consumption worldwide could soon overtake the plant-based drugs, warns the study.

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