Cannabis to pay debts
SPAIN: A small town in north-eastern Spain believes it has found a novel way to pay of its debt — cultivating cannabis.
Tucked in the hills of one of Spain’s most picturesque regions, the Catalonian village of Rasquera has agreed to rent out land to grow marijuana, an enterprise the local authorities say will allow them to pay off their 1.3 million euro debt in two years.
Local authorities are keeping the location of the site top secret while Spain’s attorney general
investigates the legality of the project. The Catalan regional government has also asked the village for further information.
Spanish towns are swamped in debt after a decade-long construction boom that imploded in 2008. Almost one in four Spanish workers is jobless and many cities are months behind in salaries for street cleaners and other municipal employees.
Spain’s central government is now forcing local authorities to tighten their belts even further as Euro Zone debt crisis drags on, forcing greater fiscal austerity onto most countries using the single European currency.
The mayor of Rasquera, with 900 inhabitants, said the project will not only benefit locals, but also eliminate organised crime and
the tax evasion associated with the cannabis industry thanks to government supervision.
The Barcelona Personal Use Cannabis Association (ABCDA) will pay Rasquera 54,170 euros a month from July 2012 for a 15 hectare plot of land and local authorities hope the farm will generate 40 jobs in the village.
Escaped penguin wins freedom
TOKYO: A determined, young penguin has escaped captivity
by reportedly circumventing the walls of the Tokyo Sea Life Park and was last spotted swimming in Tokyo Bay, near the Japanese capital.
“We first noticed the penguin might have fled when the director of a neighbouring zoo e-mailed
us Sunday with a photo,” Park Official Takashi Sugino told the AFP.
The one-year-old Humboldt penguin was spotted by the zoo director, where it was bathing in the mouth of the Kyu-Edo River. The zookeeper then snapped a picture of the penguin, who almost appears to be waving to the
camera, and sent it to officials at the Tokyo Sea Life Park.