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New Zealand May Become First Country To OK Sale Of Psychoactive "Party Pills"

AAP (Australia); NZ HERALD, RADIO NEW ZEALAND, SCOOP (New Zealand)

Worldcrunch

WELLINGTON - Parliament on Tuesday approved a measure that would make New Zealand the first country to legalize synthetic drugs, otherwise known as party pills. If it gains final approval later this year, the Psychoactive Substances Bill would create a system to test and approval certain mind-altering drugs.

This bill, reports the Scoop Media website, would allow for the sale and consumption of synthetic drugs that have been proven to be safe and meet manufacturing requirements. Prison sentences of eight years will be imposed on those selling drugs that are not legally approved.

Radio New Zealand says this will apply to all products that contain psychoactive material -- excluding alcohol or tobacco -- or those covered in the country's Misuse of Drugs Act.

The application fee for the clinical trials for all companies seeking approval of their products will cost more than $150,000, and testing could run up to $1.7 million, says the NZ Herald.

Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne said in March that most countries have tried prohibiting synthetic highs, but soon all faced the same problem of new variations quickly returning to the market, reports the AAP. "There is a game of cat and mouse where an irresponsible industry seeks to elude authorities and circumvent the law by bringing new chemicals to a lucrative market."

New Zealand Drug Foundation executive director Ross Bell called for a ban on advertising, as well as requirements of “unsexy packaging.” He said that plain packaging should be introduced as part of the legislation to prevent legal battles with the industry in the future.

In order to prove that these drugs are safe, they must be tested. Dunne says whether it will be on animals or not was still to be decided, according to the Herald. He did, however, rule out “the controversial” lethal dose 50% (LD50) test, where increasing doses of a tested drug are given to a sample group of animals until half of them die.

A final vote on the legislation is slated for August.

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Geopolitics

Utter Pessimism, What Israelis And Palestinians Share In Common

Right now, according to a joint survey of Israelis and Palestinians, hopes for a peaceful solution of coexistence simply don't exist. The recent spate of violence is confirmation of the deepest kind of pessimism on both sides for any solution other than domination of the other.

An old Palestinian protester waves Palestinian flag while he confronts the Israeli soldiers during the demonstration against Israeli settlements in the village of Beit Dajan near the West Bank city of Nablus.

A Palestinian protester confronts Israeli soldiers during the demonstration against Israeli settlements in the West Bank village of Beit Dajan on Jan. 6.

Pierre Haski

-Analysis-

PARIS — Just before the latest outbreak of violence between Israelis and Palestinians, a survey of public opinion among the two peoples provided a key to understanding the current situation unfolding before our eyes.

It was a joint study, entitled "Palestinian-Israeli Pulse", carried out by two research centers, one Israeli, the other Palestinian, which for years have been regularly asking the same questions to both sides.

The result is disastrous: not only is the support for the two-state solution — Israel and Palestine side by side — at its lowest point in two decades, but there is now a significant share of opinion on both sides that favors a "non-democratic" solution, i.e., a single state controlled by either the Israelis or Palestinians.

This captures the absolute sense of pessimism commonly felt regarding the chances of the two-state option ever being realized, which currently appears to be our grim reality today. But the results are also an expression of the growing acceptance on both sides that it is inconceivable for either state to live without dominating the other — and therefore impossible to live in peace.

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