Saturday, November 23, 2002

Places&Culture from
NY Times

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia -- Nearly 300 years ago, this city began to rise from the Neva's boggy delta. Thousands of workers labored in a monumental effort against time and the elements to satisfy the autocratic will of one man: Peter the Great. Today, thousands of workers are involved in an endeavor nearly as monumental: to restore the city's elegance and Baroque grandeur. Once again, they are laboring against time, as well as a bureaucracy and corruption. Once again, they are doing so largely to satisfy the will of one man: President Vladimir V. Putin. In time for the 300th anniversary of St. Petersburg's founding next May, the city has embarked on its largest reconstruction and restoration project since the German siege of Leningrad — as it was known during Soviet times — was broken near the end of World War II.

DALTON, Ga. — This sturdy town in the Appalachian foothills likes to call itself "the carpet capital of the world," and its industry has thrived over the last decade as thousands of Mexican immigrants have flocked to jobs in the mills. More recently, though, federal and local law enforcement officials say the same pipeline of immigration and trade has been exploited by Mexican drug traffickers, who have helped turn this corner of northwestern Georgia into a busy distribution center for methamphetamine and other drugs.... From Alaska to South Carolina, law enforcement officials said, Mexican traffickers have taken advantage of spreading Mexican immigration and freer North American trade to establish themselves as the dominant wholesale suppliers of illegal drugs across much of the United States.

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