National Geographic : 2014 Jan
SKYCAST Overhead this month in parts of the world January 2-3 Quadrantids meteor shower January 5 Jupiter and its moons visible Khat Conundrum Khat is contro- versial. People in the Horn of Africa have chewed it for centuries. Last July the plant (right) lost its last foothold in Europe when Britain declared cathinone—khat’s active ingredient—illegal. It’s been considered a nonmedical drug in the U.S. since 1993. For growers looking to sell to the East African diaspora, los- ing Britain is a major blow. That country provided a substantial consumer base of Somali immigrants. Britain also provided a hub for quick dispersal, because of its centrality and numer- ous daily flights. That’s important, since khat loses potency as it dries, usually within 48 hours. Kenyan farmers are protesting the loss of income from nearly 2,000 tons of khat exported to the U.K. a year, worth roughly $70 million. —Johnna Rizzo next PHoToS: HArry HooK, ImAgE BAnK/gETTy ImAgES (ToP); mArTIn norrIS, ALAmy 21 Khat vendors draw a crowd in Harer, Ethiopia.