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Afghanistan’s opium cultivation to surge in 2013: UN

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Opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan is expected to increase for a third straight year, expanding even to poppy-free areas this year, a United Nations report warned on Monday.

The Afghanistan Opium Risk Assessment 2013 said Afghanistan was moving towards record levels of opium production this year despite eradication efforts by the international community and Afghan government.

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“The assessment suggests that poppy cultivation is not only expected to expand in areas where it already existed in 2012… but also in new areas or in areas where poppy cultivation was stopped,” the survey said.

The study by the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) says that a strong association between insecurity, lack of agricultural assistance and opium cultivation are fuelling the trend.

“Villages with a low level of security and those which had not received agricultural assistance in the previous year were significantly more likely to grow poppy in 2013,” the report said.

Twelve provinces are likely to show an increase in opium cultivation, while three provinces formerly free of poppy are at risk if eradication is not implemented, it said.

Cultivation is mostly increasing in southern provinces where the Taliban are more active and thousands of international troops are set to withdraw this year.

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Afghanistan produces about 90 percent of the world’s opium and in 2012 the UNODC warned that opium cultivation in the country had increased by 18 percent.

Last month, Afghanistan said it planned to destroy 15,000 hectares (37,000 acres) of poppy fields this year in its latest efforts to control the heroin trade that fuels endemic violence and corruption.

Poppy farmers are taxed by Taliban militants who use the cash to help fund their insurgency against the government and NATO forces, according to the UNODC.

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The poppies, which provide huge profits in one of the world’s poorest countries, also play a large part in the corruption that plagues Afghan life at every level from district to national government.


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Trump fumes over Roger Stone’s conviction — and demands to know when Mueller and ‘Shifty Schiff’ get prosecuted

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President Donald Trump reacted to Roger Stone's guilty verdict by threatening to jail at least 12 of his political opponents.

His longtime associate was convicted on seven counts, including lying to Congress, on charges brought by special counsel Robert Mueller as part of the investigation of Russian election interference.

"So they now convict Roger Stone of lying and want to jail him for many years to come," Trump tweeted. "Well, what about Crooked Hillary, Comey, Strzok, Page, McCabe, Brennan, Clapper, Shifty Schiff, Ohr & Nellie, Steele & all of the others, including even Mueller himself? Didn’t they lie?"

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Roger Stone convicted on all seven counts on charges filed in Mueller probe

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Roger Stone was convicted Friday on multiple counts on charges brought by special counsel Robert Mueller.

The longtime associate of President Donald Trump was convicted on all seven counts.

He was charged with lying to Congress, obstruction of Congress, witness tampering and other crimes.

Stone was the nexus between the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks coordinating the release of emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman by Russian hackers, according to investigators.

He potentially faces up to 50 years in prison under the statutes, but most likely will be sentenced to far less.

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Fox News’ Chris Wallace: ‘If you are not moved by the testimony of Marie Yovanovitch today, you don’t have a pulse’

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During a break in the testimony of former United States ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch before a House committee holding impeachment hearings on Donald Trump, Fox News host Chris Wallace praised her poise and devastating testimony, saying viewers should be "moved" by her story.

As the House hearing chamber emptied of lawmakers, Wallace was effusive in his praise.

"I think if you are not moved, and we will have to watch what happens in the cross-examination, but if you were not moved by the testimony of Marie Yovanovitch, you don't have a pulse," he said.

"This is a woman who had served in posts for presidents of both parties for more than 30 years," he added. "Hardship posts, places like Somalia, Tashkent, and she tells a story of being a leading fighter against corruption," before he provided more details about her stellar career and noting the president had her summarily fired by a new Trump hire.

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