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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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Big turnout for protest in Texas town known as a ‘haven’ for the Ku Klux Klan

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Protesters gathered in Vidor, Texas on Saturday for a rally against racism and police violence.

https://twitter.com/JordanJamesTV/status/1269366486189080576

The East Texas town has long had a reputation for racism.

Vidor is a small city of about 11,000 people near the Texas Gulf Coast, not too far from the Louisiana border. Despite the fact that Beaumont, a much bigger city just 10 minutes away, is quite integrated, Vidor is not. There are very few blacks there; it's mostly white. That is in large part because of a history of racism in Vidor, a past that continues to haunt the present," Keith Oppenheim reported for CNN in 2006.

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BUSTED: Key Trump aide caught pushing racist vigilantism on social media

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Video of a chainsaw-wielding Texas man threatening protesters while shouting the n-word went viral on Friday.

While many people were shocked by the video, one of President Donald Trump's top advisors supported the racism and vigilantism in documented in the video, according to a new report.

"President Donald Trump and his allies for years have amplified racist messages on Twitter while simultaneously reaching out to black and Hispanic voters, a dissonant balancing act that’s now rocking the GOP amid nationwide racial-justice protests," Politico reported Saturday. "The two competing forces collided Saturday on the Twitter feed of Trump campaign senior adviser Mercedes Schlapp, when she boosted a tweet that lauded a man in Texas in a viral video as he yelled the n-word and wielded a chainsaw to chase away anti-racism demonstrators."

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2020 Election

Trump may ‘fatally wound’ his reelection by snubbing North Carolina: CNN analyst

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President Donald Trump risks alienating voters in the key swing state of North Carolina if he moves his RNC convention speech to another state, political analyst James C. Moore explained for CNN.

"Of all the institutions the Trump presidency is harming, it's likely no one suspected the Republican National Convention might be one of them. But President Donald Trump's refusal to fully acknowledge the risks associated with the pandemic is creating a new political threat to his own candidacy," he wrote. "The Republican National Convention was slated to take place in Charlotte, North Carolina, in August. But the pandemic struck, and the governor has insisted on a scaled down event with safety precautions that include social distancing and face masks. The President, who wants his huddled masses shoulder to shoulder as they shout their acclimations, is now looking to deliver his convention speech in another city."

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