World Bulletin / News Desk
The area devoted to coca cultivation in Colombia grew by more than half last year, with cocaine production up by a third, the UN said Friday in an annual report on the subject.
The total coca-growing area rose from 96,000 hectares in 2015 to 146,000 hectares in 2016 (from 237,000 acres to 361,000 acres), a 52 percent year-to-year rise, the head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Bo Mathiasen, told reporters.
Cocaine production meanwhile rose from 646 metric tons in 2015 to 866 metric tons in 2016, a 34 percent rise, he said.
But while the increases were significant, Mathiasen said, he held out hope for improvement now that Colombia has signed a peace agreement with the biggest rebel group in the country, which controls much of the drug-producing land.
The production increases came in traditional coca-producing regions -- and did not reflect expansion into new areas -- said Leonardo Correa, coordinator of the UN's Integrated Illicit Crops Monitoring System, known as SIMCI.
The UN Security Council recently decided unanimously to create a new mission for Colombia to help the former rebels of FARC, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, rejoin society as a step to securing the peace process.
For decades FARC guerrillas controlled many of the country's key coca-growing zones.
Under the peace deal, farmers will receive subsidies to switch from coca to other crops.
Colombia is the leading coca producer in Latin America, followed by Peru and Bolivia, according to the UN report.
A UN mission currently in the country has begun monitoring the destruction of weaponry surrendered by FARC militants starting June 27 as part of the historic peace accord.
Police said the suspect, 25-year-old Alek Minassian, was not known to them before Monday's carnage in Canada's most populous city, which also left 15 people injured.
At least 41 Palestinians were martyred by Israeli gunfire on Gaza border since March 30
Talks are expected to tackle the possibility of U.S. troop withdrawal from war-torn Syria
Plans to roll out an appeals process globally in coming months came as Facebook provided a first-ever look at internal standards used to decide what posts go too far in terms of hateful or threating speech.
John Bolton led Gatestone Institute from 2013 until he took his White House position earlier this month
Attack ‘not part of a wider plot and there is no threat to national security’, says public safety minister
That vote, scheduled to take place at about 5:00 pm (2100 GMT), would not end the nomination, but would put a negative recommendation in the hands of the closely-divided full Senate -- where his approval is not guaranteed.
The company said in a message to customers that the attack was detected on January 14, at a time when the app had 14 million users in the Middle East, North Africa, Pakistan and Turkey, according to the economic news website Arabian Business.
We hope everyone remains fully committed to implementation and long-term preservation, says UN under-secretary-general
Obama, who met with Mandela in 2005 and who made an emotional address at his funeral, will speak at the lecture marking 100 years since the anti-apartheid icon was born.
A total of 41 Gazans have been martyred by Israeli gunfire since March 30
On Thursday, Iraqi F-16 fighter jets struck ISIL positions in Syria
On Thursday, Iraqi F-16 fighter jets struck ISIL locations in neighboring Syria
Turkish Historical Society head cites research from past wars
Palestinian president stresses on 2-state solution to conflict, calls East Jerusalem capital