Afghanistan Poppy/Opium Crop Down

A new U.N. report says poppy cultivation in Afghanistan is down 22%. Afghanistan is the world’s leading grower of the crop which is used to make heroin and opium, BBC News. Download the full U.N. report (PDF file), BBC News.

Dr. Abdullah Laghmani, the Deputy Intelligence Chief for Afghanistan, was assassinated by a suicide bomber this morning as he was leaving a mosque in Laghman province. 15 others were killed and at least 45 wounded, New York Times.

In Pakistan, the country’s religious affairs minister has survived an attempted assassination. Two gunmen shot at Hamid Saeed Kazmi as he was leaving his office. His driver was killed, but Kazmi was wounded in the leg and is being treated in hospital. The attack is thought to be retaliation from the Taliban which Pakistan has been cracking down on lately, Reuters.

A truck bomb exploded outside the Athens stock exchange  in Greece early this morning. One person was injured, Bloomberg.

A 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Indonesia today. The quake was felt in the capital of Jakarta, but was centered near Indonesia’s Java island where 15 people were killed, Voice of America.

The two American journalists, Laura Ling and Euna Lee, who were arrested for illegally crossing the border to North Korea have released their first statement since being released last month, Current TV.

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