In brief: Separatists will honor cease-fire in Ukraine
Donetsk, Ukraine – In a possible sign of progress, a leader of separatists in eastern Ukraine said Monday that the militants would honor a temporary cease-fire declared by the nation’s president to help bring an end to fighting in which hundreds have been killed.
The announcement to reporters came at a meeting between a former Ukrainian president and leaders of the pro-Russia separatists at a militant-held building in the regional capital of Donetsk.
Oleksandr Boroday, the self-styled prime minister of the breakaway “People’s Republic of Donetsk,” said separatist authorities in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions would suspend hostilities until Friday, in line with a unilateral cease-fire declared by President Petro Poroshenko.
Boroday also pledged that the insurgents would release observers they are holding from the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe, or OSCE, according to news reports.
Although initially skeptical, Russia has supported the truce and urged both sides over the weekend to negotiate a compromise that will protect the interests of the many Russian speakers in eastern Ukraine.
Cultivation of coca decreases in Bolivia
La Paz, Bolivia – The area under coca cultivation in Bolivia in 2013 was the smallest t in 12 years, decreasing 9 percent from 2012, the United Nations reported Monday.
That doesn’t necessarily mean Bolivia is producing less cocaine. The U.N. Office of Drugs and Crime does not measure potential cocaine production in Bolivia, the No. 3 coca producer, or in Peru, which the U.S. government says has been the world’s top cocaine producer since 2011.
The United Nations said Bolivia’s coca crop was down to 29 square miles last year. That is 11.5 square miles more than Bolivia’s government says is needed to meet demand for the traditional uses of coca leaf. It is a mild stimulant used in religious rituals and is chewed and taken in tea to fight off fatigue and altitude sickness.
Last week, the U.N. said Peru’s coca crop was down 17.5 percent last year – to 192 square miles.