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U.S. reducing coca crops, U.N. reports

By Wire services
Published September 18, 2003

BOGOTA, Colombia - The United Nations said Wednesday that American-financed aerial eradication of Colombia's vast coca fields is starting to pay big dividends, releasing new estimates that show the size of the crop dropping by 32 percent in the first seven months of the year.

Production of coca, the main ingredient in cocaine, is increasing slightly in Peru and Bolivia. But the sizable reduction in Colombia's crop means that for the first time overall coca production in the Andes is dropping at a rapid pace.

The new estimates from the U.N. Drug Control Program show that at the current rate, Colombia's coca crop will be reduced 50 percent by the end of the year.

In Spain, Osama bin Laden indicted in 9/11 attacks

MADRID - Spain's leading investigating judge issued the first known indictment against Osama bin Laden in the Sept. 11 attacks on Wednesday, accusing al-Qaida of using the country as a base to plot the devastating strikes on New York and Washington.

Investigative magistrate Baltasar Garzon indicted 35 people for terrorist activities connected to bin Laden's al-Qaida network.

Bin Laden is under U.S. indictment in the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

Sweden tests DNA of suspect in assassination

STOCKHOLM, Sweden - Swedish police used DNA testing in hopes of linking a 35-year-old drifter now in custody to the slaying of Foreign Minister Anna Lindh. But they said Wednesday they were seeking at least five more people.

A week after Lindh, 46, was fatally stabbed in her stomach, chest and arms in a department store, police were under intense scrutiny, particularly because of complaints they had not done enough since the 1986 assassination of Prime Minister Olof Palme, whose killer was never found.

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