Quiz: How much did opium poppy cultivation change in Afghanistan from 2008 to 2009?

For those of you who don't subscribe to the bimonthly print edition of Foreign Policy, you're missing a great feature: the FP Quiz. It has eight intriguing questions about how the world works.

(Meanwhile, prepare for the Olympics' opening ceremony by taking Slate's national-anthem quiz.)

The question I'd like to highlight this week is:

By how much did opium poppy cultivation change in Afghanistan from 2008 to 2009?

a) up 22 percent      b) remained stable       c) down 22 percent 

Answer after the jump …


C, down 22 percent.

Opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan fell just over a fifth from 157,000 hectares in 2008 to 123,000 in 2009, according to the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime. The most noteworthy drop was in the country's unstable Helmand province, where cultivation dropped 33 percent from 2008 to 2009. The turnaround is attributed in part to stronger leadership from the governor, more effective counternarcotics operations, and an improvement in the incentives for growing legal crops.

And for more questions about how the world works, check out the rest of the FP Quiz.



Haitian judge recommends release for missionaries

The judge deciding whether 10 U.S. missionaries should face child kidnapping charges for trying to remove children from the earthquake-battered country, has apparently decided they should be released:

"After listening to the families, I see the possibility that they can all be released," Saint-Vil told The Associated Press. "I am recommending that all 10 Americans be released."

He would not elaborate, and it was not clear whether his decision means the charges may be dropped.

Haiti's chief prosecutor can still appeal the ruling and there is still speculation that the 10 could be transferred to the U.S. to face charges there. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley seemed to leave this possibility on the table in a briefing on Tuesday:

"This is a Haitian legal process. The matters right now involve whether these individuals have broken Haitian law. We have talked to Haitian officials in general terms about their ability to conduct this procedure. If they want to explore alternative avenues with us, we will be happy to have that conversation," he said.