Sithon will treasure this planting season as a special one: for the first time since the Vietnam War he could seed his rice safely, after MAG cleared almost 400 explosive weapons from his land.
"There were bombies [the local term for cluster submunitions] everywhere." Fifty-nine year old Sithon Manyvong recalls returning home to Naphia in 1975 after the Vietnam War had ended.
Naphia village is in Phaxay district, one of the areas of Xieng Khouang province most affected by unexploded ordnance (UXO) – the bombies, rockets, missiles, mortars and grenades that did not explode when they were used, continuing to pose a risk of detonation.
BANGKOK, April 2 (Reuters) - A suspected World War II bomb exploded in the Thai capital as scrap metal workers tried to cut it open with a blow torch, killing at least seven people and injuring 19, police said.
Construction workers found the shell at a construction site and brought it to a warehouse on the outskirts of Bangkok to be cut up.
"We believe the bomb dates back to World War Two and weighed about 227 kg. As they probably did not know (what to do), they used a blow torch to try to cut open the bomb," said police superintendent Kamthorn Uicharoen.
The Vietnamese government and international partners will mobilise all resources to overcome the consequences of unexploded ordnance (UXO) left over from the war, according to Don Tuan Phong, Vice President of the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisations (VUFO).
He noted that many organisations had joined Vietnam in the endeavour over the past 20 years, contributing 10-15 million USD every year.
The organisations also assisted the country in drawing charts of areas polluted by UXOs as well as building a database on bombs, mines and other ordnance, he added.
We were going through folders tonight looking for a set of pix for a story in works, and tripped over this memory, of a Syrian friend who had stepped away from the car for a few minutes and came walking back with a pair of unexploded submunitions he had found in a ditch.
No matter how emphatically we asked him to put them down, he just kept walking around with them. Finally, slightly amused, he heaved back and threw them, baseball-style, one by one, toward those shrubs you can see over his right shoulder.
This is a too-common behavior in Syria.
Never handle unexploded ordnance. Leave it alone, mark the area near it, warn others of its presence and notify the authorities, an NGO or a professional who can evaluate next steps.
Produced by MAG (Mines Advisory Group) in conjunction with the UN Mine Action Service, UNICEF and other Mine Action implementing agencies, the film is currently being played in refugee camps in Iraq, with plans to target other conflict-affected Syrians through broadcast on media outlets in the region.
"UXO" is short for "unexploded ordnance" — explosive weapons such as bombs, rockets, missiles, mortars and grenades that did not explode when they were used, and that still pose a risk of detonation.
The SiN-VAPOR sensor is placed in a device to identify chemical compounds. (Photo: U.S. Naval Research Laboratory/Jamie Hartman)
Improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, are homemade bombs that can both injure and kill civilians and service members. For the Department of Defense, one solution to the problem of IEDs is to find them before they explode by detecting the chemicals used in the explosives. Scientists at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) have developed a technology, using silicon to fabricate a sensor that may revolutionize the way trace chemical detection is conducted.
The sensor, called Silicon Nanowires in a Vertical Array with a Porous Electrode, or SiN-VAPOR, is a small, portable, lightweight, low power, low overhead sensor that NRL researchers hope can be distributed to warfighters in the field and to security personnel at airports across the globe.
SiN-VAPOR is an example of nanotechnology. “Nanoscale is 1x10-9 meters,” explains Dr. Christopher Field, the NRL scientist leading this research. “So, let’s assume that the diameter of a human hair is 100 microns. If you can take the diameter of a human hair, cut it, and look at the cross section area. We can fit a million of our nanowires in the cross section area of a single human hair.”
Government operations against rebels continue, despite peace talks.
Some 21,155 bombs have been planted on roads, bridges and in schools in Colombia this year, it’s reported.
And they’re just the ones its army has found. The figures - contained in a summary of the country’s military operations - showed how “thousands of lives were put at risk” by rebel groups, according to the Cali-based El Pais newspaper. It said the military seized 509 assault weapons, 474 revolvers and 391 pistols, as well as decommissioning 172 mortars and 23 rocket-propelled grenades.