More than 100,000 Vietnamese have been killed or injured by land mines or other abandoned explosives since the Vietnam War ended nearly 40 years ago, and clearing all of the country will take decades more.
“The war’s painful legacy, which includes hundreds of thousands of tons of bombs and unexploded ordnance, continues to cause painful casualties every day,” Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung told a U.N.-sponsored conference on ways to deal with the problem.
Dung said 42,132 people have been killed and 62,163 others wounded by land mines, bombs and other explosives since the war ended in 1975. The United States used about 16 million tons of bombs and ammunition while allied with the former South Vietnam government, which was defeated by northern communist fighters who reunified the country.
U.S. Ambassador David Shear told the conference that the United States has provided $62 million to help Vietnam cope with “this painful legacy…”
Bui Hong Linh, vice minister of labor, war invalids and social affairs, said explosives remain on about 16 million acres of land, or more than one-fifth of the country.
He said only 740,000 acres or 5 percent of the contaminated area has been cleared and a recently approved government plan calls for clearance of an additional 1.2 million acres that would cost $595 million in the next five years.
Anyone actually expect the government of the United States to assume responsibility for the violence we have wrought upon so many nations? Think a bill offering to aid further in the removal of our munitions from VietNam would get through a Congress that reeks of gold-plated Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats?
Responsible and humane decision-making is an alien concept in Washington politics.
Redbelly the dog receiving award from local coppers
A mother imprisoned for lying to police about her pregnancy is battling for custody of the child she left in the yard of a neighbor shortly after his birth.
Nunu Sung is scheduled for parole in January after serving some of a three-year prison term imposed after she pleaded guilty in October 2010 to felony obstruction of justice. In exchange, prosecutors agreed they would not seek to terminate the woman’s parental rights.
However, prosecutors are now involved in terminating Sung’s parental rights to 2-year-old Joshua in favor of a Wheaton couple who are the child’s foster parents.
DuPage Circuit Judge Blanche Hill Fawell said…prosecutors may have erred in making the promise but were legally obligated to get involved in the parental termination proceedings. The judge said Sung’s only option is to file a post-conviction request to reopen her plea and sentence…
Sung’s attorneys said she hid her pregnancy because she was afraid she would be punished and scorned by her family…
A civil attorney appointed by Fawell as Joshua’s guardian filed paperwork to terminate Sung’s parental rights based largely on her abandoning the child…
The newborn was found in June 2009 by a Wheaton man who noticed the baby with its umbilical cord still attached after his dog spotted the child under a tree and barked. Prosecutors alleged the child might have died if he hadn’t been found.
“The baby, who was left outside on the cold, hard ground, had a body temperature in the low 80s and was hypothermic,” Assistant State’s Attorney Anne Therieau wrote earlier this year in court records. “But for a dog, who was let out in the morning hours, this baby would have died.”
Tough decision for lot of folks. I’d come down on the side of the wee’un who’s been living with folks who loved him from the gitgo. It’s nice that Joshua’s natural mother wants to retake the responsibility of raising him – but, she was equally ready to leave him to die.
The managers of Madonna’s charity in Malawi have been ousted after they squandered $3.8m on a school that will never be built…The damning audit came as Raising Malawi confirmed that it has scrapped plans for a $15m elite academy for girls.
The charity’s executive director, Philippe van den Bossche, the partner of Madonna’s former personal trainer, left in October after criticism of his management style and spending at the school, according to the New York Times.
“These included what auditors described as outlandish expenditures on salaries, cars, office space and golf course membership, free housing and a car and driver for the school’s director,” the paper said.
In a shakeup at the charity, the board of directors has been removed and replaced by a caretaker board that includes the 52-year-old singer and her manager, it added.
The abandonment of the Raising Malawi Academy for Girls – backed by prominent Hollywood figures and Madonna’s associates in Kabbalah – was announced in January. This caught the Malawian government by surprise and caused anger among villagers who had surrendered their homes to make way for a 117-acre construction site near the capital, Lilongwe…
Trevor Neilson, a founder of the group, said $3.8m had been spent on the unbuilt school, much of it on architects, salaries and two cars for employees who had not yet been appointed.
“Despite [this outlay], the project has not broken ground, there was no title to the land and there was, overall, a startling lack of accountability on the part of the management team in Malawi and the management team in the United States,” he was quoted as saying.
RTFA for a cautionary tale about trophy charities and celebrities who seem to need more attention than the “beneficiaries” of the charity.
Christchurch was so badly damaged in last month’s deadly earthquake that parts of New Zealand’s second largest city will have to be abandoned, Prime Minister John Key has said.
Key confirmed 10,000 homes faced demolition after the 6.3-magnitude tremor which is believed to have claimed more than 200 lives, warning that rebuilding would not be possible in some areas.
“We simply don’t know,” he told Radio New Zealand when asked which parts of the city would be deserted. “We know there’s been substantial liquefaction damage.
“It’s a statement of fact that there will be some properties that can’t be rebuilt… the question is whether it (rebuilding) is possible for certain parts of the city, certain streets or houses.”
Key said geotechnical engineers were working urgently to clarify the areas worst affected by liquefaction, caused when the quake’s shaking loosened the bonds between soil particles, turning the ground into a quagmire.
Community worker Tom McBrearty said the prime minister’s comments had increased anxiety among residents still reeling from the February 22 quake. “They interpreted… it as being that the riverside communities would not be allowed to be rebuilt, which is at this stage is incorrect. We don’t know, we’re still waiting for final analysis.”
Key said the government would provide financial assistance to those who were forced to move and was in talks with developers about releasing new subdivisions to cope with the demand for housing in the stricken city.
Christchurch mayor Bob Parker said speculation on the fate of entire suburbs was “alarmist” and urged residents to wait until geotechnical reports were complete.
Sad, sad tale. Although this earthquake technically was an aftershock of last year’s quake, it blasted along a new fault and being closer to the surface and in a populous area – just did an enormous amount of damage. More than anyone had foreseen.
A father of five children has died after falling into a mine shaft so deep and treacherous that rescuers had to abandon efforts to reach him while he was still alive.
Devin Westenskow, 28, of Evanston, Wyo., worked at a geothermal drilling operation in Nevada and had gone exploring Wednesday with two friends during his off-hours when he fell 190 feet into the open shaft northeast of Reno.
“We feel they did everything possible to rescue Devin, but that there was no way to get him out alive given the extent of his injuries and instability of the mine shaft,” the statement said. “We are forever grateful for their efforts.”
The decision to end the rescue came after two unsuccessful attempts by search teams to descend into the shaft, where Westenskow was trapped in debris, said Doran Sanchez, a U.S. Bureau of Land Management spokesman…
Westenskow was given his last rites Friday. He was pronounced dead at 12:30 p.m. that day, after the Pershing County coroner’s office determined he had stopped breathing by reviewing images from a video camera they had lowered into shaft, Sanchez said.
Word of the death was not released until Saturday because there was no cell phone service in the remote area for authorities to stay in contact…
About 50,000 abandoned mine shafts have been identified as the most hazardous in Nevada, but the shaft where the man fell wasn’t among them, BLM officials said.
The agency plans to permanently seal the shaft and several other openings in the area by Monday, Sanchez said.
Probably the saddest story of the weekend. RTFA to know a little more about it.
My first take on the story had only the too-brief wire story and the equally useless articles from the newspapers that copied it. I’m glad I found this much more complete tale from the AP in the Tacoma News-Tribune. I know now that people tried very hard to save this man’s life – risking their own – until it was proved certain to be fruitless.
As I put this to bed [me too] – I can see journalists around the world picking up the AP story online. Some of them credit Martin Griffith of the AP. Some don’t. Hard copy life ain’t much different from life online.
John Benson and Sheakia Stubbs wanted to look like legitimate shoppers last weekend when they walked into a South Street jewelry store they planned to rob, police said. They decided the best way to complete the ruse was to bring along their 4-year-old son.
But with $50,000 in stolen rings stuffed into a shopping bag, and the store owner and an employee giving chase, police said, the couple abandoned their child to make their escape.
When police caught up with the suspects at a Roosevelt Boulevard motel just after midnight, Benson and Stubbs didn’t seem too concerned about the boy.
“They didn’t ask us anything about the son,” said Police Officer Scott Brous, one of the arresting officers.
The boy, who was not harmed, was in the custody of the city Department of Human Services.
His parents face charges of attempted murder, robbery, conspiracy, and a host of other crimes.
“I think it’s unbelievable that you’d take a child with you to commit a crime,” said Capt. Laurence Nodiff, commander of South Detectives. “I think it’s reprehensible that . . . to make good on your escape, to leave your 4-year-old behind.”
Nodiff said the boy, who was not named, was able to help police identify his parents.
RTFA. These creeps shouldn’t be allowed to have a pet rock much less a child.
They are useless consumers of space and energy. I only hope their son – somehow – manages to escape their claim on him.
New Zealand police are investigating whether a woman abandoned her baby after giving birth aboard a flight to Auckland from Samoa.
Initial reports say the woman, believed to be a 30-year-old Samoan, left the baby on the plane upon landing.
The baby was found by an airline worker in a toilet compartment more than an hour later, local media reported.
Mother and child have since been reunited and are being cared for in hospital, an airline statement said.
The woman was trying to exit the airport but had misplaced her passport, New Zealand TV quoted airport sources as saying.
When she sought the help of the authorities, they noticed she was pale and her clothing was blood-stained.
The newborn was found shortly afterwards by an airline worker. One source said the baby was found in the toilet rubbish bin.
There are many flavors of post-partum dementia. Be glad that everything appears to have worked out OK – so far. I hope she gets sufficient care over the next few months at a minimum.
Over a dozen of the UK’s former coalmining sites are to be redeveloped as wind farms under a revolutionary energy scheme to turn old energy into new.
UK Coal, once the main part of the National Coal Board, has unveiled a joint venture with Peel Energy that would see 14 old colliery locations used to erect 54 turbines generating around 133MW of electric power…
The company, which has already moved into renewables through the harnessing of methane gas for power, was unwilling to say which of the 14 sites are currently earmarked for early submission for planning permission but says it hopes to have some approved within three months.
Peel Energy already boasts an onshore wind portfolio in excess of 450MW already and is involved in England’s largest scheme at Scout Moor in Lancashire which has 26 turbines.
Peel and UK Coal intend to create special purpose vehicles with a 50/50 shared ownership between them to develop a particular former colliery site for wind schemes. The coal mining group could grant the joint venture an option for a 30 year lease on the land.
What a wonderful idea. Might even make the cost of redressing disused collieries provide a bit of return on investment?
Sound thinking – and worth passing along to coal industrialists elsewhere.