92 nations sign cluster-bomb ban; US, Russia don’t

Lewiston Sun Journal

12/03/08

An Afghan teenager who lost both legs in a cluster bomb explosion helped persuade his country to change its stance and join nearly 100 nations in signing a treaty Wednesday banning the disputed weapons. Afghanistan was initially reluctant to join the pact - which the United States and Russia have refused to support - but agreed to after lobbying by victims maimed by cluster munitions, including 17-year-old Soraj Ghulan Habib. The teen, who uses a wheelchair, met with his country’s ambassador to Norway, Jawed Ludin, at a two-day signing conference in Oslo...

//tinyurl.com/5lkeyq



The secret war

Guardian [UK]
by Ian MacKinnon

12/03/08

More than 100 countries will today sign a convention banning the use of cluster bombs. In Laos, the most bombed nation on earth, their lethal legacy is a part of daily life. … The deadly harvest from the US bombing of this landlocked country 30 years ago in the so-called ’secret war’ as the real battle raged in next-door Vietnam has become big business. Steel prices that surged on the back of soaring demand from China’s go-go economy drove up scrap prices five-fold in eight years in impoverished Laos. It sent subsistence rice farmers, struggling make to ends meet amid spiralling food and fuel prices, scurrying into their fields in search of the new ‘cash crop.’ But it comes at a high price. At least 13,000 people have been killed or maimed, either digging in fields contaminated with live bombs or, increasingly, in their quest for lucrative scrap metal...

//tinyurl.com/6eqbew


Informant: Thomas L. Knapp



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