All posts in category 'Agriculture'

What We Leave Behind

December 16th, 2006 | Posted in Agriculture, Economy, War and Terror

From Kosovo to Lebanon, cluster bomb casualties continue to mount

By Frida Berrigan – IN THESE TIMES

afghan.jpg In just one week in October, a series of bomb scares swept across Germany. Outside of Hannover, 22,000 people were evacuated when three bombs were discovered. A few days later in the same city, a weapons removal squad defused a 500-pound bomb found near the highway. Finally, a highway worker was killed when his cutting machine hit a buried bomb on the main highway into Frankfurt.

The bombs hadn’t been planted by terrorists, and they weren’t the opening salvos of the next war. The culprit was unexploded ordnance left over from a war fought more than 60 years ago. “We’ll have enough work to keep us busy for the next 100 to 120 years,” the owner of a bomb-defusing company told the New York Times.

The submunitions dispersed by cluster bombs are a lot smaller than 500 pounds, but their use in every major conflict since World War II ensures that bomb clearers the world over will have work for decades—even centuries—to come. From Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, to the countries of the former Yugoslavia, and onto Afghanistan, Iraq and Lebanon, modern battlefields are littered with bombs that continue to kill long after wars have ended. Ninety-eight percent of those killed or injured by cluster bombs are civilians. And yet international efforts to restrict the use of cluster bombs—modeled after landmine treaties of previous years—are being undermined by lack of U.S. participation. Worse, instead of destroying old cluster bomb stockpiles, the United States is exporting them to allies around the world. (more…)

Lebanese farmers seek government help

December 7th, 2006 | Posted in Agriculture, Economy, War and Terror

Lebanese farms

UN estimates Israel war cost to agriculture industry some US $280 million, farmers left in debt, poverty.

BEIRUT – Desperate Lebanese farmers are urging their government to do more to help them recover from a war that the United Nations estimates has cost the vital agriculture industry some US $280 million and left them facing “a downward spiral of debt and poverty”.

“I personally lost over 50 million Lebanese pounds [$35,000],” said Mohammed Mokahhal, a farmer from the eastern Bekaa Valley, describing his losses in the month-long summer war between Israel and militants from the Lebanese Hezbollah political party.

“I couldn’t harvest my potatoes or tend to vegetables like lettuces and peas which I had planted a week before the Israeli attacks began,” said the father of two. “And even when I managed to pick some I couldn’t transport them to the market because of the threatening situation.” (more…)

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