NEWS

Screen Shot 2014-05-21 at 8.24.56 AM21 MAY 1420  MAY 14VTE 18 APR 14Screen Shot 2014-04-08 at 9.20.30 PMVTE 9 APR 14 p.325 MAR 14Immediate UXO clearanceUXO obstacle 14 MAR 14Femaile deminer - 8 MAR 14NRA 3:3:14VTE 13 FEB 14 UXO 12 FEB 14Cave-dwelling 25JAN14 #1Cave-dwelling 25JAN14 #2UXO 23 JAN 14Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 7.08.40 PM Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 7.09.37 PMScreen Shot 2013-12-11 at 7.08.40 PM

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UXO training by experts from India

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 Children killed & maimed by UXO in Luang Prabang

1Shot-2013-08-28-at-7

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New U.S. Ambassador to Lao PDR - 7/26/2013 Yesterday morning, the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific held a confirmation hearing for Mr. Daniel Clune, the nominee to be Ambassador to Laos, and Mr. Joseph Yun, the nominee to be Ambassador to Malaysia. Mr. Daniel Clune, a career diplomat in the United States Foreign Service, said that he would have five priorities as Ambassador. First, he would seek to resolve issues arising from the Vietnam War, namely accounting for 309 persons missing in action and removing unexploded ordinances, which annually kill 56 persons. Second, Mr. Clune would seek to promote human rights and reform of the Laotian legal systems.  Mr. Clune expressed his concern over the disappearance of Lao civil society leader Sombath Somphone from a police station in the capital in 2012 and the recent forced return of nine young orphan North Korean asylum seekers to North Korea. Third, Mr. Clune would continue US-Lao cooperation on counter-narcotics, the environment, and healthcare. In particular, he would like to encourage US-Lao cooperation on damn building projects along the Mekong river, a source of livelihood for nearly 70 million people, so they do not negatively impact local populations, wildlife, or natural habitats. Fourth, he would focus on increasing people-to-people connections in Laos.  70% of the Laotian population is under 30 years old, and Mr. Clune would seek to build ties with students, young professionals, and government officials. Finally, Mr. Clune would prioritize developing economic ties between the United States and Laos.  Currently, only 1% of Laos’ foreign trade is with the United States.  Additionally, Mr. Clune would continue economic engagement with the Laotian government.  Last year, the United States helped Laos join the World Trade Organization and it is currently assisting the Laotian government meet its WTO obligations.

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Voices From the Plain of Jars: Life Under An Air War has just been republished and, as historian Alfred McCoy notes in the foreword, “today the significance of its message has, if anything, increased.”  Voices is unique because the book was written by the victims of U.S. Executive Secret war  themselves,

“The most appalling episode of lawless cruelty in American history (is) the bombing of Laos.  . . . The human results … are described without rancor—almost unbearably so—in a small book that will go down as a classic. It is “Voices From the Plain of Jars,” … in which the villagers of Laos themselves describe what the bombers did to their civilization.”  -  New York Times columnist Anthony Lewis.

Share the book “Voices from the Plain of Jars”

http://www.amazon.com/Voices-Plain-Jars-Perspectives-Studies

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Roger Rumpf,

international peace activist, dies at 68

Roger Arnold – Roger Rumpf, a peace activist who spent years in Laos and drew international attention to the problem of unexploded bombs from the Vietnam War era, died April 9. He was 68.

By , Published: May 11

Over a period of about 10 years during the war in Vietnam, more than 2 million tons of explosive ordnance fell from U.S. planes on the lush neighboring nation of Laos — a campaign intended to choke off the Ho Chi Minh trail used as a supply route by the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong. According to United Nations statistics, Laos became, per capita, the most heavily bombed country in history.Some of the miniature bombs looked like fruit, a design intended to entice the enemy in a war that ended nearly four decades ago. A farmer’s hoe is enough to set one off; so is a misstep by a grazing cow. Children mistake the “bombis,” as they are known, for toys.
Roger Rumpf, who died April 9 at 68 on his farm in Warrensburg, Mo., dedicated nearly his entire adult life to Laos — and to keeping that country in the American consciousness as memory of the Vietnam War faded. For years he was a sort of unofficial U.S. ambassador in Laos and a prominent advocate in Washington for Laotian issues, particularly the problem of the leftover unexploded bombs that continue to maim and kill.His death, from leukemia and acute myelodysplastic syndrome, was confirmed by his wife, Jacquelyn Chagnon.Peace had been a concern in Mr. Rumpf’s family for generations. His German ancestors came to the United States in the 19th century in part to avoid conscription in the military. His parents stood out in their farming community during the racial tension of the civil rights era — they read Ebony magazine, Chagnon said, and hired African Americans at a time when many other whites did not.During the draft for the Vietnam War, Mr. Rumpf went before his draft board and described himself as a conscientious objector, his wife said. By the early 1970s, both had joined an initiative called the Indochina Mobile Education Project — a traveling exhibit created to educate Americans about the people of Indochina and how the Vietnam War had affected them.Mr. Rumpf first went to Laos in 1978, three years after the war ended. The American Friends Service Committee, the Quaker social justice organization, had selected him and Chagnon as co-field directors for operations in Indochina.“It was such a stark thing,” said John Cavanagh, an activist who worked with Mr. Rumpf in the 1970s and today is director of the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington. “Everyone else is coming home,” Cavanagh said, referring to U.S. military personnel, “and here [were] Roger and Jacqui going in the other direction.”They stayed in Laos until 1982, then returned in 1986 for another four years.During the second tour, the New York Times reported that the entire unofficial U.S. aid program in Laos consisted of four people — Mr. Rumpf and his wife and another couple representing the Mennonite Central Committee. There was no official aid program.Mr. Rumpf and his wife lived on the Mekong River in the capital of Vientiane. They quickly understood the severity of the dangers created by unexploded ordnance, known as UXO.“It’s hard for Americans to understand,” Mr. Rumpf told Round Earth Media years later. “You walk down a path, you move anywhere, you gotta look down . . . you gotta watch what you’re stepping on, and you’ll probably be stepping on a few underneath the ground.”[continues on 2nd page of Washington Post 11 MAY 2013]

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76cd13s-1 LG

July 11, 2012 July 11, 2012 #2

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Vientiane Times – 7 MAY 2013

UXO CLEARANCE VEHICLE TO BE MODIFIED FOR WORK IN LAOS

 A specialised Japanese-made Komatsu Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) clearance vehicle under trial in Xieng Khuang province will be taken back to Japan for modifications to improve its efficiency in the Three Japanese technicians from the Japan Mine Action Service (JMAS) working for the pilot programme reported to the National Regulatory Authority (NRA) on Thursday.

The UXO clearance vehicle will return to start a new pilot programme in Xieng Khuang province from September to December this year after the modifications have been made, NRA’s public relations officer Mr. Bounpheng Sisawath told Vientiane Times on Friday.  The vehicle was successfully tested from January to April this year on fake bombs in Nahoy village, Paek district. Technicians then tested the vehicle in a field 100m wide and 100m long containing live “Technicians in Japan need to improve the part of the machine that removes the bombies because it was unable to destroy all of the real cluster bombs it encountered during testing,” Mr Bounpheng said.

The NRA has said it will not lay off people presently working on UXO clearance if the vehicle is By 2020 the government aims to clear UXO from 200,000 hectares of land, removing ordnance from The vehicle provided by JMAS takes one hour to clear one hectare of all cluster bombs, the pilot The Lao National UXO Programme (UXO Lao) employs 22 people to clear one hectare each month, meaning only 5,000 hectares of land can be cleared each year.  So far, almost 30,000 hectares of UXO-contaminated land have been cleared since 1996. According to the NRA, the vehicle will be used to remove UXO from open spaces, while trained teams of personnel will carry out the work in villages and places the vehicle cannot access, such as hillsides.

Xieng Khuang province is the second most UXO-contaminated province in Laos after Savannakhet, with most of the ordnance being cluster sub-munitions. Savannakhet and other UXO-affected provinces in southern Laos are mostly contaminated by larger Xieng Khuang is more heavily impacted by bombies than any other province, with surveys revealing there are 90 to 100 unexploded sub-munitions per hectare of rice field.  JMAS began unexploded ordnance clearance in the province in 2006.

The organisation implements its activities in cooperation with the government’s UXO Lao programme, helping local people to enjoy a safe and peaceful life in a developing environment.

VTE Times 3 MAY 122

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Jan 10, 2012

One Response to NEWS

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