New Zealand supplied Agent Orange chemicals to the US military during the Vietnam war, a government minister has revealed. \nThe disclosure led to immediate claims that New Zealand was in breach of the Geneva convention and could face a flood of lawsuits from veterans and Vietnamese. \nTransport Minister Harry Duynhoven said the highly toxic chemical was sent to a US base in the Philippines during the 1960s. \n"The information that has been given to me is that products used to make Agent Orange were shipped from New Plymouth to Subic Bay in the Philippines," he told the Sunday News newspaper. \nAfter nearly three decades of official denials, a high-level parliamentary committee formally acknowledged late last year that New Zealand soldiers in the Vietnam War were significantly exposed to Agent Orange, but no mention was ever made that the country was a supplier. \nAlthough the National Party was in power during the Vietnam War, Duynhoven said his current Labor government was responsible for setting the record straight. \n"Any government has to deal with the situation it finds itself in and it's always a problem if previous governments leave a mess." \nVeterans spokesman John Moller said the government must compensate ex-soldiers and their families, some of whom have suffered generations of health problems. \n"It's bloody unacceptable what the New Zealand government has done to us and the other countries involved in the war," he said. \n"Through their deceit, cover-up and negligence, the New Zealand government has the blood of thousands of Kiwis, Vietnamese, Australians and Americans on their hands." \nUnder the Geneva Convention, countries cannot be party to chemical warfare and must declare the use or supply of defoliants during conflicts. \nThe vice-chancellor of Canterbury University, Scott Davidson, an authority on international law, said the government had left itself open to lawsuits from Vietnamese. US lawyer Constantine Kokkoris, who represents Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange, said he may sue the New Zealand government. \n"It is my intention at this time to look into the possibility of bringing a class against against the New Zealand government," he said \nDavidson said if negotiations between Kokkoris and the government broke down, the UN could be called on to find a setting for a court case. \nFrom 1961 to 1971, the US and South Vietnamese military sprayed millions of liters of toxic herbicides, mainly Agent Orange, over South Vietnam to destroy the vegetation used by communist forces for cover and food. \nHanoi says the defoliant has caused health problems for more than one million Vietnamese and continues to have devastating consequences. A study released last year found that Agent Orange was still contaminating people through their food. Dioxin, the defoliant's deadly component, can cause an increased risk of cancers, immunodeficiencies, reproductive and developmental changes, nervous system and other health problems.
A long line of people on Sunday snaked across the sand of Miami Beach, Florida, as dozens of travelers from Latin America waited their turn at a pop-up COVID-19 vaccination booth. Sweating under the afternoon sun, visitors checked into an online system — no proof of residence required — and soon after received a free, single-dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and a vaccination card. People had come from all over Latin America — Ecuador, El Salvador, Venezuela — where the vaccine rollout has been slow and hampered by supply shortages. “In my country, [COVID-19] is getting out of hand and there’s
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US actress Scarlett Johansson on Saturday urged the film industry to “step back” from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) as criticism of the opaque film industry group, which controls the Golden Globe awards, continues to mount for sexism and racism. The Avengers star said in a statement that the “HFPA is an organization that was legitimized by the likes of Harvey Weinstein to amass momentum for Academy recognition.” Johansson said that “as an actor promoting a film,” participating in the organization’s news conferences and award shows “has often meant facing sexist questions and remarks by certain HFPA members that bordered on
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