Vietnam getting U.S. help with dioxin cleanup
In 1961, the United States adopted a strategy in the war against North Vietnam to drastically cut back the natural camouflage by spraying herbicides in jungles to defoliate trees.
Two herbicides were blended in very high concentrations to create Agent Orange, named from the colors of the barrels in which it was shipped. Some reports claim it was also mixed with jet fuel. But the worst problem was that the herbicides had been contaminated by one of the most toxic forms of the chemical dioxin.
When returning veterans complained of the ill effects of exposure to Agent Orange, they were met with much denial from the government, as well as from herbicide maker Dow Chemical. Even today, Dow denies links between Agent Orange and veterans illnesses.
From 1961 to 1971, the U.S. sprayed about 20 million gallons of Agent Orange and other plant-killers over more than 5 million acres of land. While U.S. soldiers were exposed to Agent Orange, the residents of the areas sprayed – which included Vietnam as well as Laos and Cambodia – took the brunt of the chemical. Today, more than 20 Vietnamese sites remain contaminated with dioxin.
Finally, a half-century after spraying Agent Orange, the U.S. has agreed to a cleanup of one of the sites, an air base in Danang. The reaction in Vietnam was mixed: There is a too little, too late opinion among some Vietnamese, but the government is glad to get any help in ridding the site of the poisonous remains.
Manchester United is to British soccer what the New York Yankees are to baseball, only more so. Manchester is perhaps the most beloved sports team in the world. So when plans to take it public were announced, it seemed as if buyers would be plentiful.
But the underwriters of the initial public offering werent so sure. They cut the price of the IPO from an estimated $16 to $20 to $14 – and that price was in question after sales began Friday.
Sports franchises are popular, but their success – at least financially – as publicly traded companies is less than stellar. The Boston Celtics, for example, went public in the 1980s and the Cleveland Indians sold stock in the 1990s, but both were taken private again after their stocks struggled.
While Manchester the team is popular, Manchester as a company on the New York Stock Exchange has some problems. For one, Americans are not nearly the soccer fans Europeans are. Second, the team has a lot of debt. Third, the Glazer family, which owns the team, will retain voting control. And finally, the IPO business isnt exactly gangbusters these days, particularly after the Facebook offering fell flat.
With more than half a billion Facebook followers, theres no question Manchester United is popular. But the lackluster response to a chance to buy a small piece of a favorite team shows that watching and rooting for a team is one thing, but business is business.