Bombs away!

Cluster Bomb Treaty: Signing Begins to Bring Ban on Production
Governments from around the world today began signing an international convention banning the production of cluster bombs - unexploded canisters that have killed and maimed thousands of civilians and remain scattered dozen of countries.

At the Oslo signing ceremony, Norway, which has led the efforts to ban cluster munitions, was the first country to sign. It was followed by Laos - where cluster bombs dropped by US planes more than 30 years ago are still killing civilians, and Lebanon, another country affected by the weapons.

By the end of tomorrow, around 100 of the United Nations' 192 members will have signed up. Once 30 countries have ratified the convention, it will become part of international humanitarian law.

There will, however, be a number of notable absentees, including the US, China, Russia, India, Pakistan and Israel.