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Live from Abu Dhabi Connect the World takes you on a journey across continents, investigating the stories that are changing our world.

Live from Abu Dhabi Connect the World takes you on a journey across continents, investigating the stories that are changing our world.

Thailand's bomb detection problem

February 16th, 2010
05:32 PM ET

Fake goods in Thailand – what’s new? Well, this time it’s not a dodgy Rolex or a copied Louis Vuitton bag, it’s far more serious.

Thai bomb squad members inspect the site of a bomb attack on a bus in 2009.

Thai bomb squad members inspect the site of a bomb attack on a bus in 2009.

Bomb detection scanners that have been used in the terrorism ravaged south of the country for six years have just been shown to be completely useless after exhaustive tests arranged by the Thai government.

It’s pretty embarrassing for the Thai Army, which has shelled out more than 20 million dollars on the GT200 devices made by a UK manufacturer, Global Technical.

But what's even more shocking is that this same device has been sold to 30 countries around the world, according to Global Technical.

How many lives have therefore been potentially lost because police officers and soldiers are using a bomb scanner that simply doesn't work.

In the tests carried out in Thailand, a quantity of explosives was placed in one of four boxes and then a team equipped with the GT200 was assigned to find the cache.

They were only successful 20 per cent of the time. It would have been better if they had played “eeny-meany-miney-mo”.

It would all be quite comical were it not for the fact that innocent civilians are killed and wounded almost every week in southern Thailand, by bombs smuggled through the numerous road checkpoints. There government estimates there are some 700 bomb detection devices deployed in Thailand.

The manufacturer is standing by the device, issuing a statement to CNN saying:

“We are surprised and disappointed by the reported outcome of tests carried out by the Thai government. The results are completely at odds with other tests carried out by independent bodies and indeed with the experience of the large number of users of this product all over the world.”

However Global Technical and its Thai distributor Avia Satcom both declined our request for an interview.

Already a very similar looking device the AED651 made by another British firm ATSC, has been banned for export by the British government. That device has been sold in Iraq and Afghanistan, although the Iraqi army has now stopped using it.

The Thai government is now looking into the possibility of legal action against the manufacturers of the device it bought – Global Technical has made millions from sales of the GT200 to Thailand. When global sales are included the profit must be in the tens of millions.

Thailand has been using the GT200 since 2004 – with units sold to the Army, Forensic Scientists, Navy, Air Force, Narcotics Control Board and the police. Other countries thought to have purchased the units are the Philippines, Mexico and Kenya to name but a few.

The tentacles of this scandal stretch around the world – and a lot of very senior security officials’ reputations will be in tatters as a result.

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Filed under:  General

Friday's Connector: Kathy Lette

February 16th, 2010
05:12 PM ET

Naughty novelist, Kathy Lette is out swinging with a new book that gives women an inside guide on how to win the man of their dreams and it's aptly called "Men - A Users Guide".

Kathy Lette promoting her new book.

Kathy Lette promoting her new book.

The Australian born author has written a number of best selling books - from "Puberty Blues" to Foetal Attraction".

Her unique writing style is both cheeky and thought provoking – a number of her books bring up important questions about feminism, relationships between men and women as well as social status.

Here's your chance to ask Kathy Lette your question.

Do you want to know what her favorite book is? Maybe you want to know her political views? What's her position on feminism today?

Please post your question below

Six degrees: Imran Khan to Patti Smith

February 16th, 2010
03:47 PM ET

Time to get your thinking caps on: here's this week's Connect The World Six Degrees game.

Imran Khan to Patti Smith

Imran Khan to Patti Smith

Here’s how to play: We choose two people in the news this week and ask you to connect them in six short steps.

We've chosen two of this week's Connectors of the Day – both with political leanings.

First up, the "Godmother of Punk"– singer-songwriter Patti Smith.

We want you to connect her to Imran Khan– retired top cricketer turned Pakistani politician. Remember, you need to come up with five people between those two... for a total of six links.

Submit your unique answers below and we’ll pick the most imaginative answer on Friday.

Jakarta's garbage problem

February 16th, 2010
12:09 PM ET