Protests erupt over US-Philippines joint drills

Manila, April 4 (IANS) Dozens of people on Monday gathered in front of the American Embassy in Manila to rally against the largest so far bilateral military exercise held between Philippines and the US.

“US out now! Take down US,” shouted some 50 protestors brandishing signs with similar slogans, before setting fire to a mock American flag scrawled with the words “US imperialism”, EFE news reported.

The demonstration involved members of nationalistic Filipino political groups who fear that the 12-day “Balikatan” or shoulder-to-shoulder bilateral drills with the American military will exacerbate rising tensions with China over the South China Sea Islands.

The war games take place annually but this year’s exercises come just months after China began constructing an air strip and other facilities on islands in the disputed South China Sea.

Within the upcoming weeks, the UN court in the Hague is expected to issue a verdict on the complaints filed against the Chinese manoeuvres, which the East Asian nation has claimed are purely defensive and fall within Chinese territory.

3D printing to soon tackle pollution

New York, April 4 (IANS) In a first, a team of US researchers used 3D printing technique to create a handheld sponge-like structure that could help in mitigating pollution.

Led by chemistry professor Matthew Hartings from American University, the researchers demonstrated how to use commercial 3D printers to create a structure with active chemistry.

They designed a small sponge-like plastic matrix by dispersing chemically active titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanoparticles through same filament that are used in the printing process of 3D-printed figures.

The team found that the pollutants break down when natural light interacts with TiO2, which has potential applications in the removal of pollution from air, water and agricultural sources.

“Its not just pollution, but there are all sorts of other chemical processes that people may be interested in. There are a variety of nanoparticles one could add to a polymer to print,” Hartings said.

To demonstrate pollution mitigation, they placed the matrix in water and added an organic molecule (pollutant). The pollutant was destroyed.

Harnessing the power of 3D-printing, the researchers’ are already working on printing many exotic shapes to understand how printed structure affects the chemical reactivity, said the study published in the journal Science and Technology of Advanced Materials.

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