Landlocked Laos’s Big Plans

Although Laos is soon to join the World Trade Organization, it remains very much Southeast Asia's forgotten country, a landlocked backpacker magnet of unexploded ordnance and bad, winding roads nicely topped off by stunning jungle, river and mountain vistas. Lying between China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Burma and Thailand, Communist-ruled Laos has moved off what economists like…

Laotian Insect farms run into trouble

Promoting consumption of edible insects in Laos may help boost protein-anemic diets, say health experts trying to create regional health standards for insect production, harvesting and consumption. Working with the Laotian Health Ministry, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) launched an “edible insects project” in Laos in 2010 with a two-year budget of US$475,000 to…

Women and HIV

It is a grim fact that it will be impossible to eliminate new HIV infections across Asia unless the unique needs and perspectives of women and girls are attended to, a fact that the male-dominated medical profession often ignores. With more and more women falling prey to the disease, the HIV epidemic increasingly has a…

Xayaburi Dam Stopped for Now

Environmentalists appear to have been handed a second rare victory in Southeast Asia with Thursday’s decision by the Mekong River Commission Council to delay for an uncertain period the construction of the Xayaburi Dam on the Mekong River 100 km. inside Laos. The council, comprising water and environment ministers from Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam,…

Crucial Meeting Tomorrow on Laos’s Xayaburi Dam

A crucial meeting takes place tomorrow in Siem Reap, Cambodia, among the ministers of the Mekong River Commission on whether to proceed with the US$3.5 billion Xayaburi Dam, the first of 11 large dams proposed for the Mekong River. The dam is opposed by a wide range of NGOs, civil society groups and others who…

Laos’ Road to Nowhere

A two-lane asphalt road between Nan, Thailand, to Oudomxay, Laos, designed to boost regional trade and tourism, opened in mid-September with characteristic fanfare. Four Lao hill tribe models coyly held up banners welcoming a Thai delegation to their village bordering Thailand's northern province of Nan. They posed next to a shiny pyramid-like marble tablet that…

Laos and the Resource Curse

Laos, a landlocked and obscure country of 6.8 million poverty-stricken people, is seeking to develop its way into prosperity through massive investment in dams, mines and plantations, hoping for jobs, rising incomes and revenues to end poverty. But development, a great deal of it by Chinese and other foreign interests, is "tearing at the environment,…

The Last Gasp of Resistance

Photo: General Vang Pao  c. 1960 Today, the streets of Vientiane and Luang Prabang are alive with cafes and shops that hark back to the days when Laos was a stop on the so-called hippie trail. The landlocked country, still a mysterious destination for westerners, is teaming with tourists drawn by a combination of inexpensive…

Linking Laos

Life is pretty languid in Savannakhet, a provincial capital in southern Laos. The city has no traffic lights and its dirt or gravel roads lead to green rice paddies or dense forest. It’s not a city to inspire great dreams—except at the Internet Learning Center not far from the mighty Mekong River. “I want to…
Page 2 of 212