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LAO

Lao People's Democratic Republic

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Coffee growers in Laos are turning to organic farming
19 September 2017 - Rural coffee farmers across southern Laos are sharing sustainable agricultural practices to protect both their land and health from chemical farming methods. Families from the Lao Tribe in the south are leading the way by turning away from a number of non-organic fertilisers that are used widely in the coffee industry to boost crop yields. (more)

Laos temple town excited it's on world map with President Obama visit
7 September 2016 - Growing up in Wisconsin, Son Inthachith's classmates in school had no idea where his native Laos was. Thanks to President Barack Obama, not only is the little landlocked country on the world map but so is Inthachith's sleepy hometown of Luang Prabang. The town of about 50,000 people, known to a relatively small number of international tourists for its stunning temples and quaint streets, welcomed President Obama on Wednesday as he made a side trip from the capital, Vientiane, where he is attending a regional summit on Thursday. President Obama also held a town-hall meeting with 350 young leaders from the 10 countries that make up the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, which is hosting him at Thursday's summit. (more)

Organic farming buds in Laos
19 December 2013 - Farmers in Laos are turning to organic crops to boost incomes. Buyers can be as close by as a local street market in Vientiane, the capital, or as far away as European Union countries. 'The taste [of organic foods] is different, better. If you are used to eating organic vegetables, you will notice the difference,' says one Laotian shopper. (more)

Laos literacy project gaining momentum
15 August 2013 - A new project set up by an Australian volunteer aims to provide books to children and adults alike in Laos. The Laos Literacy Project is the brainchild of Karlee Taylor, an eco-tourism graduate who was working as volunteer in the National Protected Area of Nakai-Nam Theun, when she noticed that many of the village children did not have access to books. Karlee's immediate response was to start a small fund-raising campaign which enabled her to distribute hundreds of books to local schools and the project continues to grow. (more)

Laos resolves Viet Nam border dispute
2 April 2013 - Laos and Viet Nam are to complete the demarcation of their 2,000-kilometre border by June, state media reported Tuesday. 'The project aims to create a shared border of peace, friendship, and sustainable development and will also enhance the special relationship, solidarity, and comprehensive cooperation between Laos and Viet Nam,' the statement said. (more)

Viet Nam peace committee delegation visits Laos
9 October 2012 - Chairwoman of the Lao National Assembly Pany Yathoutu received a delegation from the Viet Nam Peace Committee on 1 October, led by its Chairman Uong Chu Luu, who is also Vice Chairman of the Viet Nam National Assembly (NA). The Lao NA Chief spoke highly of the Vietnamese delegation's visit, emphasizing the importance of maintaining peace and stability in the region. She also highlighted the two Peace Committees' active roles and affirmed their determination to build Laos and Viet Nam into prosperous nations. (more)

Laos confirms has suspended controversial Xayaburi dam
13 July 2012 - Laos confirmed on Friday that work has been suspended on a controversial $3.5 billion hydropower dam on the Mekong River after requests from neighbouring countries and environmental groups, the first time the government has publicly declared the project halted. 'The Lao government decided to postpone it. We have to do further studies,' Foreign Minister Thongloun Sisoulith told reporters on the sidelines of a regional meeting in the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh. Viet Nam, which has opposed the project, welcomed the news, saying the dam was one of the biggest concerns for countries along the Mekong River. (more)

Lao New Year's traditional focus draws tourists
16 April 2012 - On the first day of 'Pi Mai Lao', or Lao New Year, the capital Vientiane wakes up to the sound of Buddhist monks chanting in the ancient Pali language as women in traditional silk skirts gather at dawn to offer alms to monks in orange coloured robes. Traditions that remain a key part of life in Laos are now an important draw for foreign visitors. (more)

Quiet boom in Laos
18 December 2011 - The Japanese cars and sport utility vehicles that are on the streets of Laos's once sleepy capital are testament to the changes quietly under way in a county once seen as a basket case isolated for decades behind Asia's bamboo curtain. Laos's $7.5 billion economy is dwarfed by its neighbours 790 times smaller than China's, a 14th of the size of Viet Nam's, and roughly two per cent of Thailand -- but it has more than doubled since 2006, as has GDP per capita, which jumped from $600 to $1,200, according to World Bank data. (more)

Laos delays Mekong dam project; Japan to conduct study
8 December 2011 - Laos has suspended a $3.5 billion dam project on the lower Mekong River while Japan leads a study into the environmental impact, after activists and some neighbouring states said it would harm the livelihoods of millions of people. The decision was announced by a Cambodian official on Thursday after a meeting of water and environment ministers from Mekong River Commission states in the Cambodian town of Siem Reap. (more)


Success of Maharishi's Programmes
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Laos: New opportunities to create an invincible nation through Transcendental Meditation
4 April 2010 - During a recent tour in Southeast Asia, Dr Bevan Morris, Prime Minister of the Global Country of World Peace, visited Laos, whose people will soon be enjoying many new opportunities to gain the benefits of the Transcendental Meditation Technique and all of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's programmes. In addition to the one Transcendental Meditation Teacher currently in the country, TM Teachers from neighbouring Thailand are also planning to spend time in Laos to help launch Maharishi's programmes. (more)


Flops
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Laos 'land grabs' drive subsistence farmers into deeper poverty
22 May 2014 - 'Land grabs' in Laos are driving poor farmers, including ethnic minorities, off their land, away from livelihoods they know and into further poverty, activists and experts say. 'When these lands [are given] to companies and converted to industrial agriculture or other uses, it destroys the foundation of rural people's lives, livelihoods and knowledge systems, as well as their access to food, nutrition, medicines, and incomes,' Shalmali Guttal, a senior analyst with Focus on the Global South, a Bangkok-based NGO which campaigns for social justice in Laos, told IRIN. Large-scale land leases in Laos -- or 'land grabs,' as campaigners call them -- are driven by foreign investment projects brokered between the government and private companies, which have increased in frequency in the past decade and encroached on the land occupied by hundreds of communities, according to researchers at the University of Bern's Centre for Development and Environment (CDE) in Switzerland. (more)

Laos: Villagers brace for relocation as dam project moves forward
29 July 2011 - Plans to dam the lower stretch of the Mekong, the world's 12th-largest river, have put Laos on a collision course with its neighbours and environmentalists, who fear livelihoods, fish species, and farmland could be destroyed, undermining the food security of thousands. 'Given the Laos government's legacy of poor planning and uncompensated losses, the communities that will be forcibly resettled by the dam are likely to suffer greatly,' Ame Trandem, a spokesperson for International Rivers, told IRIN. Laos claims the Mekong dams would lift its people out of poverty and help it achieve its stated goal of escaping 'least developed country' status by 2020. But an independent report warned in October 2010 that the proposed dams would have 'permanent and irreversible' effects on downstream communities and ecosystems. (more)

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