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Cambodia And Laos Agree To Strengthen Cooperation On Controlling Cross-Border Drugs
VIENTIANE, Aug 5 (Bernama) -- Cambodia and Laos have agreed to expand and further strengthen their bilateral relations and cooperation in controlling the cross-border drugs between both countries', reported Laotion news agency KPL on Friday.

6,226 Posts
Deputy PM checks on building projects for ASEM Summit

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr Thongloun Sisoulith this week visited various projects under construction to accommodate delegates to the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit in November.

Dr Thongloun Sisoulith visits Wattay International Airport in Vientiane, which is being enlarged ahead of the ASEM Summit.

Dr Thongloun wished to be informed of the progress made in these projects and to urge the contractors to have all developments completed ahead of the Summit.

On Tuesday, Dr Thongloun visited Wattay International Airport where he viewed the expansion of aircraft parking space to ensure the airport can handle the large planes bringing delegates to the Summit.

The apron expansion is funded by grant aid from the government of Japan and a low interest loan from the government of China.

The Japanese government has provided 1,225 million yen (more than US$16.17 million) to upgrade Wattay International Airport. Work is now 22 percent complete and is scheduled for completion before the Summit takes place on November 5-6.

The airport improvement project has also been financed by a low interest loan from China of US$37.6 million. The work funded by this loan is now 65 percent complete.

Concrete paving has been laid at the airport and the contractor is in the process of installing electrical connections. The project will be completed in September.

The Deputy Prime Minister also visited an 8.1 hectare site where 50 villas are being built at Don Chan in central Vientiane to accommodate heads of state and government attending the Summit.

The developer, CAMCE Investment (Lao) Company, has finished the concrete framework of the villas except for the roofs.

The company is building three model villas first to test them out before building the rest.

Construction of the 50 villas began last August and is scheduled for completion this coming August.

CAMCE - a joint venture between Lao and Chinese companies – plans to spend about US$180 million to develop 25 hectares of land on Don Chan into an urban area, which will include the villas, a hotel, hospital, school, restaurants, and trade centre.

Dr Thongloun also visited a five-star hotel being built at the southern end of Don Chan where ASEM delegates will stay. The hotel is now 30 percent complete.

Financed by the Krittaphong Group, the 8-storey hotel will have 196 rooms and other facilities, with construction estimated to cost US$30 million.

The foundations are in place and the concrete framework will next be built. Krittaphong Group says it plans to have the concrete framework in place before the start of the rainy season.

The ASEM Summit is the largest event ever to be held in Laos, with 48 heads of state and government slated to attend. Topics on the agenda will include politics, economics and culture.

The Lao government believes that by successfully hosting the Summit it will further raise the reputation and profile of Laos in the international arena.

The government has also built 21 roads and an international convention centre in preparation for the conference.

By Times Reporters
(Latest Update March 30, 2012)

6,226 Posts
Champasak tipped for Thaksin meet
Published: 29/03/2012 at 08:54 PM Online news: Politics 17
The southern Lao province of Champasak is likely to be the venue for red-shirt supporters to meet deposed prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, according to Noppadon Pattama.

Mr Noppadon, Thaksin's legal adviser, revealed on Thursday Thaksin’s tentative travel plans in Laos and Cambodia during Songkran holidays between April 11 and 15.

He said Thaksin will arrive in Vientiane, the capital of Laos, at about noon on April 11 and stay there two nights before leaving for Champasak province on the morning of April 13.

“Champasak province is near Ubon Ratchathani province, so if any Thai brothers and sisters want to meet Pol Col Thaksin, they can travel there conveniently,” Mr Noppadon said.

Thaksin will be in Cambodia’s Siem Reap province on April 14 and 15.

On the first day of Thaksin’s three-day visit in Laos, a merit-making ceremony and a traditional welcome and well-wishing ceremony - bai sri su kwan - will be held during the day as well as Lao-style Songkran celebrations in the evening, Mr Noppadon said.

Songkran, the water-splashing festival, is regarded as signalling Thailand's traditional New Year and is celebrated every year between April 13 and 15. It is also celebrated in Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar at about the same time.

Mr Noppadon said Thaksin’s trips to the neighboring countries have no meaning in politics. The ex-premier only wants to celebrate Songkran holidays, regarded by many as family reunion days, and make merit. Many Pheu-Thai Party MPs and Thaksin followers are expected to visit him during his stay. Mr Noppadon said he does not yet know whether Thaksin’s family members will go to meet him.

Red-shirt core member Kwanchai Praipana early this week announced he would take 1,000 supporters to Laos to meet the globe-trotting ex-prime minister.

6,226 Posts
Luang Prabang hotels almost fully booked for Lao New Year

Luang Prabang hoteliers are advising people considering visiting the town for Pi Mai Lao (April 12-15) not to go without first booking accommodation.

Hotels in the World Heritage town of Luang Prabang are almost fully booked for the Lao New Year holiday from April 12-15. People planning to visit the town are advised to make sure they have a hotel reservation before they travel. -- Photo Phonekeo

Almost all hotels and guesthouses in Laos' first world heritage city are fully booked, President of the Luang Prabang Hotel and Guesthouse Association Mr Kounchanthaboupha Vongsaravanh told the Vientiane Times yesterday.

It is already very difficult to find a room for this period and about 99 percent of rooms in hotels and guesthouses, which can accommodate 6,000 people a day, are booked out from April 12-15.

Mr Kounchanthaboupha suggested that people who have not yet booked accommodation should not travel to Luang Prabang for the Lao New Year, as expecting to find a room the re upon arrival is now unrealistic.

“I could not even find rooms for my relatives. Those who have not made a reservation already should not come as they might be unable to find a place to sleep,” he said.

Some 40 percent more tourists compared to last year are expected to visit Laos's top tourist destination for the festival.

Tour operators said there were several seasons to explain this year's remarkable increase. They cited the ‘Visit Laos Year 2012' campaign, and also said instability and unrest in other countries in the region have been significant in diverting tourism traffic to Laos.

During the festival, visitors can enjoy several events including a trade fair slated to open on April 9 at the That Luang stadium. A concert will take place at the same venue one day later in which Lao and foreign singers will perform, according to the provincial Information, Culture and Tourism Department.

The highlight of the festival – the Nang Sangkhan contest - will take place along with traditional and modern stage performances on April 11-12. Sand stupa building and baci ceremonies are scheduled for April 13, together with cultural performances and traditional sports competitions.

On April 14, visitors can experience the traditional lifestyle of the Leu ethnic group at the Leu cultural village of Phanom. On the same day, the Vor parade will give visitors a comprehensive picture of the former capital of Laos and its special culture.

On April 15, visitors can join Party and state leaders in giving alms to monks at the former Royal Palace, among many other events slated until April 18.

Many towns throughout Laos are preparing to hold celebratory activities over Lao New Year.

The southern province of Champassak plans to hold activities from April 9-12 in Pakxong district. These will include traditional performances and boat racing, according to the Deputy Director of the provincial Information, Culture and Tourism Department, Mr Phou-ngeun Bouasy.

The province will also hold a Nang Sangkhan parade on April 14.

Savannakhet is drawing up plans to celebrate Pi Mai Lao with provincial authorities set to meet today to agree on activities to be held.

Initially, the department planned to close Latsavong Road on April 13 for the celebrations. Details will be determined later today, said an official at the provincial Tourism Department, Mr Somsanouk Bouttakhot.

By Times Reporters
(Latest Update April 03 , 2012)

6,226 Posts
Govt to retake control of ‘dot la' internet domain name

The Ministry of Post and Telecommunications plans to retake control of the national internet domain name ‘dot la' this year decades after allowing the private sector to run businesses on the state asset.

The ministry announced at its annual conference last month that it was negotiating with a foreign firm to return the country domain name to the government before the end of this year.

This would allow the government to regulate its use and generate income from domain users.

Some 20,000 to 30,000 websites are currently using the ‘dot la' domain, generating a large amount of income for domain name operators, according to ministry officials. However, the government receives only a concession fee from domain name operators in payment.

Each country has its own internet domain name – in Vietnam it is VN while in Thailand it is TH. The government considers the domain to be a resource, which it owns in its capacity as a member of the United Nations. The Internet Assigned Number Authority (IANA) has control of the two Top Level Domain (TLD) names in the world, the country codes (ccTLD) and Generic TLD (gTLD) codes. The gTLD codes include net, org and com.

Most Lao internet users use a second level domain name such as dot org dot la, or dot gov dot la.

A senior official at the ministry's Information and Technology Department said he welcomed the move, saying it was appropriate for the government to regulate the use of the state asset.

“In the past, the government did not have the finances or the personnel to develop and regulate the use of the national internet domain name so it allowed the private sector to make use of it. But now the government is ready to take control of the country domain name,” he said.

The official said the government and private sector repr esentatives had signed the minutes of a meeting at which a foreign company agreed to return the national internet domain name to the government. He did give any details of the amount of money paid by the government to the company in compensation.

The official said the change in management of the domain name would not adversely affect users, adding that subscribers will continue to pay the same price to use it.

He said the ministry was discussing the details of the domain name service fee with the sector concerned so that it could start charging subscribers. The government has built the National Internet Centre so that it can take control of the internet signal connecting Laos to the international gateway in Hong Kong.

The centre will not only be in charge of providing an internet signal within Laos but will also manage the use of the ‘dot la' domain.

Officials in charge of internet operations in Laos said the ministry had invested a large amount to install the infrastructure and equipment needed to ensure the security of internet domain subscribers. This would give individuals and the private sector more confidence in hosting websites on the domain.

They also said that a number of officials had been trained to manage the use of the internet domain name more effectively.

By Times Reporters
(Latest Update April 03 , 2012)

6,226 Posts
Dams in Laos may kill fishing in Cambodia

"The revenue will come to Laos, by exporting energy to Thailand and Vietnam," says researcher Guy Ziv, "and the fish will be lost in the floodplains of Cambodia and Vietnam, but mainly in Cambodia." (Credit: Mekong River fishing via Shutterstock)

STANFORD (US) — Planned dams in Southeast Asia would harm fish productivity and biodiversity in the world’s largest inland fishery, a new study says.


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The new dams, planned for tributaries of the Mekong River in Southeast Asia, will be more environmentally destructive and will produce less energy than the dams in the main river, according to Stanford University researcher Guy Ziv.

Straight from the Source

Read the original study

DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1201423109

“You can get the same energy production with very different environmental impact, depending on which dams you build,” says Ziv, a postdoctoral scholar in biology and the lead author of a study recently published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The study looked at 27 tributary dams planned for construction between 2015 and 2030. The future of those dams is still to be decided, but if built they would significantly affect fishing. Laos plans to build 26 of the 27 dams, but the most significant effects will be felt in the fisheries of neighboring Cambodia.

Dams block fish from migrating, and more than a million tons of freshwater fish are harvested in Vietnam and Cambodia annually.

“The revenue will come to Laos, by exporting energy to Thailand and Vietnam,” Ziv says, “and the fish will be lost in the floodplains of Cambodia and Vietnam, but mainly in Cambodia.”

“[The loss of fish] translates to a big impact on food security of a very poor population,” he says. “There is a huge population that relies on a cheap food supply from fish, and their livelihood will be impacted.”

Tributary dams

The international Mekong River Commission, a coalition of Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Thailand, regulates the dams in the main stream of the Mekong River. However, the individual nations regulate the offshoot tributary dams and only need to notify the commission, rather than seek its approval. Ziv’s study focused mainly on tributary dams, an often-overlooked area of environmental impact, he says.

The commission is considering scenarios including these 27 tributary dams, and up to 11 mainstream dams in the lower Mekong River Basin.

If only the planned tributary dams are built, the migratory fish population in the Mekong will decline by 19 percent, according to Ziv’s computer projections. If, however, six of the mainstream dams are built, the fish population will decline by only 7 percent, while the dams will produce 49 percent more power.

Using the computer models, Ziv and his collaborators calculated the energy production and the loss of fish if certain dams were built. They used that model on every configuration of building or not building any of the 27 dams, resulting in more than 130 million scenarios. This data allows planners to quickly identify which scenarios produce the best results.

“If you want a certain amount of energy, [our calculations showed] which dams you should build to minimize the impacts on food production,” Ziv says.


Cambodia’s only planned tributary dam of the 27, the Lower Se San 2 Dam, is the most disruptive. “Lower Se San 2 Dam is probably good to be avoided, unless you need all the energy you can supply,” Ziv says. The Cambodian government approved the dam last year, although construction has yet to begin.

The next most damaging dams would be those built in Sekong Province in Laos. “The benefits are questionable, unless you really need more than 15 terawatt hours per year,” says Ziv.

“Our results really suggest that some dams can and should be avoided,” Ziv says. “It calls for some change in the international agreement in the area.”

Furthermore the amount of fish lost correlates with the number of endangered species affected. Biodiversity provides a role in supporting the ecosystem, although that role is vague, underestimated and hard to give an economic value, Ziv says.

“This is a first step,” he says. “Getting a more complete picture requires getting the impact on sediments and the social costs. We hope something along this line can be done [in the future] in collaboration with the stakeholders.”

More news from Stanford:

6,226 Posts
China likely to become Laos' largest foreign investor

Business Desk
Vientiane Times
Publication Date : 04-04-2012

China looks set to become the largest foreign investor in Laos in the near future as Chinese businesses make further inroads into the country.

This was the opinion expressed by Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry Secretary General Khanthavong Dalavong during an interview with Vientiane Times yesterday.

"Chinese investment in Laos has increased rapidly since the end of last year. If the rate of increase remains unchanged, China will become the largest foreign investor in the near future,” he said.

At present, China is the second largest foreign investor in Laos after Vietnam, Khanthavong said, quoting a report from the Ministry of Planning and Investment. He was unable to give details of the current value of Chinese investment.

From 2000 to 2010, Vietnam was the largest foreign investor with an investment value of US$2.77 billion, while China was in second place with an investment value of $2.71 billion. Thailand ranked third with a total investment value of $2.68 billion.

Khanthavong said the rapid increase in Chinese investment was due to the Chinese government's policy to encourage companies to expand into overseas markets including Laos. At the same time, the Lao government has been strongly promoting foreign investment in order to boost economic growth.

The Lao government is assisting Chinese firms to invest in northern Laos, especially in the areas of agribusiness, mining, hydropower and real estate development, he added.

"Laos and China have agreed on a list of 300 priority products as a means to boost bilateral trade and investment,” Khanthavong said, adding that China's offer to reduce import duties on Lao products would further encourage Chinese investment in Laos.

He said many Chinese companies were now establishing industrial farms in northern Laos, growing bananas, sweetcorn and cassava.

Khanthavong said the Asean-China free trade deal, which Laos will have to implement in 2013, will create even more opportunities for Laos to attract Chinese investment .

Lao companies should strengthen their operations and be ready to join forces with Chinese businesses, and should also be prepared to face stronger competition.

"If we are not ready for competition, we run the risk of being controlled by foreign companies,” he said.

Khanthavong said that increasing Chinese investment in Laos would bring both opportunities and challenges.

The increase in foreign investment would boost GDP growth and job creation, he said. But Laos would suffer a major trade deficit and loss of economic power if it could not produce exports for China, which is one of the world's largest markets.

6,226 Posts
ADB: growth to remain strong in Laos
The economy of Laos is forecast to expand by 7.8 percent to 8 percent in 2012, as resource-based industries, manufacturing and services continue to generate robust growth, according to a key Asian Development Bank (ADB) report.

ADB officials officially unveiled the Asian Development Outlook for 2012 at the ADB office in Vientiane yesterday.

Weak global demand will weigh on developing economies in Asia in 2012 but growth rates in most economies are expected to remain robust and should rise again in 2013, with private consumption expected to fuel future growth, according to ADB's flagship annual economic publication.

Across the region, East Asia will see a deceleration in growth to 7.4 percent this year from 8 percent in 2011, weighed down by weaker exports and investment. China, the world's second largest economy, will lead the way with growth set to moderate to 8.5 percent and 8.7 percent for 2012 and 2013, down from 9.2 percent in 2011.

In contrast, Southeast Asia will see growth quicken, with GDP expanding to 5.2 percent in 2012 from just 4.6 percent in 2011, on the back of the continued recovery in the Thai economy.

In Laos, inflation is forecast to moderate to around 6.7 percent in 2012. Lower global food prices will ease the pressures on food, which has a large share in the consumer price index. Given the volatility of fuel prices in the world markets, increased inflation continues to be a threat.

In 2011, the services sector grew by 7.9 percent as tourist arrivals went up by 9 percent to 2.7 million, which helped support the hotel and restaurant business as well as the transport sector.

The roll out of third generation mobile phone and internet services contributed to growth of telecommunications while banking services continued to expand.

In addition, manufacturing sector growth contributed significantly to overall economic growth. One of the major highlights was the garment sector's strong performance, which benefited from the European Union's relaxation of rules of origin for the importation of garments.

Rapid growth in the Asian region is leaving millions behind, causing a widening gap between rich and poor that threatens to undermine the region's stability.

Another 240 million people could have been lifted out of poverty over the past 20 years if inequality had remained stable instead of increasing as it has since the 1990s.

Inequality leads to a vicious circle, with unequal opportunities creating income disparities, that in turn lead to dramatic differences in future opportunities for families. Rising inequality can eventually undermine the growth potential of a country.

The ADB, based in Manila, the Philippines, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclu sive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 member countries - 48 from the region.

By Times Reporters
(Latest Update April 12 , 2012)

6,226 Posts
Domestic news

Champassack calls for almost 100 billion kip for road repair

By Vinnaly

(KPL) The authorities of Champassack province has called for 98 billion kip for the renovation of bridge and road hit by severe flooding and landslide removal.

More than 300 million kip fund is now an urgent request for repairing the damaged roads.

A senior staff of Champassack Public Works and Transport Service, Mr. Phitsahong Phoummavongsa said Champassack province was hit by tropical storm Nork Tene between July and August, triggering flash flood.

Over 80 roads in 10 districts have been reportedly broken caused by severe flooding.

The worst-hit districts are Paksong with more than 100 km long, following by Soukhouma with the stretch of 70 km, five bridges.

The budget for road and Mekong embankment renovation cost 98 billion kip, Mr Phitsahong said.

He added that many roads in Parkse municipality have been broken.

Liberty, Equality, Frate
121,821 Posts
Ch Karnchang signs Xayaburi project deal

The Nation April 18, 2012 1:00 am

Despite the current row over the future of the Xayaburi hydropower project in Laos, Ch Karnchang has made another move to bring it to fruition.

The contractor yesterday informed the Stock Exchange of Thailand that its subsidiary, Ch Karnchang (Lao) Co, had signed a Bt51.8-billion engineering, procurement and construction contract for the Xayaburi hydroelectric power plant with Xayaburi Power Co.

Established in 2010 with initial capital of Bt800 million, Xayaburi Power is a subsidiary of Ch Karnchang. It holds a concession for the 1.28-gigawatt power project, which is estimated to cost Bt115 billion.

Ch Karnchang's stock closed at Bt8.10 yesterday, unchanged from the previous closing price. It hit Bt8.30 per share during the day.

Plew Trivisvavet, chief executive officer of Ch Karnchang, said construction was scheduled to commence on March 15 for completion in 96 months. When it starts up, 95 per cent of the output would be sold to Thailand.

The project faces stiff protests from environmentalists who fear that the dam above the Mekong River would affect the ecological system and millions of villagers. The Mekong River Commission (MRC), comprising Laos, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia, in 2010 agreed to subject this mainstream dam to approval by the region's governments through a regional decision-making process called the "Procedures for Notification, Prior Consultation and Agreement".

Because of the massive risk and impacts associated with the Xayaburi and other Mekong mainstream dams, a strategic environmental assessment published in October 2010 by the MRC recommends that decision-making on these dams be deferred for 10 years.

Last December, the four governments met again and agreed to postpone the decision over Xayaburi until a joint study on the trans-boundary impacts of the Mekong mainstream dams was carried out.

6,226 Posts
Lao, Thai institutes ink deal on postgraduate engineering programmes
The National University of Laos (NUOL) on Friday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the King Mongkut Institute's of Technology Ladkabang in Thailand to offer master's and PhD programmes in telecommunications, electronics, information technology, and computer science.

Professor Dr Soukkongseng Saignaleuth ( right ) shakes hands with Associate Professor Dr Kitti Tirasesth at the signing ceremony.

The MoU was signed by NUOL President, Professor Dr Soukkongseng Saignaleuth, and King Mongkut Institute's President, Associate Professor Dr Kitti Tirasesth. The signing was witnessed by representatives from both sides and reporters from both countries.

Dr Soukkongseng said the main purpose of the programme was to network engineering education across the Asean region, to bolster education as well as human development.

He said the programme reflects the rapid progress made in the era of globalisation and information technology. It is vital to have a workforce with the skills needed for today's job market and to meet socio-economic development goals.

“Cooperation among universities at the national, regional and international levels, especially with this institute, is of vital importance. Today there is no single higher education institution that can realistically expect to attain the highest standard in every field of study by itself,” Dr Soukkongseng said.

He explained that active cooperation would make the programme a great success, but it would require a lot of effort and contributions on the part of the officials involved.

The programme is part of the sub-network of the Asean University Network (AUN), aimed at promoting human resource development in engineering in Asean countries.

The two institutions first signed an MoU in 1998, since when many teachers have taken bachelor and master's degrees under the cooperation project.

Teachers and students are taking degrees under the AUN/SEED-NET programme. The first group of 30 Lao master's degree students have graduated, and the first eight PhD candidates are still working towards their degrees.

Dr Soukkongseng said NUOL sees that the programme has made significant contributions to improving the quality of education, not only in mechanical engineering, which has been identified as an important field, but also in civil and electrical engineering.

The programme's ultimate goal, he said, is to contribute to the economic development of Laos by leveraging the IT service industry and establishing a sustainable system for developing human resources in the government and private sectors.
The IT service industry in Laos has developed steadily since the project started, but is still small by international standards. IT service sales volume as a proportion of GDP averaged 1.91 percent worldwide in 2007, but in Laos it was only 0.46 percent in 2009.

6,226 Posts
Laos Site Eyes World Heritage List

Officials say they hope to make the ancient Plain of Jars an international attraction.

Part of the Plain of Jars site in northern Laos’s Xiangkhoang province.

Laos is aiming to get its Plain of Jars archeological landscape inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage list as early as 2015 but has to grapple with requirements to upgrade infrastructure facilities for tourists visiting the site, officials say.

The plateau, in northern Laos’s Xiangkhoang province, has over 90 sites scattered with one- to three-meter (three- to 10-foot) high ancient stone jars that archeologists say were used in burial practices in the Iron Age.

It is already one of the biggest tourist attractions in Laos, which this year is conducting a “Visit Laos 2012” campaign.

"Now we are getting ready and planning to get the status in 2015 or 2016,” a Xiangkhoang province official, who did not wish to be named, said last week.

But he admitted there were challenges before the area could qualify for World Heritage Site status, including improvement of roads, hotels, and tourist facilities.

“The services to tourists and safety are still inadequate,” he said.

"It's difficult to build more roads, and especially a larger airport; in order to be approved a World Heritage site, the Plain of Jars has to have a better airport."

Laos named the area to its “tentative list” for nomination to World Heritage Site status in 1992, but the site has not yet been named to list alongside the country’s two other sites, the town on Luang Prabang, in the north, and the Vat Phou temple complex in southern Laos.


Lao officials have said for the past several years that they are preparing the nomination dossier for the Plain of Jars, but have not said whether they will be submitting it for review at the next meeting of the UNESCO committee in St. Petersburg, Russia, in June.

“All the sites which are on the tentative list have the potential of being inscribed,” said Roni Amelan, a spokesman from the UNESCO World Heritage Centre.

“But the considerations which come into play in determining whether a site is inscribed or not include not only that the site itself is of ‘outstanding universal value,’ but also … that it has a sustainable management plan to ensure the preservation of these qualities.”

If a site on a country’s “tentative list” is not accepted after being submitted to the UNESCO committee, the committee can recommend changes, such as to the site’s management plan or to the boundaries of the area included in the site.

“The logic of the inscription process … is also to ensure the preservation of the site,” Amelan said.

Since 1998 UNESCO and the Lao government have worked on clearing unexploded ordinance hazards in the area, preventing of soil erosion, and surveying and mapping the area, among other initiatives, through a joint “Safeguarding the Plain of Jars” program.

Laos already has two World Heritage Sites, including its biggest tourist attraction, the town of Luang Prabang in northern Laos, which was inscribed on the list in 1995.

Vat Phou, a ruined Khmer temple complex in southern Laos’s Champasak province, was designated a World Heritage site in 2001.

Reported by RFA’s Lao service. Translated by Max Avary. Written in English by Rachel Vandenbrink.

Copyright © 1998-2011 Radio Free Asia. All rights reserved.

26,745 Posts
Plain of Jars - Traditionally considered as the booze Jars of Khun Jueang (Ancestor of Lao people) even though they have been discovered that there are piles of human ash after cremation in those stone jars

6,226 Posts
Migration putting young people at risk

The number of young people migrating within Laos is on the rise due to poor social and economic circumstances, and the trend is placing an increased number of children in vulnerable situations.

The findings are part of a series of new studies released at a forum held in Vientiane yesterday.

Young women from rural areas work at a garment factory in Vientiane.

“In Laos, internal migration is emerging as a critical issue affecting children and young people,” reported the study entitled ‘Causes and Impacts of Internal Migration on Children in Laos', which was undertaken by the National Economic Research Institute (NERI) under the Ministry of Planning and Investment.

According to the report, children in the most remote, impoverished and ethnically diverse areas are often most likely to migrate, exposing them to a variety of risks.

Analysis of data from the Population and Housing Censuses of 1985, 1995 and 2005 shows significant increases in the number of young internal migrants. There was a 49 percent increase in the number of inter-provincial ‘never married 15-24 female migrants' from 1995 to 2005, and a 17 percent increase in the number of male migrants in the same category.

Recent routine data collected by schemes such as the Education Management Information System suggests there have been significant recent waves of internal child migration.

NERI Director General Dr Liber Libuapao said structural economic changes have led to changes in the labour market as industrial enterprises are driving a large proportion of national economic growth.

“The small share of the agricultural sector in national domestic product confirms the inefficiency and poor incomes of the sector where a large portion of labour is occupied, in comparison to industry. This is a main cause of labour migration,” he said.

Urbanisation, industrialisation and modernisation are also factors driving the influx to towns, where better living conditions and more opportunities are available.

“Migration is an attractive option for children and families in rural areas where public services, especially education and healthcare, and employment opportunities are limited,” the study reported.

This study, along with two others, suggests multiple factors driving the migration trend including young people's desire to escape poverty and isolation, resettlement policies, and faster and cheap transport systems.

Migration is reportedly highest in the north and most common among young people and the Tai Deng and Khmu ethnic groups. Its impacts are often highest among those groups as well, for example, Khmu girls frequently migrate as a result of feeling responsible for their parents.

“The studies underscore the fact that young people, who account for more than half of the Lao population, must be carefully considered when looking at the issue of migration,” UNICEF Lao office Deputy Representative Ms Julia Rees said, speaking on behalf of various UN agencies.

Policies on migration not only have critical impacts on youth but also on the development goals of the country, she added.

The three studies were sponsored by UNICEF, the United Nations Population Fund, and the International Organisation for Migration.

The ‘Migration and its Implications on Children and Young People' forum was organised by NERI in partnership with the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare. It was convened to consider possible steps towards addressing the social impact of migration on younger generations.

By Times Reporters
(Latest Update April 25 , 2012)

6,226 Posts
Ch Karnchang eyes 10% return from Laos project

Watcharapong Thongrung
The Nation April 25, 2012 1:00 am

Members of a network of people from eight provinces along the Mekong River demonstrate at Ch Karnchang

Ch Karnchang is confident it will earn a return of 10 per cent on its investment in the Bt76-billion Xayaburi hydroelectric project in Laos.

The mega-project, with construction beginning this year and estimated to be completed by 2020, is vital for the future success of the company, chief executive officer Plew Trivisvavet told the annual shareholders' meeting yesterday.

Xayaburi Power Co was granted a 29-year concession from the Laotian government and Ch Karnchang should earn gross profit estimated at 12-13 per cent per year on its 30-per-cent ownership of this company, he said.

Other shareholders are Natee Synergy Co, a subsidiary of PTT, which holds 25 per cent, Electricity Generating Co (Egco) with 12 per cent, the Laotian government with 20 per cent and others with the remaining 13 per cent.

Ch Karnchang will invest close to Bt30 billion gradually over the period of construction.

The company will try to avoid the problems it encountered when it managed the construction of the Bt2.4-billion Nam Ngum 2 power project in Laos, he said. That project earned a disappointing 5 per cent, down from its projected 10-per-cent profit, because of increased construction costs due to the unforeseen rapid rise of the price of oil from US$60-$70 to $140 per barrel during its construction in 2009.

Ch Karnchang's construction backlog totals Bt141.3 billion. Besides Xayaburi, the company is constructing the Purple Line of the mass-transit project under the first contract. Covering the Bang Sue-Bang Yai section, it has a total value of Bt13.97 billion, of which Bt5.28 billion remains outstanding.

The Blue Line under the second contract has a total cost of Bt9.98 billion and the extension of the Blue Line, which will be the fifth contract, is expected to cost Bt4.67 billion.

Also the company is constructing a tobacco plant at Wang Noi, Ayutthaya province, with an expected cost of Bt4.6 billion.

Ch Karnchang is expected to earn profits from other current projects this year with a combined value of Bt15 billion.

The company will perform even better in the coming years, Plew said.

Shareholders approved a dividend payment of Bt0.25 per share for the last half of 2011 on top of the dividend for the first half of Bt0.10. The total dividend for 2011 was Bt0.35 or 20.85 per cent of the share's average cost.

The dividend payments for last year will cost the company Bt578 million.
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