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NFE/5.0en-USnews-webmaster@google.com2019 Google Inc.Thu, 14 Feb 2019 11:55:33 GMTGoogle News
Scoot starts sale of flights from Athens to Laos via Singapore  Travel Daily News International

ATHENS – Scoot started yesterday sales of its flights from Athens to Laos via Singapore with special low fares on the verge of the inauguration of the new route ...

Travel Daily News International
Scoot Announces Flights from Athens to Laos via Singapore  GTP Headlines

Scoot, the low-cost arm of the Singapore Airlines (SIA) Group, will begin flights from Athens to Laos via Singapore as of April.

GTP Headlines
Laos seeks to become regional hub for electricity transmission by 2025 - Xinhua | English.news.cn  Xinhua

VIENTIANE, Feb. 14 (Xinhua) -- Laos is developing a strategic plan to become the network center for a regional electricity transmission system by 2025.

Xinhua
China-Laos railway to complete 90 pct bridge, tunnel construction in 2019 - Xinhua | English.news.cn  Xinhua

VIENTIANE, Feb. 14 (Xinhua) -- Over 90 percent of the tendered bridge and tunnel projects of the China-Laos railway will be completed by the end of 2019, the ...

Xinhua
Laos' rapid economic growth path has so far avoided macroeconomic cliffs  East Asia Forum

While Laos is on its way to graduate from 'least developed country' status, long-term growth must address ongoing macroeconomic and structural issues.

East Asia Forum
Laos: Investigate Disappearance of 3 Thai Dissidents  Human Rights Watch

The Lao government should urgently investigate the disappearance of three Thai political activists who were last seen in the capital, Vientiane, in December ...

Human Rights Watch
Westfield Junior Matildas squad for Laos locked in | Matildas  Matildas

Westfield Junior Matildas Head Coach Rae Dower today named Australia's 23-player squad for the forthcoming 2019 AFC U-16 Women's Championship ...

Matildas
Lao PM to visit Brunei to enhance ties - Xinhua | English.news.cn  Xinhua

VIENTIANE, Feb. 14 (Xinhua) -- Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith will lead government officials on an official visit to Brunei on Saturday and Sunday, local ...

Xinhua
Lao National Museum – Vientiane, Laos  Atlas Obscura

Discover Lao National Museum in Vientiane, Laos: American bombs, morbid memorabilia, and graphic photographs tell the story of the CIA-led “Secret War” ...

Atlas Obscura
Gallery: The China-built railway cutting through Laos  chinadialogue

Surya Chuen follows the emerging railway from Boten in the mountainous north all the way south to Vientiane.

chinadialogue
edotco enters Laos tower market - Business News  The Star Online

KUALA LUMPUR: Axiata Group Bhd said a subsidiary edotco Group Sdn Bhd, the integrated telecommunications infrastructure services company, is expanding ...

The Star Online
Poverty buster: Medicated lick blocks drive Laos cattle productivity  Queensland Country Life

Medicated lick blocks are proving a way of addressing poverty in South East Asian countries.

Queensland Country Life
Laos' Investment Outlook for 2019 - ASEAN Business News  ASEAN Briefing

Read our latest article to understand Laos' latest FDI trends and outlook for 2019.

ASEAN Briefing
Laos' rapid economic growth has avoided macroeconomic cliffs  Khmer Times

Laos is one of the fastest growing economies in Southeast Asia. On average the country's economy has grown by 7.5 per cent per year and trade by 17 per cent ...

Khmer Times
Villagers in Laos Fearful of New Chinese Tourism Project  Radio Free Asia (RFA)

Rural citizens of Vientiane's Vang Vieng district pre-emptively refuse to sell for a Chinese tourism project that might encroach on their land.

Radio Free Asia (RFA)
Fresno businessman has never forgotten his homeland of Laos  KMPH Fox 26

A Fresno businessman has never forgotten his roots in Laos. Two months ago he protested in front of FOX26 to complain about how Vietnam is treating his ...

KMPH Fox 26
Gruesome Laos deaths of Thai activists sends chill through dissident community in exile  The Telegraph

Human Rights Watch has demanded an investigation into the horrific deaths of two Thai activists whose bodies were found stuffed with concrete in the Mekong ...

The Telegraph
Lao Migrant Youth Increasingly Looking for Work in China  Radio Free Asia (RFA)

UPDATED at 2:12 P.M. EST on 2018-01-18. Young people from the northern provinces of Laos are increasingly moving across the border to China in search of ...

Radio Free Asia (RFA)
Lao Protest Villager Freed, 10 Still Held  Radio Free Asia (RFA)

Lao authorities have released a villager held since 2017 with a group arrested for protesting the loss of land awarded by the government to a Vietnamese rubber ...

Radio Free Asia (RFA)
Scotland native working to improve life in Laos  Laurinburg Exchange

It's a long way from Laurel Hill to Laos.Scotland County native Mac Maness left his childhood home for the usual reasons: higher education, a stint in the army…

Laurinburg Exchange
Laos Pays Compensation to Families of Dead and Missing in PNPC Dam Disaster - Lao People's Democratic Republic (the)  ReliefWeb

English News and Press Release on Lao People's Democratic Republic (the) about Recovery and Reconstruction, Flood, Technological Disaster and more; ...

ReliefWeb
Two Lao Protest Villagers Seriously Ill in Jail  Radio Free Asia (RFA)

Two Lao villagers detained for almost two years without trial for protesting the loss of land awarded by the government to a Vietnamese rubber company are now ...

Radio Free Asia (RFA)
'Laos doesn't look that safe now': Thai anti-monarchy activists stuffed with concrete  SBS News

Thai exiles say they don't feel safe after the bodies of two other dissidents were found on a riverbank with concrete in their stomachs.

SBS News
Visit China-Laos Year kicks off in Lao capital - Xinhua | English.news.cn  Xinhua

VIENTIANE, Jan. 25 (Xinhua) -- Visit China-Laos Year 2019 was launched on Friday in Vientiane, the capital of Laos. Chinese Minister of Culture and Tourism ...

Xinhua
Laos association forges SHATEC partnership to boost hospitality workforce  TTG Asia

The Laos Hotel & Restaurant Association (LHRA) and Singapore Hotel Association Training & Educational Centre (SHATEC) signed an MoU at ATF last ...

TTG Asia
Four held after bid to smuggle animal parts into Laos foiled  The Nation

A TIMELY police crackdown on a gang involved in transnational wildlife smuggling yielded more than 1600 pieces of bear claws and tiger parts that were about ...

The Nation
Lao morning news for February 14  AEC News Today

All the #Lao #news you need to know for February 14, 2019. Lao English news, Lao business news, Lao news today, Lao latest news, Lao news headlines.

AEC News Today
Laos, Brunei and Singapore withdraw from AFF U-22 Championship  FOX Sports Asia

It was reported recently that Fandi Ahmad's Singapore U23 team had pulled out of the AFF U-22 Championship. Laos and Brunei also follow suit shortly after.

FOX Sports Asia
an hr ago Westfield Junior Matildas to meet Myanmar in two matches  Matildas

The Westfield Junior Matildas' preparations for their forthcoming 2019 AFC U-16 Women's Championship qualifiers in Vientiane, Laos have received a boost, ...

Matildas
Asian organized crime doubles down on casinos  CNN

Jeremy Douglas is the regional representative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Southeast Asia and the Pacific. He can be followed ...

CNN
Junior Matildas: 30 players to set sights on Laos at Canberra camp  Matildas

Westfield Junior Matildas Head Coach Rae Dower has on Wednesday named a 30-player squad to attend the first camp of 2019, as some of Australia's best ...

Matildas
NA Vice Chairwoman receives Lao news agency delegation  Viet Nam News

National Assembly Permanent Vice Chairwoman Tòng Thị Phóng hosted a reception for a visiting delegation from the Laos news agency Khaosan Pathet Lao ...

Viet Nam News
Victims of Xe Pian-Xe Namnoy dam collapse in Laos languish in shelters as aid, supplies dry up  The Straits Times

ATTAPEU (THE NATION/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Even six months after the collapse of the Xe Pian-Xe Namnoy hydropower dam, which washed away ...

The Straits Times
Air Force officer served in secret with Air America  Theredstonerocket

Carroll Bobb didn't know what he was getting into in 1968. The then Air Force captain figured he'd probably be assigned as a procurement officer in Vietnam ...

Theredstonerocket
Lao Village review Fairfield Review 2019  Good Food

There's a dish on the menu at Fairfield's Lao Village that I think is one of Sydney's must-try dishes. It's a simple dish, and a cheap one too. You might see it on the ...

Good Food
Lao flood victims battle dengue, malnutrition  The Nation

SIX MONTHS AFTER the Xe Pian-Xe Namnoi hydropower dam in southern Laos triggered floods that swept them from their homes, survivors are now suffering ...

The Nation
“Israel's” “Secret War” On Syria Is A Lot Like The US' “Secret War” On Laos  http://www.eurasiafuture.com/

Observers have been struggling to find an historical comparison for the War on Syria since it first broke out over 8 years ago, and while the conflict is veritably a ...

http://www.eurasiafuture.com/
Concerns in Lao, lessons from Sihanoukville  The Asean Post

Will the remote settlement of Huaiyae in Lao end up like the once sleepy coastal town of Sihanoukville in Cambodia?

The Asean Post
WATCH Laos Show Off New Russian-Made Military Equipment During Parade  Sputnik International

A major military parade was held in Vientiane on Sunday to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Lao People's Army. New Russian equipment ...

Sputnik International
Dining review: Green Papaya offers delicious Lao food, but stay away from Thai offerings  Sacramento Bee

Sacramento eaters are used to getting their southeast Asian dining fix in the southern reaches of the city, but new Lao-Thai restaurant Green Papaya is so far ...

Sacramento Bee
Christians in Laos detained for holding “illegal” church service  Barnabas Fund

Seven Christians spent five days behind bars after police raided a Christmas church *service* in Laos on 29 December 2018.

Barnabas Fund
PUBG Corporation to Further Expand PUBG LITE Beta Test Service to Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar  European Gaming Industry News

PUBG Corporation today announced that the PUBG LITE Beta Test will be further expanding their *service* to Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar ...

European Gaming Industry News
Fundraising film night for northern Laos women  Blue Mountains Gazette

Women's Business will screen at a fundraising event at Mount Vic Flicks on Monday, March 4.

Blue Mountains Gazette
WFP Lao PDR Country Brief, December 2018 - Lao People's Democratic Republic (the)  ReliefWeb

WFP continues to support the Government's response to widespread floods throughout the country. Floods in July/August 2018 damaged basic infrastructure, ...

ReliefWeb
Laos lays out solid steps towards development, Business  The Phnom Penh Post

THE Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LNCCI) is developing a long-term business strategy based on green and sustainable development to ...

The Phnom Penh Post
Is Laos facing a dam disaster?  CNN

While a recent dam collapse in Laos devastated thousands, environmentalists warn that a wave of new hydropower dams in the country could spell disaster for ...

CNN
Russia Is Running Low on World War II Soviet Tanks. It Found Help in Laos.  The New York Times

With pride in Soviet military achievements a cornerstone of propaganda, Moscow has a pressing need for classic T-34 tanks. Enter the Lao People's Army.

The New York Times
Capital of Laos Seeks Stronger Ties to China  The New York Times

Hoping that China's Belt and Road Initiative will improve connectivity with its neighbor, Laos is preparing for a new wave of Chinese investment in its property ...

The New York Times
Tigers forever: a wildlife hike in north-east Laos  The Guardian

A guided trek on Mount Forever helps protect endangered tigers and reveals an exotic array of other, less elusive, wildlife.

The Guardian
Maddy Report for Sunday, Jan. 27 | “Retrospective with LAO Mac Taylor”  Fresno Bee

“Retrospective with LAO Mac Taylor” with guest former California's Legislative Analyst, Mac Taylor. Hosted by Mark Keppler. 10 a.m. on KMJ 580 AM & 105.9 FM.

Fresno Bee
Facing the Future in Laos and the Cambodian Coast  The New York Times

Our columnist, Jada Yuan, is visiting each destination on our 52 Places to Go in 2018 list. This dispatch brings her to Luang Prabang (no. 52 on the list), and the ...

The New York Times
Laos Trades Mining Concessions For Russian Jets, Tanks  Radio Free Asia (RFA)

Amid growing defense ties between the two countries, Laos has ordered delivery from Russia of an unknown number of fighter jets and from 20 to 30 army tanks, ...

Radio Free Asia (RFA)
A Day Before Laos Dam Failed, Builders Saw Trouble  The New York Times

ATTAPEU TOWN, Laos — The day before this week's catastrophic dam failure in Laos, the companies building the dam knew that it was deteriorating, and one ...

The New York Times
Laos Dam Collapse Leaves Hundreds Missing and Homes Washed Away  The New York Times

BANGKOK — The wall of water, unleashed by a dam failure, roared through a half-dozen rural villages in Laos, sweeping away hundreds of people in its ...

The New York Times
In Laos, a Boom, and Then, ‘The Water Is Coming!’  The New York Times

Rescuers scrambled to help more than 3000 people stranded when a dam failed in the south of the country. Twenty-six people were killed and dozens missing.

The New York Times
Why Russia is getting back 30 World War II tanks from Laos  CNN

Russia is taking back World War II-era tanks from Laos because, well, Moscow needs a star, lots of them.

CNN
Chinese Tourism Benefits Few in Laos, Sources Say  Radio Free Asia (RFA)

Moves in Laos to promote Chinese tourism in the coming year will benefit mainly Chinese businesses already established in the impoverished Southeast Asian ...

Radio Free Asia (RFA)
Overcoming a government crackdown on social media in Laos  Al Jazeera English

Influential Facebook users, pejoratively referred to as net idols, are facing retribution for their online posts.

Al Jazeera English
Laos dam collapse: work continues on huge projects despite promised halt  The Guardian

Consultation for the Pak Lay dam in Xayaburi province has begun, despite PM calling off all work after disaster.

The Guardian
You Should Experience This Enticing Resort In The Laos Jungle  Forbes

Deep in the jungle outside of the spiritual Laos city of Luang Prabang is a fanciful resort modeled on a hill station but with decor like nowhere else in the world.

Forbes
What's Behind Laos' New Budget Crackdown?  The Diplomat

A closer look at the rising focus on the regulation of public expenditure and its significance.

The Diplomat
Laos’ Garment Industry Faces Severe Labor Shortage  Radio Free Asia (RFA)

Garment factories in Laos are experiencing labor shortages as workers are looking to Thailand for greener pastures, sources say. A factory manager in the ...

Radio Free Asia (RFA)
US bombs continue to kill in Laos 50 years after Vietnam War  Al Jazeera English

US dropped two million tonnes of bombs on Laos at height of Vietnam War. Why are cluster munitions still killing?

Al Jazeera English
An uphill battle: 80 million unexploded bombs still to clear in Laos  South China Morning Post

In the world's most heavily bombed country, 20 million UXO have been cleared in the 45 years since clandestine US war ended That leaves another 80 million ...

South China Morning Post
Corruption Still Rife in Laos Despite Continued Crackdown Efforts  Radio Free Asia (RFA)

The government of Laos says it has been ramping up its efforts to battle corruption over the past two years, but NGOs say that the situation in Laos is getting ...

Radio Free Asia (RFA)
Religious life in Luang Prabang, Laos  CNN

Exploring the daily ritual of tak bak, when UNESCO-listed Luang Prabang's community of Buddhist monks gathers alms in the silence of the dawn.

CNN
Chinese dams ramp up Lao external debt  Nikkei Asian Review

BANGKOK -- In its rush to become the "battery" of Southeast Asia, Laos is accepting more Chinese loans to build dams, ensuring the already debt-s.

Nikkei Asian Review
Vietnam & Laos: Bridging Hopes  Channel NewsAsia

Vietnam is struggling to plug its 100-billion-dollar infrastructure gap amidst growing nationalistic sentiment. In Laos, China has invested in ...

Channel NewsAsia
Mark Field visits Vientiane for UK-Laos political dialogue  GOV.UK

The Minister of State for Asia & The Pacific will lead the UK delegation for the political dialogue, hold bilateral meetings, and meet a range of NGOs.

GOV.UK
Chinese Railway Project in Laos Leaves Farmers in the Lurch  Radio Free Asia (RFA)

The railway project that would link landlocked Laos with China has been touted as a benefit to the Lao economy because it will lower the cost of exports and ...

Radio Free Asia (RFA)
Lao Villagers Denied Payment for Land by Vietnamese Firm  Radio Free Asia (RFA)

Lao villagers formerly leasing land to a Vietnamese rubber company under a profit-sharing arrangement are now being refused compensation by the ...

Radio Free Asia (RFA)
How Much Do You Know About Laos?  New York Times

Visit our Country of the Week collection to find more geography and culture quizzes based on New York Times reporting. Click or tap on Laos. A. B. C. D ...

New York Times
'I Think All Those People Are Dead': Laos Dam Survivors Seek Word of Neighbors  The New York Times

In shelters for victims of the dam failure in the south of the authoritarian country, official news is proving sparse and contradictory.

The New York Times
Lao Christians Detained at New Year are Freed  Radio Free Asia (RFA)

Seven Lao Christians arrested at the weekend for conducting an “illegal” church *service* have been released and allowed by police to return to their homes, ...

Radio Free Asia (RFA)
Laos Suspends New Dam Projects Following Catastrophe  ວີໂອເອ-ລາວ (VOA)

The Laos government will suspend approval of new dams while it reviews more than 50 current projects following the catastrophic collapse of a hydropower ...

ວີໂອເອ-ລາວ (VOA)
Vietnam-Laos Defense Ties in the Headlines With Border Meeting  The Diplomat

On December 10, Vietnam and Laos held another iteration of a key meeting designed to help them manage the challenges and opportunities around their ...

The Diplomat
Golden Saba Seafood Now Serving Colorful Dumplings in SF’s FiDi  Eater SF

The Financial District in San Francisco has a new dim sum restaurant, Golden Saba Seafood. It serves colorful dumplings and xiao long bao.

Eater SF
Laos warns of possible flooding in Luang Prabang and other northern provinces  Channel NewsAsia

VIENTIANE: The Lao government has warned of possible flooding and landslides in parts of the northern and central provinces, as heavy rain is ...

Channel NewsAsia
John Clifford's 16-day Itinerary Around Vietnam and Laos  Travel+Leisure

John Clifford, a member of the Travel + Leisure A-List, highlights the types of itineraries he develops. Here, he plans 16 days in Vietnam and Laos.

Travel+Leisure
The Tranquil Traditional Laos Villages—That Might Disappear Thanks to Chinese Trains  The Daily Beast

Days of undisturbed authenticity are numbered in Muang La. The Chinese are investing heavily across the country, building infrastructure that threatens the ...

The Daily Beast
Centara to open three new hotels in Laos  Hotel Management

Three new Centara-branded properties are set to open in Laos in 2020 with a combined total of 216 guestrooms.

Hotel Management
Death Toll Rises in Floods, Landslides in Laos  Radio Free Asia (RFA)

The number of dead continues to climb as updated reports come in from remote areas of Laos hit by flooding and landslides in recent weeks, Lao sources say.

Radio Free Asia (RFA)
Lao Villagers Reject Plans For China-Invested SEZ  Radio Free Asia (RFA)

Lao villagers living in the scenic Vang Vieng region north of the capital Vientiane are blocking attempts to survey their land for foreign-invested development, ...

Radio Free Asia (RFA)
Chemicals Dumped in River Kill Fish in Laos  Radio Free Asia (RFA)

Chemicals released into a river by a Chinese-owned banana farm near the Lao capital Vientiane killed over 300 kg of fish in November, prompting warnings by ...

Radio Free Asia (RFA)
In Laos, a World Bank 'model' dam and the myth of sustainable hydropower  Devex

BANGKOK — It wasn't a flood. It was a tsunami, Premrudee Daorung said of the wall of water that tore through the forests of Laos' Attapeu province, snapping ...

Devex
News of Laos Dam Failure Didn’t Reach Them, but the Water Did  The New York Times

The flooding from a failed dam in Laos soon moved into neighboring Cambodia, upending life for impoverished farmers there with little hope of help.

The New York Times
What's in the New Russian Battle Tanks Deal for Laos?  The Diplomat

Over the past few weeks, reports have been surfacing about the delivery of Russian tanks as well as aircraft to Laos. While few specifics have been disclosed ...

The Diplomat
Government Fails in Promise to Deliver Assistance to Victims of Laos Dam Burst  Radio Free Asia (RFA)

People return home as water recedes in a flooded village in Sanamxay district, Attapeu province, Laos Thursday, July 26, 2018. AP. Survivors of July's disaster ...

Radio Free Asia (RFA)
Water Experts Question World Bank's Role in Laos Dam  ວີໂອເອ-ລາວ (VOA)

A panel of water experts have warned that the World Bank's promotion of a major dam in Laos, which they say failed to deliver on basic promises, has fueled the ...

ວີໂອເອ-ລາວ (VOA)
Turning bombs into bracelets, as Laos villagers wait for safe land  ABS-CBN News

For the dozen families in the village who fashion jewellery from shrapnel for the New York-based company Article 22, it is a curious twist to the devastating war ...

ABS-CBN News
Getting high in the drug-riddled mountains of Laos  South China Morning Post

UN drug agency is leading a coffee cultivation programme across 10 former opium growing villages in Houaphan province, which borders Vietnam.

South China Morning Post
Laos to press on with dam-building after deadly collapse: PM  Channel NewsAsia

HANOI: Laos' premier on Wednesday (Sep 12) said the Communist country will press on with its ambitious hydropower strategy after a dam collapse ...

Channel NewsAsia
Lao Prisoner Pardons Leave Political Detainees Behind Bars  Radio Free Asia (RFA)

Political prisoners are never amnestied, as their crimes are considered more serious than other offenses, Lao sources say.

Radio Free Asia (RFA)
Scoot launches new Laos route with flights sale  The West Australian

Scoot's new route to landlocked Laos — neighbouring countries include Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia and China — is set to to introduce travellers to what the ...

The West Australian
Laos dam collapse: view of flooded villages – video  The Guardian

Aerial footage and video shot from the water shows extensive flooding caused by the hydroelectric dam collapse in San Sai district of Attapeu.

The Guardian
Lao Christians Celebrate the Christmas Holiday Under State Scrutiny  Radio Free Asia (RFA)

Lao Christians observed religious holiday services this year largely free from government interference, though state officials were required to be present to check ...

Radio Free Asia (RFA)
Devastating Laos dam collapse leads to deforestation of protected forests  Mongabay.com

ATTAPEU PROVINCE, Laos – In July, a hydroelectric dam collapse in Laos released five billion cubic meters of water into surrounding countryside – the ...

Mongabay.com
The Tank That Helped Russia Defeat Nazi Germany Has Finally Retired (In Laos)  The National Interest Online

Remarkably, the nearly 80-year-old fighting vehicles until recently were in active *service* with Lao forces, the Kremlin stated. The swap leaves Taiwan as ...

The National Interest Online
The train of opportunities as Laos builds rail link with China : Vientiane Times contributor  The Straits Times

In the article, the writer calls for measures to enable Laos to make the most of new opportunities, with the high speed rail link with China taking shape.

The Straits Times
Dam collapse highlights risks to communities as Laos seeks to become hydroelectricity hub  ABC News

The tragic collapse of a hydroelectric dam in Laos last month highlights the growing danger to tens of thousands of people in rural and remote communities as ...

ABC News
 

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laos Images

A rice and fish farm in Laos. Photo by Jharendu Pant, 2013 ...
A rice and fish farm in Laos. Photo by Jharendu Pant, 2013 ...
Maligne Lake and high mountains in Jasper National Park ...
Maligne Lake and high mountains in Jasper National Park ...
Smithsonian Arthur M. Sackler Gallery - HawkeBackpacking.com
Smithsonian Arthur M. Sackler Gallery - HawkeBackpacking.com
Ernest C. Brace - Wikipedia
Ernest C. Brace - Wikipedia
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reisfotografie Laos Thailand Duitsland Cambodja Filipijnen ...
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Where is Holland Park on map of London
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Kaart 2000
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SEAGASE | Cartes
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SEAGASE | Cartes Asie du Sud-Est
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Übersichtskarte - Asien - pavo-muticus.com
 

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Laos ( (listen), ; Lao: ລາວ, Lāo [láːw]), officially the Lao People's Democratic Republic (Lao: ສາທາລະນະລັດ ປະຊາທິປະໄຕ ປະຊາຊົນລາວ, translit. Sathalanalat Paxathipatai Paxaxon Lao; French: République démocratique populaire lao), commonly referred to by its colloquial name of Muang Lao (Lao: ເມືອງລາວ, Muang Lao), is a socialist state and the only landlocked country in Southeast Asia. Located at the heart of the Indochinese peninsula, Laos is bordered by Myanmar (Burma) and China to the northwest, Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the southwest, and Thailand to the west and southwest.Present-day Laos traces its historic and cultural identity to the kingdom of Lan Xang Hom Khao (Kingdom of a Million Elephants Under the White Parasol), which existed for four centuries as one of the largest kingdoms in Southeast Asia. Due to Lan Xang's central geographical location in Southeast Asia, the kingdom became a popular hub for overland trade, becoming wealthy economically as well as culturally. After a period of internal conflict, Lan Xang broke off into three separate kingdoms—Luang Phrabang, Vientiane and Champasak. In 1893, it became a French protectorate, with the three territories uniting to form what is now known as the country of Laos. It briefly gained independence in 1945 after Japanese occupation, but was recolonised by France until it won autonomy in 1949. Laos became independent in 1953, with a constitutional monarchy under Sisavang Vong. Shortly after independence, a long civil war began, which saw the communist resistance, supported by the Soviet Union, fight against, first, the monarchy and then a number of military dictatorships, supported by the United States. After the Vietnam War ended in 1975, the Communist Pathet Lao movement came to power, seeing the end to the civil war. During the first years of Communist rule, Laos was dependent on military and economic aid supported by the Soviet Union until its dissolution in 1991. In 2018, the country had the fourth highest GDP (PPP) per capita in Indochina, after Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. In the same year, the country ranked 139st on the Human Development Index (HDI), indicating medium development. Laos is a member of the Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA), Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), East Asia Summit and La Francophonie. Laos applied for membership of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1997; on 2 February 2013, it was granted full membership. It is a one-party socialist republic espousing Marxism–Leninism governed by the Lao People's Revolutionary Party.The capital and largest city is Vientiane. Other major cities include Luang Prabang, Savannakhet and Pakse. The official language is Lao. Laos is a multi-ethnic country, with the politically and culturally dominant Lao people making up about 55 percent of the population, mostly in the lowlands. Mon-Khmer groups, the Hmong and other indigenous hill tribes, accounting for 45 percent of the population, live in the foothills and mountains. Laos's strategies for development are based on generating electricity from its rivers and selling the power to its neighbours, namely Thailand, China and Vietnam, as well as its initiative to become a "land-linked" nation, shown by the construction of four new railways connecting Laos to its neighbours. Laos has been referred to as one of East Asia and Pacific's Fastest Growing Economies by the World Bank, with annual GDP growth averaging 7.8% for the past decade.