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Laos Still Littered with American Munitions

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Download  An international treaty banning the manufacture and use of cluster bombs has just come into force, but some of the world's key military powers are refusing to take part.

The United States, China, Russia, Pakistan and Israel - all countries that stockpile, manufacture or use cluster munitions - haven't signed the treaty and therefore aren't bound by it.

Nevertheless, the treaty's supporters say it's a huge step forward for peace and disarmament.


But challenges remain for countries such Laos still heavily contaminated by unexploded bombs dating back to the Vietnam War.


Ron Corben has this report.


Last Updated ( Monday, 09 August 2010 17:59 )

Laos Dams Building Frenzy

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With around 70 hydropower dams under construction or consideration, Laos is being labeled the “battery of South East Asia”.

Power from the dams will be exported to countries like Thailand and Vietnam.

In return, Laos will receive foreign exchange and technical expertise.

The government says this will used to fund education and health.

But critics argue that the government has a poor track record when it comes to mitigating the effects of dams.

They say that dams currently in operation have had huge environmental and social impacts, and that the new dams are unlikely to be any better.

In Laos, Elise Potaka has more.


Last Updated ( Monday, 11 January 2010 10:11 )

Cool Cloth: Maintaining Laos’ Weaving Traditions

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Laos might be relatively small with a population of around 7 million, but over 100 different ethnic groups make up the mix.

Differences can be found in language, and also in material culture like weaving and embroidery. In this way the different groups all contribute to the complexity of Laos’ cultural heritage.

Elise Potaka takes a look at two different projects in Luang Prabang.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 28 May 2009 10:34 )

A New World Brings New Challenges for Laos Youth

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The growth in tourism and foreign investment in Laos is opening up numerous opportunities for young people.

But, with just over a third of Laotians completing secondary education, a department already severely under-resourced, some are finding it hard to grasp the chances on offer.

Poor English and a lack of negotiating and problem solving skills are just some of the barriers to success.

In Luang Prabang, Elise Potaka visits a couple of projects helping young Laotians find their way.

Last Updated ( Monday, 09 March 2009 21:52 )

Eco-tourism in Laos

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Laos has beautiful clean rivers and lush forest, and small villages with unique customs and culture.

In the 1990’s annual visitor numbers were in the tens of thousands, but now the country welcomes around one million people each year. Tourism is one of the largest generators of foreign exchange.

In particular, the eco-tourism sector has flourished, with nature and culture-based tourism accounting for nearly half of all visits.

To find out more, Elise Potaka visited the Laos’s first eco-tourism project in Luang Nam Tha province.

Last Updated ( Friday, 29 May 2009 11:33 )