Sunday, October 02, 2011

Laos News Week in Review

Tim Fawthrop has a new article in Foreign Policy in Review, "The Curse of Cluster Bombs." Highlights of this article include remarks from Saleumxay Kommasith, director general of the Department of International Organizations at the Lao foreign ministry. Fred Branfman and Alfred McCoy also provide remarks and context.

Radio Free Asia is one of several news sources with articles on the floods in Southeast Asia that have killed hundreds. At least 30 people have died and 400,000 others affected in Laos, but sources are suggesting that Laos is under-reporting the extent of the damage. Flooding has helped drive rice prices to a three-year high, adding to the country's double-digit inflation problems. The central and southern provinces of Laos have been particularly hard hit.

An article in the Sydney Morning Herald reports on a new initiative by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs based in Thailand and Cambodia. They have launched a new online guide to responsible tourism operators in Burma, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and the Guangxi and Yunnan provinces of China. Luang Prabang's homeware's shop Ma Te Sai was among the shops mentioned in the article. You can visit the site at

The Daily Progress also has a story about the return of the remains of US Special Forces Sgt. 1st Class William T. Brown, who had been killed in Laos in November, 1969, along with two other members of Special Forces. They and 6 Montagnards had been attacked by "an overwhelming force of North Vietnamese soldiers specially trained to counter our recon teams." A few months ago, a Laotian farmer had found the remains and informed the authorities to arrange for their return to the U.S. For nearly 4 decades, the servicemen's families were never told the truth of what happened, only that their children were Missing In Action.

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