Laos

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Posted by pompos 03/06/2009 @ 15:07

Tags : laos, asia, world

News headlines
Sampley rescued Copp from Laos - ENC Today
There are many people whose lives were affected by Ted Sampley, who died Tuesday at 62 in Durham. None was affected more so than Jim Copp, though. Copp, a New Orleans native and retired teacher now living in Hampstead, is an activist who worked...
Myanmar, Laos sign MoU on establishing sister cities - Xinhua
YANGON, May 16 (Xinhua) -- Myanmar and Laos have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on establishing sister cities between Myanmar's ancient city of Bagan and Laos' Luang Prabang, the official newspaper New Light of Myanmar reported Saturday....
A New Home: Many refugees came to US - Morganton News Herald
The Iu Mien and the Hmong are both minority groups that migrated long ago from China to the mountain regions of Laos and other Southeast Asia areas. They lived in the mountains as farmers and hunters. The Mien and the Hmong are allies....
Pregnant prisoner meets UK lawyer - BBC News
A pregnant Briton facing a possible death sentence in Laos if convicted of drug smuggling has been allowed to see a UK lawyer for the first time. Anna Morris, of legal charity Reprieve, met Samantha Orobator, 20, from south London, in Laos on Tuesday....
Judge refuses to rule on Hmong sedition case until all the ... - Sacramento Bee
In a report on the meeting, the agent said Vang Pao indicated he favored hostile action against the Laos government, but now admits that he should not have reported the conversation that way, Keker said. Tice-Raskin replied that the agent wrote the...
Pregnant Briton in Laos jail could learn fate next week - guardian.co.uk
Samantha Orobator, the pregnant south London woman facing a possible death sentence in a Laos jail, could learn her fate as early as Monday – either behind bars in an overcrowded cell with little access to medical care or on a plane back to England as...
Vietnam and Laos build more border markers - Nhan Dan
A ground-breaking ceremony for the planting of border marker 281 was held at the Ten Tan-Xom Vang border gate in the central province of Thanh Hoa and Huaphan province in Laos. It is the first of the 26 border markers that the two provinces have agreed...
Vietnam continues to lead foreign investment in Laos - VOVNews.vn
With 32 investment projects worth US$1 billion in Laos, Vietnam remains the leading foreign investor in Laos during the first six months of the 2008-2009 fiscal year. According to the Lao Ministry of Planning and Investment, Laos attracted US$3.4...
LAOS: Government boost for local NGOs - IRINnews.org
BANGKOK, 12 May 2009 (IRIN) - International aid groups have welcomed a decision by the Lao government to allow local NGOs to register and operate as independent entities for the first time. “This is an important development for the Lao People's...
Lao Airlines Says Service Cut During Downturn - NASDAQ
HANOI (AFP)--State-owned Lao Airlines has reduced its international service as the global economic downturn hits passenger demand, a company executive said Tuesday. "We reduced some flights because of the world economic situation, and now it's low...

Laos

Flag of Laos

Laos (pronounced /ˈlɑː.oʊs/, /ˈlaʊs/, or /ˈleɪ.ɒs/), officially the Lao People's Democratic Republic, is a landlocked country in southeast Asia, bordered by Burma (Myanmar) and China to the northwest, Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the south, and Thailand to the west. Laos traces its history to the Kingdom of Lan Xang or Land of a Million Elephants, which existed from the fourteenth to the eighteenth century.

After a period as a French protectorate, it gained independence in 1949. A long civil war ended officially when the communist Pathet Lao movement came to power in 1975, but the protesting between factions continued for several years.

In the Lao language, the country's name is "Meuang Lao". The Imperial French, who made the country part of French Indochina in 1893, spelled it with a final silent "s", i.e. "Laos" (The Lao language itself has no final 's' sound, so Lao people pronounce it as in their native tongue). The usual adjectival form is "Lao", e.g. "the Lao economy", not the "Laotian" economy - although "Laotian" is used to describe the people of Laos to avoid confusion with the Lao ethnic group.

Laos traces its history to the kingdom of Lan Xang, founded in the fourteenth century by Fa Ngum, himself descended from a long line of Lao kings, tracking back to Khoun Boulom. Lan-Xang prospered until the eighteenth century, when the kingdom was divided into three principalities, which eventually came under Siamese suzerainty. In the 19th century, Luang Prabang was incorporated into the 'Protectorate' of French Indochina, and shortly thereafter, the Kingdom of Champasak and the territory of Vientiane were also added to the protectorate. Under the French, Vientiane once again became the capital of a unified Lao state. Following a brief Japanese occupation during World War II, the country declared its independence in 1945, but the French under De Gaulle re-asserted their control and only in 1950 was Laos granted semi-autonomy as an "associated state" within the French Union. Moreover, the French remained in de facto control until 1954, when Laos gained full independence as a constitutional monarchy. Under a special exemption to the Geneva Convention, a French military training mission continued to support the Royal Laos Army. In 1955, the U.S. Department of Defense created a special Programs Evaluation Office to replace French support of the Royal Lao Army against the communist Pathet Lao as part of the U.S. containment policy.

Laos was dragged into the Vietnam War, and the eastern parts of the country were invaded and occupied by the North Vietnamese Army (NVA), which used Laotian territory as a staging ground and supply route for its war against the South. In response, the United States initiated a bombing campaign against the North Vietnamese, supported regular and irregular anticommunist forces in Laos and supported a South Vietnamese invasion of Laos. The result of these actions were a series of coups d'état and, ultimately, the Laotian Civil War between the Royal Laotian government and the communist Pathet Lao.

In the Civil War, the NVA, with its heavy artillery and tanks, was the real power behind the Pathet Lao insurgency. In 1968, the North Vietnamese Army launched a multi-division attack against the Royal Lao Army. The attack resulted in the army largely demobilizing and leaving the conflict to irregular forces raised by the United States and Thailand. The attack resulted in many people losing their lives. Massive aerial bombardment was carried out by the United States (The Guardian reported, on Wednesday 3rd December 2008, that Laos was hit by an average of one B-52 bomb-load every eight minutes, 24 hours a day, between 1964 and 1973. US bombers dropped more ordnance on Laos in this period than was dropped during the whole of the second world war. Of the 260m "bombies" that rained down, particularly on Xieng Khouang province, 80m failed to explode, leaving a deadly legacy).

In 1975, the communist Pathet Lao, backed by the Soviet Union and the North Vietnamese Army, overthrew the royalist government, forcing King Savang Vatthana to abdicate on 2 December 1975. He later died in captivity.

After taking control of the country, Pathet Lao's government renamed the country as the "Lao People's Democratic Republic" and signed agreements giving Vietnam the right to station military forces and to appoint advisers to assist in overseeing the country. Laos was ordered in the late 1970s by Vietnam to end relations with the People's Republic of China which cut the country off from trade with any country but Vietnam. Control by Vietnam and socialization were slowly replaced by a relaxation of economic restrictions in the 1980s and admission into ASEAN in 1997.

In 2005, the United States established Normal Trade Relations with Laos, ending a protracted period of punitive import taxes.

The country is further divided into districts (muang).

Laos is a landlocked country in Southeast Asia and the thickly forested landscape consists mostly of rugged mountains, the highest of which is Phou Bia at 2,817 m (9,242 ft), with some plains and plateaus. The Mekong River forms a large part of the western boundary with Thailand, whereas the mountains of the Annamite Chain form most of the eastern border with Vietnam.

The climate is tropical and monsoonal. There is a distinct rainy season from May to November, followed by a dry season from December to April. Local tradition holds that there are three seasons (rainy, cold and hot) as the latter two months of the climatologically defined dry season are noticeably hotter than the earlier four months. The capital and largest city of Laos is Vientiane, and other major cities include Luang Prabang, Savannakhet and Pakxe.

In 1993, the government set aside 21% of the nation's land area as National Biodiversity Conservation Areas (NBCA), which may be developed into a national park system.

Laos is the home to the Indochinese tiger, the giant gaur, and the Asian elephant. A number of animal species have been discovered or re-discovered in Laos in recent years. These include the striped or Annamite rabbit, the saola, and most recently the Laotian rock rat or kha-nyou.

The country is one of four in the opium poppy growing region known as the "Golden Triangle". According to the October 2007 UNODC fact book "Opium Poppy Cultivation in South East Asia", the poppy cultivation area was 15 square kilometres (3,700 acres), down from 18 square kilometres (4,400 acres) in 2005.

Laos is a single-party socialist republic. The only legal political party is the Lao People's Revolutionary Party (LPRP). The head of state is President Choummaly Sayasone, who also is secretary-general (leader) of the LPRP. The head of government is Prime Minister Bouasone Bouphavanh. Government policies are determined by the party through the all-powerful nine-member Politburo and the 49-member Central Committee. Important government decisions are vetted by the Council of Ministers.

Laos' first, French-written and monarchical constitution was promulgated on May 11, 1947 and declared it to be an independent state within the French Union. The revised constitution of 11 May 1957 omitted reference to the French Union, though close educational, health and technical ties with the former colonial power persisted. The 1957 document was abrogated on 3 December 1975, when a communist People's Republic was proclaimed. A new constitution was adopted in 1991 and enshrined a "leading role" for the LPRP. The following year, elections were held for a new 85-seat National Assembly with members elected by secret ballot to five-year terms. This National Assembly, which essentially acts as a rubber stamp for the LPRP, approves all new laws, although the executive branch retains authority to issue binding decrees. The most recent elections took place in April 2006. The assembly was expanded to 99 members in 1997 and in 2006 elections had 115.

The Lao economy is heavily dependent on investment and trade with its neighbors, Thailand, Vietnam, and, especially in the north, China. Pakxe has also experienced growth based on cross-border trade with Thailand and Vietnam.

Much of the country, however, lacks adequate infrastructure. Laos has no railways, except a short link to connect Vientiane with Thailand over the Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge. The major roads connecting the major urban centres, in particular Route 13 South, have been significantly upgraded in recent years, but villages far from major roads are accessible only through unpaved roads that may not be accessible year-round. There is limited external and internal telecommunication, particularly of the wire line sort, but mobile cellular phone use has become widespread in urban centres. In many rural areas electricity is unavailable or offered only during scheduled periods. Songthaews (pick-up trucks with benches) are used in the country for long-distance and local public transport.

Subsistence agriculture still accounts for half of GDP and provides 80% of total employment. Laos has the lowest percentage of arable land and permanent crop land in the Greater Mekong Subregion. Only 4.01% of Laos is arable land, and only 0.34% of the country is planted with permanent crops. Rice dominates agriculture, with about 80% of the arable land area used for growing rice. Approximately 77% of Lao farm households are self-sufficient in rice. Through the development, release and widespread adoption of improved rice varieties, and through economic reforms, Lao PDR achieved a net balance of rice imports and exports for the first time in 1999. Between 1990 and 2005, rice production increased from 1.5 million tons to 2.5 million tons, an average annual growth rate of more than 5%. This increase in production has been valued at $8 million to $19 million per year. Lao PDR may have the greatest number of rice varieties in the Greater Mekong Subregion. Since 1995 the Lao government has been working with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) to collect seed samples of each of the thousands of rice varieties found in Laos.

The economy receives aid from the IMF and other international sources and from new foreign investment in food processing and mining, most notably of copper and gold. Tourism is the fastest-growing industry in the country. However, economic development in general is hampered by a serious case of brain drain. A 2005 World Bank study reported that 37% of educated Laotians lived abroad, putting the country in fifth place for worst brain drain.

Laos is rich in mineral resources but has negligible petroleum and natural gas reserves; it imports petroleum and gas. However, many companies have shown interest in prospecting for oil and gas in Laos, and as of 2008 Vietnam Petro and Salamander Energy from the UK are the only two companies with major exploration operations in Savannakhet and other southern provinces. Recent results indicate a 70% probability of oil and gas. Among its mineral reserves are substantial deposits of coal, gold, bauxite, tin, copper and other valuable metals. Metallurgy is an important industry, and the government hopes to attract foreign investment in this field. The government has actively encouraged foreign involvement in extracting and processing gold. The largest gold projects in the country are the Sepon Mine by Australia's Oxiana Minerals and the Phu Bia mine. A recent discovery of bauxite reserves was made in the south of Laos near the Bolaven Plateau which could be among the largest in the world. A Chinese company has contracted to build an aluminum smelting plant there for approximately $3 billion USD. Moreover, the country's plentiful water resources and mountainous terrain enable it to produce and export large quantities of hydroelectric energy. With hydro potential of approximately 30,000 megawatts, only 600 megawatts have been developed so far. Surrounded by energy hungry neighbors, the country is deemed to be the "Kuwait" of Southeast Asia. This natural resource wealth essentially secures the country's economic future and will provide a significant boost to government revenue, albeit some of it being squandered away to corruption.

In real estate and construction, a Chinese company will break ground on a new integrated property development dubbed "New City Project" worth around $1 billion USD that will significantly alter the landscape of the country's sleepy capital, Vientiane.

Tourism is also a major growth industry, bringing in approximately $233 million in 2007. To accommodate this growing demand, the government has contracted a Korean company, Booyoung Limited to carry out the design and construction of a new international airport which will begin in 2011.

Laos has historically been involved with the production of drugs, notably opium. In 1959 Laos was producing approximately 150 tons. In 1971 production had increased to approximately 300 tons. During the Vietnam War, much of the opium produced in Laos was consumed by US soldiers.

In the town of Phonsavan is one of the largest orphanages in Laos. It is an S.O.S. orphanage and there are over 120 orphans living in the facility.

69% of the country's people are ethnic Lao, the principal lowland inhabitants and the politically and culturally dominant group. The Lao belong to the Tai linguistic group who began migrating southward from China in the first millennium AD. 8% belong to other "lowland" groups, which together with the Lao people make up the Lao Loum.

Hill people and minority cultures of Laos such as the Hmong (Miao), Yao (Mien), Dao, Shan, and several Tibeto-Burman speaking peoples have lived in isolated regions of Laos for many years. Mountain/hill tribes of mixed ethno/cultural-linguistic heritage are found in northern Laos which include the Lua (Lua) and Khmu people who are indigenous to Laos. Today, the Lua people are considered endangered. Collectively, they are known as Lao Soung or highland Laotians. In the central and southern mountains, Mon-Khmer tribes, known as Lao Theung or mid-slope Laotians, predominate. Some Vietnamese, Chinese and Thailand Thai minorities remain, particularly in the towns, but many left in two waves; after independence in the late 1940s and again after 1975.

The term "Laotian" does not necessarily refer to the ethnic Lao language, ethnic Lao people, language or customs, but is a political term that also includes the non-ethnic Lao groups within Laos and identifies them as "Laotian" because of their political citizenship.

The predominant religion in Laos is Theravada Buddhism which, along with the common Animism practiced among the mountain tribes, coexists peacefully with spirit worship. There also are a small number of Christians, mostly restricted to the Vientiane area, and Muslims, mostly restricted to the Myanmar border region. Christian missionary work is regulated by the government.

The official and dominant language is Lao, a tonal language of the Tai linguistic group. The written language is based on Khmer writing script. Midslope and highland Lao speak an assortment of tribal languages. French, still common in government and commerce, is still studied by many, while English, the language of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), has increased in recent years.

Of the people of Laos 67% are Buddhist 1.5% are Christian, and 31.5% are other or unspecified according to the 2005 census.

Theravada Buddhism is a dominant influence in Lao culture. It is reflected throughout the country from language to the temple and in art, literature, performing arts, etc. Many elements of Lao culture predate Buddhism, however. For example, Laotian music is dominated by its national instrument, the khaen, a type of bamboo pipe that has prehistoric origins. The khaen traditionally accompanied the singer in lam, the dominant style of folk music. Among the various lam styles, the lam saravane is probably the most popular.

The country has two World Heritage Sites: Luang Prabang and Vat Phou. The government is seeking the same status for the Plain of Jars.

Rice is the staple food and has cultural and religious significance. There are many traditions and rituals associated with rice production in different environments, and among many ethnic groups. For example, Khammu farmers in Luang Prabang plant the rice variety Khao Kam in small quantities near the hut in memory of dead parents, or at the edge of the rice field to indicate that parents are still alive....

All newspapers are published by the government, including two foreign language papers: the English-language daily Vientiane Times and the French-language weekly Le Rénovateur. Additionally, the Khao San Pathet Lao, the country's official news agency, publishes English and French versions of its eponymous paper. Internet cafes are now common in the major urban centres and are popular especially with the younger generation. However, the government strictly censors content and controls access.

For dependent and other territories, see Dependent territory.

1 Partly or significantly in Europe.  2 The Republic of China (Taiwan) is not officially recognized by the United Nations; see Political status of Taiwan. 3 Partly or significantly in Africa.  4 Partly or wholly reckoned in Oceania.

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Transport in Laos

Map of Laos

This article concerns systems of transportation in Laos. Laos is a country in Asia, which possesses a number of modern transportation systems, including several highways and a number of airports. As a landlocked country, Laos possesses no ports or harbours on the sea, and the difficulty of navigation on the Mekong means that this is also not a significant transport route.

There is one short section of railway in Laos.

In January 2007 work began on a 3.5 km extension of the metre-gauge State Railway of Thailand network across the Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge to a passenger and freight terminal inside Laos. Test trains began running on July 4 2008, and Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of Thailand formally inaugurated the line on March 5 2009. Surveys are underway to continue to the line a further 12 km to Vientiane.

Laos does not have any links to other neighbouring countries by rail, although a link to Vietnam's Ha Tinh Province has been proposed. All neighbouring countries share the same 1000 mm gauge, including lines in China as far as Yunan.

A short portage railway once also existed on the Mekong river.

In Laos, there are 21,716 km of highway, of which 9,673.5 km are paved, leaving 12,042.5 km unpaved. Driving in Laos is on the right.

Laos has constructed a new highway connecting Savannakhet to the Vietnamese border at Lao Bao, with funding coming from the Japanese government . This has greatly facilitated travelling across Laos. This highway can now be traversed in a few hours, while in 2002 the trip took over 9 hours along a very bumpy (and scenic) route.

There are 3 land connection across the Mekong from Laos to Thailand using the existing First and Second Friendship Bridge and Pakxe bridge. Vientiane is linked to Udon Thani using the First Friendship Bridge.

Laos opened a highway connection to Kunming that was open in April 2008. The Fourth Friendship Bridge is under planning to be completed by 2011 linking Kunming to Bokeo, Laos and Chiang Rai. It will reduce the travel time to 5 hours.

About 4,587 km of navigable water routes exist in Laos, primarily the Mekong and its tributaries. There is an additional 2,897 km, which is sectionally navigable by craft drawing less than 0.5 m.

In terms of sea travel, Laos has a merchant marine consisting of 1 cargo ship of 2,370 gross register tons (GRT).

Laos has 136 km of pipeline for transport of petroleum products.

Laos possesses 52 airports, of which 9 have paved runways, and 43 do not. Of the airports with paved runways, only Wattay International Airport has runway length over 2,438m. Of the remainder, four have runways 1,524 to 2,437 m length, and a further four of lengths between 914 and 1,523 m. Of the airports without paved runways, 1 has runways of length above 1,524m, 17 have runway lengths between 914 and 1,523 m, leaving 25 with length below 914m.

This article contains material from the CIA World Factbook which, as a U.S. government publication, is in the public domain.

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History of Laos

Viangchan1.JPG

The earliest Lao legal document (and the earliest sociological evidence about the existence of the Lao people) is known as "the laws of Khun Borom" (also spelled "Khun Bulom"), still preserved in manuscript form.

This set of memoriter laws is written in a type of indigenous blank verse, and reflects the state of proto-Lao society as early as the 9th century, possibly prior to their adoption of Theravada Buddhism, and prior to (or coeval with) their southward migration into the territory now comprising modern Laos (from North-Western Vietnam).

While most Lao people regard Borom/Bulom as a subject of myth only, Western scholars regard him as an historical figure, albeit there is very little factually known about him aside from the fact of his bare existence and the description of a very primitive kingdom in his laws.

In general terms, these ancient laws describe an agrarian society in which life revolves around subsistence agriculture with domesticated water-buffaloes (the gayal). The strict punishments set down for stealing or killing a neighbor's elephant reflect that these were (evidently) an expensive and important possession of the time.

The official History of Laos as introduced in government textbooks, is conventionally traced to the establishment of the kingdom of Lan Xang by Fa Ngum in 1353. This is a relatively conservative date to begin the history of the nation, providing a contrast to the course taken by Thai historiography (which reaches back implausibly far into proto-history). By the 14th century, when this "official history" begins, the speakers of early Lao-related languages had probably developed a reasonable base of population among the prior inhabitants of (what is now) Laos over the prior century or two.

The earlier inhabitation of the land by peoples such as the Mon kingdom of Dvaravati and Proto-Khmer peoples was given a great deal of emphasis in the histories of Laos written during the French colonial period. However, post-colonial historiography has instead sought to represent all peoples of Laos as equally "indigenous", relating the early history in terms of a complex interaction with the (admittedly more ancient) Cambodian kingdoms to the south, and praising the Proto-Khmer as Lao nationalists for their heroism and modern struggles against the French and Americans (see, e.g., the Ong Keo Rebellion starting circa 1902).

Both French colonial history and post-colonial (Communist) history sought to reverse the obvious racism of earlier, popular accounts that when the Lao migrated into the country, they simply conquered and enslaved the native inhabitants (viz., primarily Proto-Khmer people, described in such a context with the derogatory term "Kha-That"). This traditional view has almost no factual basis, but remains a commonly heard pseudo-history, and a special concern for teachers to address (or redress) in the classroom. Vatthana Pholsena provides a survey of the historiography on this point in Post-War Laos, 2006, Silkworm Books.

While there can be no doubt that animism and fragments of Shiva-worship were popular in ancient Laos, evidence increasingly indicates a long, gradual process leading to the ascendancy of Buddhism (rather than a single king converting the country). The reverse also did occur, as with the historical layers of statuary and inscriptions at Wat Phu Champassak; the oldest are in Sanskrit, and worship Shiva, while the later evidence is Buddhist, subsequently reverting to animism (with the most recent statues simply depicting giant elephants and lizards, with no references to the organized religions of India, and neither Sanskrit nor Pali text).

It is significant to note that all of these official histories exclude the (possible and actual) influence of Chinese religion in the region. In fact, the ancient Lao calendar and Thai calendar are both of Chinese origin (adapted from the "Heavenly Stem Branch Calendar"), and do not reflect Indian cosmology. These calendars were both part of the royal religion (preserved in epigraphy) and, apparently, part of popular religion (fortune telling) for centuries.

In the 17th century Lan Xang entered a period of decline and the late 18th century Siam (now Thailand) established control over much of what is now Laos. The region was divided into three dependent states centered on Luang Prabang in the north, Vientiane in the center, and Champassak in the south. The Vientiane Lao rebelled in 1828 but were defeated, and the area was incorporated into Siam. Following its occupation of Vietnam, France absorbed Laos into French Indochina via treaties with Siam in 1893 and 1904.

During World War II, the Japanese occupied French Indochina. When Japan surrendered, Lao nationalists declared Laos independent, but by early 1946, French troops had reoccupied the country and conferred limited autonomy on Laos. During the First Indochina War, the Indochinese Communist Party formed the Pathet Lao resistance organization committed to Lao independence. Laos gained full independence following the French defeat by the Vietnamese communists and the subsequent Geneva peace conference in 1954.

Elections were held in 1955, and the first coalition government, led by Prince Souvanna Phouma, was formed in 1957. The coalition government collapsed in 1958 under pressure from the United States. In 1960 Captain Kong Lae staged a coup when the cabinet was away at the royal capital of Luang Prabang and demanded reformation of a neutralist government. The second coalition government, once again led by Souvanna Phouma, was not successful in holding power. Rightist forces under General Phoumi Nosavan drove out the neutralist government from power later that same year.

A second Geneva conference, held in 1961-62, provided for the independence and neutrality of Laos, but the agreement was subverted by both the United States and North Vietnam and the war soon resumed. The government and army of Laos were generally neutral during the conflict. The United States and North Vietnam subverted the agreement by forming private proxy armies. Growing American and North Vietnamese military presence in the country increasingly drew Laos into the Second Indochina War (1954-1975). For nearly a decade, eastern Laos was subjected to the heaviest bombing in the history of warfare, as the U.S. sought to destroy the Ho Chi Minh Trail that passed through Laos. The country was also repeatedly invaded by Vietnam.

Shortly after the Paris Peace Accords led to the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Vietnam, a ceasefire between the Pathet Lao and the government led to a new coalition government. However, North Vietnam never really withdrew from Laos and the Pathet Lao remained little more than a proxy army for Vietnamese interests. After the fall of South Vietnam to communist forces in April 1975, the Pathet Lao with the backing of North Vietnam were able to take total power with little resistance. On December 2, 1975, the king was forced to abdicate his throne and the Lao People's Democratic Republic was established.

The new communist government led by Kaysone Phomvihane imposed centralized economic decision-making and incarcerated many members of the previous government and military in "re-education camps" which also included the Hmongs. While nominally independent, the communist government was for many years effectively little more than a puppet regime run from Vietnam. The government's policies prompted about 10 percent of the Lao population to leave the country. Laos depended heavily on Soviet aid channeled through Vietnam up until the Soviet collapse in 1991. In the 1990s the communist party gave up centralised management of the economy but still has a monopoly of political power.

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Military of Laos

Tri-service Flag

The Lao People's Army, is the name of the armed forces of Laos, who are charged with protecting the country. Until 1975, the Royal Laos Army were the armed forces of the Laos, along with the Royal Lao Air Force and the Royal Lao Navy. Laos is one of the world's least developed countries and the Lao People's Armed Forces are small, poorly funded, and ineffectively resourced. Most of their equipment date back to the Soviet era. There is little political will to allocate sparse funding to the military, and the armed forces' gradual degradation is likely to continue. The massive drug production and trafficking industry centered in the Golden Triangle makes Laos an important narcotics transit country, and armed Wa and Chinese smugglers are active on the Lao-Burma border.

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Source : Wikipedia