March 31, 2016

Inspectors uncover widespread illegal logging, vehicle imports

By:  Vientiane Times, March 2, 2016

Inspection authorities have uncovered more than 86,744 cubic metres of illegal logs, the illegal importation of 978 vehicles, and also discovered banking officials taking customers’ money, during inspections carried out in 2015. The illegal logs were found after the authorities investigated suspicious incidents in 12 provinces and Vientiane, according to the 2015 report from the Inspection Committee of the Party Central Committee, and the Government Inspection Authority.

Free legal aid continues at Lao Bar Association

By:  Vientiane Times, February 12, 2016

The Lao Bar Association has announced it will continue the provision of free legal aid to the general public this year after the sponsor, Asia Foundation, announced it would continue funding the project. The association made the announcement last month through various media outlets.

March 30, 2016

New Governor Appointed to Ensure Security in Laos’ Xaysomboun Province

By:  RFA, February 24 2016

A Lao military officer who was deputy minister of national defense has been appointed governor of Xaysomboun province to tamp down increased unrest since last November, which has left 10 dead, a retired soldier close to a high-ranking officer in the Ministry of National Defense said.

Major General Thongloy Silivong, a member of the Party Central Committee and former chief of the National Defense Academy, was appointed the new party secretary of Xaysomboun province on Feb. 16, replacing Sombath Yialiher.

Six Chinese nationals wounded in Laos bus shooting

By:  Reuters, March 24 2016

BEIJING: Six Chinese nationals were wounded in a bus shooting in northern Laos on Wednesday, the official Xinhua news agency said, the latest flare-up of violence affecting Chinese in the country as Beijing extends its economic influence in Southeast Asia.

The victims included passengers and drivers of the bus, which was travelling from Kunming, the capital of China’s southwestern Yunnan province, to Vientiane, the Laotian capital, Xinhua quoted Chinese embassy officials as saying.

Small-scale land acquisitions, large-scale implications

Title:  Small-scale land acquisitions, large-scale implications:  The case of Chinese banana investments in northern Laos
By:  Cicilie Friis, 2015
Cost:  FREE download
Abstract (short):

In the context of the ‘global land grab’, the Lao Peoples Democratic Republic has been identified as a hotspot  for  large-scale  land  acquisitions  sought  by  capital  strong  foreign  investors.  However,  in  the rapidly  commercialising  agrarian  landscape  of  northern  Laos,  other  and  more  subtle  forms  of  land acquisitions  are  also  taking  place.  These  are  mainly  pursued  by  smaller  companies  and  private investors  promoting  cash-crops  in  contract-farming  arrangements  or  renting  agricultural  land  from farmers  on  short-term  contracts;  often  with  little or  no  initial  involvement  of  the  government  actors. 

This  paper  investigates  such  ‘small-scale’  land  acquisitions  in  relation to the  recent  boom  in  banana investments  in  Long  District,  Luang  Namtha  Province.

March 23, 2016

Silver and Copper Ornamental Bowls

ພັນເລື່ອງເມືອງລາວ ຕີຂັນເງິນ.  Watch Lao Star's tv show Pun Leuang Muang Lao profile a family business that does metal engraving using silver and copper to create beautiful ceremonial ornamental bowls that are often utilized in Laos.

Video Credit:  Clip part 1 of 4.  LaoStar.

Pet Fish Farming in Laos

ທຳກິນຢູ່ຖິນລາວ ລ້ຽງປາສວຍງາມ.  Lao Star's tv show Tum Kin U Tin Lao visits a pet fish farm in Laos. The fish here are bred not for eating but rather to be sold as pets - for example, koi and beta fish.

Video Credit:  Clip part 1 of 4.  LaoStar.

March 16, 2016

The Increasing Presence of China in Laos From 2007-2009

Title:  The Increasing Presence of China in Laos Today:  A Report on Fixed Point Observation of Local Newspapers from March 2007 to February 2009
By:  Kazuhiro Fujimura, Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University
Cost:  FREE download

The Increasing Presence of China in Laos Today:  A Report on Fixed Point Observation of Local Newspapers from March 2007 to February 2009 by Kazuhiro Fujimura

March 15, 2016

ເຂົ້າໃຈຜິດ ຄິດວ່າແມ່ນ ນັກຂ້າ / You Spook Me

The Mini Vientianale 2016 was recently held March 11-14 2016.  There were many submissions from both foreign and Lao film makers.  Here's one of the submissions we found on Youtube entitled ເຂົ້າໃຈຜິດ ຄິດວ່າແມ່ນ ນັກຂ້າ / You Spook Me.  It's fun, silly and has a good message.

March 08, 2016

Profile on Lao Disabled Women Development and Training Center

LaoStar channel's show Pun Leuang Muang Lao (ພັນເລື່ອງເມືອງລາວ) visited the Lao Disabled Women's Development and Training Center last year in 2015 and did a wonderful profile on this organization.
Part 1
Video Credit:  LaoStar

March 07, 2016

Lao Airlines Snack Food Meal

I was going through my picture archive of when I visited Laos in 2013.  Sure enough, I found another photo I hadn't shared online yet.  If you're curious to see what the meal was on the plane for my flight from Bangkok to Luangprabang aboard the Lao Airlines flight, here it is. 

Lao Airlines Snack Food Meal
Photo Credit:

March 03, 2016

New Lao Movie: Noy - Above it All

Looks like a great movie with some very positive messages.  All about love, relationships, family, trials, tribulations, and finding inner strength.

Check out the trailer. In Lao language with English subtitles.

Movie Video Credit:  Lao New Wave Cinema

March 02, 2016

Laos starts off as Asean chair with ministers' retreat

By:  Nirmal Ghosh, The Straits Times, February 27 2016

VIENTIANE - Laos kicks off its Asean chairmanship Friday with an agenda-setting foreign ministers' retreat in Vientiane, its capital on the east bank of the Mekong River.
Analysts say this year could be a coming of age for the "lower-middle income economy", where poverty continues to be widespread, but which is one of the fastest-growing economies in the region.

Laos last chaired Asean in 2004. Its economy grew by an average of 7 per cent annually in recent years, mostly on the back of its natural resources, a construction boom in Vientiane and rising tourism.

The year will culminate with the Asean and East Asia Summits in September - held earlier than usual because of the United States election in November.

Laos seeks return of missing millions from poltergeist projects, misappropriation

VIENTIANE, March 1 (Xinhua) -- The recovery of hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars in funds continues to exercise authorities in Laos amid the release of state and ruling party reports revealing fiscal misappropriations in the Southeast Asian state.

More than 58 million U.S. dollars misappropriated from state and provincial budgets has been recovered so-far from some 378 million U.S. dollars disbursed, state-run media Vientiane Times reported.

Lao Airlines outlook brightens following North Asia expansion and domestic reductions

By:  CAPA - Center for Aviation, March 1 2016

Lao Airlines has rapidly expanded its international operation over the past few years with a focus on North Asia, particularly China. Six international destinations have been launched since late 2012, including four in China and two in South Korea.

Several unprofitable domestic routes have been handed over to a smaller government owned airline, Lao Skyway, enabling Lao Airlines to phase out smaller turboprops. Lao Airlines has expanded its ATR 72 fleet by three aircraft since 2011 while adding four two class A320s.