September 26, 2014

Call on Laotian people to save our Land, Very Soon Mekong dam will destroying the region’s lifeblood

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The Mekong River is under threat. The governments of Cambodia, Laos and Thailand are considering plans to build 11 big hydropower dams on the river's mainstream

Mekong Dams: Opposition Grows to Laos’ Mega Dams

Key Issues:
Xayaburi, Don Sahong, and Lower Mekong Mainstream Dams

A renewed push to build hydropower dams on the lower Mekong mainstream is threatening the river’s ecosystems, aquatic resources and the fishery-dependent livelihoods of millions of people.

แม่น้ำโขง

แม่น้ำโขง – สายน้ำที่ยาวที่สุดในอุษาคเนย์ และยาวเป็นอันดับสิบของโลก จากต้นกำเนิดบริเวณเทือกเขาหิมาลัย แม่น้ำโขงไหลผ่านถึง 6 ประเทศ จากที่ราบสูงทิเบต ผ่านภาคตะวันตกเฉียงใต้ทางมณฑลยูนนาน ประเทศจีน ไหลสู่ พม่า ลาว ไทย กัมพูชา ก่อนจะออกสู่ทะเลจีนใต้ที่ดินดอนสามเหลี่ยมปากแม่น้ำประเทศเวียดนาม รวมความยาวทั้งสิ้น 4,909 กิโลเมตร

Click on the link to get more news and video from original source:  http://www.terraper.org/mainpage/key_issues_detail_en.php?kid=8&langs=en

The international community should not let the Lao government get away with such a blatant violation of international law. We are calling on donor governments and the governments of Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia to take a firm stand against Laos. 

More information from http://www.internationalrivers.org/
“The international community should not let the Lao government get away with such a blatant violation of international law,” said Ms. Ame Trandem, Southeast Asia Program Director for International Rivers. “We are calling on donor governments and the governments of Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia to take a firm stand against Laos. The Xayaburi Dam is the first of a cascade of devastating mainstream dams that will severely undermine the region’s development efforts. The food security and jobs of millions of people in the region are now on the line.”
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Xayaburi Construction’s Photo

Click on the link to get more news and video from original source:  http://www.bangkokpost.com/multimedia/photo/257475/laos-river-life/embed

Click on the link to get more news and video from original source:  http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/236558/activists-call-to-scrap-lao-dam-project

Activists are unhappy with Laos’ pledge to study the environmental effects of the controversial Xayaburi hydro dam.  Click for more

Click on the link to get more news and video from original source:  http://www.nationmultimedia.com/opinion/laos-evades-responsibility-with-dam-construction-30193861.html

Ame Trandem, Pianporn Deetes
November 8, 2012 1:00 am

In clear defiance of its neighbours and a regional agreement, the Lao government announced that it would hold a groundbreaking ceremony at the Xayaburi Dam site on the Mekong River on Wednesday, November 7. Viraphonh Viravong, Laos’ deputy minister of energy and mining, said “It has been assessed, it has been discussed the last two years. We have addressed most of the concerns.
After the ceremony, the project developers are expected to begin construction on the cofferdam, which diverts the river while the permanent dam wall is built. The cofferdam is expected to be completed by May 2013.

The international community should not let the Lao government get away with such a blatant violation of international law. We are calling on donor governments and the governments of Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia to take a firm stand against Laos.

The Xayaburi Dam is the first of a cascade of devastating mainstream dams that will severely undermine the region’s development efforts. The food security and jobs of millions of people in the region are now on the line.

Construction activities at the dam site began in late 2010. In April 2011 the Cambodian and Vietnamese governments asked the Lao government for further studies on the project’s trans-boundary effects. In December 2011 the four governments of the Mekong River Commission met and agreed to conduct further studies on the effects of the Xayaburi Dam and 10 other proposed mainstream dams. To date, no regional agreement has been made to build the Xayaburi Dam despite the 1995 Mekong Agreement’s requirement that the governments of Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand and Laos cooperate and seek joint agreement on mainstream projects.

Laos said it would cooperate with neighbouring countries, but this was never genuine. Instead, the project always continued on schedule and was never actually delayed. None of Vietnam and Cambodia’s environmental and social concerns have been taken seriously. Laos has never even collected basic information about the ways that people depend on the river, so how can it say that there will be no impacts?

On October 22, Vietnam’s minister of natural resources and environment met the Lao prime minister and requested that all construction on the Xayaburi Dam be stopped until necessary studies to assess the effects of Mekong mainstream dams were first carried out.

Laos continues to deny that the dam will have trans boundary impacts and is applying the recommended mitigation measures made by Finnish consulting company Poyry and French company Compagnie Nationale du Rhone, despite the fact that the project has never carried out a trans-boundary impact assessment. The Cambodian government, Vietnamese government, and scientists throughout the Mekong region have disagreed with the work of these companies.

Laos is playing roulette with the Mekong River, offering unproven solutions and opening up the Mekong as a testing ground for new technologies. When the Mekong River Commission stays quiet and tolerates one country risking the sustainability of the Mekong River and all future trans-boundary cooperation, something is seriously wrong.

As Thai companies serve as the project’s developers and financers, and the Thai government will purchase the bulk of the Xayaburi Dam’s electricity, Thailand has the responsibility to call for a stop to construction immediately and cancel its power purchase agreement until there is regional agreement to build the dam. This move by Laos sets a dangerous precedent for the future of the Mekong region. If Laos is allowed to proceed unhindered, then in the future all member governments will proceed unilaterally on projects on the Mekong River. The Mekong Agreement will become yet another useless piece of paper.

Unless the Mekong dam crisis is tackled immediately, the future of the region is in great danger. With the Asian and European heads of states gathered in Vientiane, Laos for the Asem Summit, it’s time that the international community takes a strong stand and makes it clear that such actions by Laos will not be tolerated.

Ame Trandem is Southeast Asia programme director, International Rivers. Pianporn Deetes is Thailand campaign coordinator, International Rivers.

http://www.internationalrivers.org/resources/laos-evades-responsibility-and-plows-ahead-with-xayaburi-dam-7714

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Credits: International Rivers

September 26, 2014

Laos Criminalizes Internet Criticism of the Government

Laos Criminalizes Internet Criticism of the Government

23 Sep 2014

Click on the link to get more news and video from original source:  http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Peace/2014/09/23/Laos-Criminalizes-Criticism-of-the-Government-on-the-Internet

 

The communist state of Laos has categorically banned any online criticism of the government in a new set of laws that criminalizes speaking ill of the government on the Internet and any outlet that facilitates the publication of such online criticism.

Reuters reports that the legislation, approved last week by Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong, punishes “false” information spread online by any individual. “False” is defined as anything that reflects unfavorably on the government. According to state outlet KPL, the law bans “disseminating or circulating untrue information for negative purposes against the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party and the Lao government, undermining peace, independence, sovereignty, unity and prosperity of the country.” It also holds Internet service providers and websites accountable for having a hand in publishing any illegal opinions.

To better track who is posting what online, the law also provides that use of pseudonyms on the Internet is banned. It also forbids any pornography or “inappropriate” photographs, though what constitutes “inappropriate” is never specified.

Laos has been a communist country since 1975 and has struggled with poverty for decades as a result. While the nation opened a stock market in 2011 in an attempt to attract foreign investment, its economic situation has continued to stagnate due to its relentless adherence to communism and the fostering of less than beneficial diplomatic relationships.

This month, Laos received delegates from the nation of Cuba to foster further bilateral relations, though neither country has managed to help the other’s fledgling economy. Laos’ closest ally is Vietnam, also impoverished; the nation sent delegates to Vietnam the same week it greeted Cuban diplomats and held talks on improving trade between the two countries. Laos has also begun extending a hand towards China, though the last meeting between representatives of the two nations had less to do with trade than security. According to Chinese state outlet Xinhua, Chinese officials announced the nation “hopes to further enhance cooperation on law enforcement and security with Laos in the Mekong River basin so as to turn the cooperation mechanism into a model of regional law enforcement cooperation.” Among the specific security areas discussed were “anti-terror, illegal immigration and cyber crime.” Like Laos, China has extremely tight policies on what citizens can and cannot say publicly.

September 26, 2014

New Laos web decree bans criticism of government policy: media

Reuters_US1

New Laos web decree bans criticism of government policy: media

Tue Sep 23, 2014 6:28am EDT

Click on the link to get more news and video from original source: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/09/23/us-laos-internet-idUSKCN0HI0WT20140923

(Reuters) – Communist Laos has issued a decree outlawing online criticism of policies of the ruling party or government, state media reported, the latest Southeast Asian country to enact strict internet controls.

According to legislation approved by Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong last week, web users will face criminal action for spreading “false” information aimed at discrediting the government, the official KPL news agency said.

It added users must also use their real names when setting up social media accounts.

Internet service providers could face action for making “available conditions” for any individual or group that had intentions of “tarnishing the party and government’s guidelines and policy”, KPL said.

The decree comes as cellphone and internet usage climbs in tandem with economic growth, a reduced poverty rate and greater electricity access in the country of 6.4 million people.

The new laws bear similarities to those of its Communist neighbor Vietnam, which commands strong influence over Laos and has a near identical political system.

Vietnam announced a cyber decree last year that drew condemnation from a coalition of internet firms, among them eBay, Facebook, Google and Yahoo.

Vietnam has taken a tough stand on government critics, jailing dozens of bloggers and activists for spreading “anti-state propaganda” on the internet in what rights groups say are fear tactics aimed at discouraging dissent.

Thailand has closed hundreds of thousands of websites and jailed people who have used the internet to post critical comments about its monarchy under its 2007 Computer Crimes Act.

The Lao decree bans “disseminating or circulating untrue information for negative purposes against the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party and the Lao government, undermining peace, independence, sovereignty, unity and prosperity of the country,” according to KPL.

It also banned uploading of pornography or “inappropriate” photographs and said pseudonyms must not be used.

Punishments range from warnings to fines and unspecified criminal action.

(Reporting by Martin Petty in Hanoi; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)

 

 

September 21, 2014

Photo Gallery A Wisconsin tribute to the bravery of Hmong pilots in Laos

Photo Gallery

A Wisconsin tribute to the bravery of Hmong pilots in Laos

Posted: Sept. 19, 2014

Click on the link to get more news and video from original source: http://www.jsonline.com/multimedia/photos/a-wisconsin-tribute-to-the-bravery-of-hmong-pilots-in-laos-b99354565z1-275857571.html

Hmong pilots flying dangerous missions in north Laos in support of the U.S. effort in the Vietnam War have never had a memorial paying tribute to their bravery — until now. On Saturday a restored T-28 propeller plane like the ones the Hmong flew will be unveiled in tribute at Aviation Heritage Center of Wisconsin in Sheboygan Falls.

Tim McKeown, a T-28 instructor pilot for the U.S. Air Force who taught Hmong pilots to fly missions in northern Laos in 1973, stands next to one of his students, Ya Lee. – Image credit: Aviation Heritage Center of Wisconsin
Volunteers Al Schafer (foreground) and Ted Katte get ready to mount a plaque dedicated to the Hmong veteran aviators on a North American T-28 plane used to train Hmong pilots during the Vietnam War. The aircraft acquired by the Sheboygan Falls-based Aviation Heritage Center of Wisconsin was restored by a local EAA chapter and will be unveiled Saturday in a new exhibit at the Sheboygan County Municipal Airport honoring the unsung sacrifices the Hmong pilots. – Image credit: Mark Hoffman
Jon Helminiak, executive director of the Aviation Heritage Center of Wisconsin, searches for the correct place to mount a plaque dedicated to the Hmong veteran aviators on a North American T-28 plane used to train Hmong pilots during the Vietnam War. – Image credit: Mark Hoffman
A custom-machine prop dome had to be machined from a solid piece of metal for the North American T-28 plane used to train Hmong pilots during the Vietnam War. – Image credit: Mark Hoffman
The insignia of of the Royal Laotian Air Force is shown on the North American T-28 plane used to train Hmong pilots. – Image credit: Mark Hoffman
Volunteer Al Schafer (back) and Jon Helminiak, executive director of the Aviation Heritage Center of Wisconsin, place a plaque dedicated to Hmong veteran aviators next to the insignia of the Royal Laotian Air Force on a T-28 plane used to train Hmong pilots during the Vietnam War. – Image credit: Mark Hoffman
Koua Xiong flew 2,562 combat missions over Laos in a T-28 propeller plane. He later immigrated to America with his family after the Vietnam War and will attend Saturday’s dedication of a memorial to Hmong pilots at the Aviation Heritage Center of Wisconsin in Sheboygan Falls. – Image credit: Aviation Heritage Center of Wisconsin
September 20, 2014

Chinese Mafia selling Apple iPhone 6 and 6 Plus at absurd amount

Chinese Mafia selling Apple iPhone 6 and 6 Plus at absurd amount

Posted on Sep 20 2014 – 6:21pm

by Abby Smith

Click on the link to get more news and video from original source: http://thewestsidestory.net/2014/09/20/17106/chinese-mafia-selling-apple-iphone-6-6-plus-absurd-amount/

Everyone is going crazy for the latest Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) latest flagship device, Apple iPhone 6, however, there is another side of the story which tells us that people standing in the line are not the Apple fans, but the traffickers for the China’s black market. Many among standing in the lines ship the iPhone 6 to China, which can be later sold in its black market.

Apple sells 4 million iPhone6 and Iphone 6 Plus in first day

iPhone 6 has only been released in the Hongkong, US, UK, Japan, Europe and Australia, and due to that those people in China are going to sell these iPhones for a larger amount. Normal price of the iPhone 6 Plus 128GB is nearly $927, whereas in the black market and online the prices are as high as $2440. The prices are being doubled or thrice the original amount. It turns out to be a great business for these people as they are selling them online, and outside the store for almost double the price.

However, this is not the only case, there has been few listing on the eBay.com, providing iPhones at a higher price. The listing at the eBay is selling the iPhone for around $2500, which means that the price was marked up by more than 100% giving a profit of 77% to the owners or the sellers.

Some people are calling it a better option to invest than the stock market. As Asian Capital Holdings’ Ronald Wan put it, “This is a sure bet to make money. From a 50 percent to 150 percent markup, it’s better than the stock market.”

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