Posts tagged ‘Laos’

September 13, 2014

Women of Laos Clear Bomb Shells From the Vietnam War

telesur

Women of Laos Clear Bomb Shells From the Vietnam War

Published 12 September 2014

Click on the link to get more news and video from original source:  http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Women-of-Laos-Clear-Bomb-Shells-From-the-Vietnam-War-20140912-0063.html

A Lao woman uproots rice seedlings in a paddy field. (Photo: Reuters)

A Lao woman uproots rice seedlings in a paddy field. (Photo: Reuters)

Women in Laos are now employed as bomb shell cleares. The job pays more than most, and requires one to work in highly unsafe conditions.

Women risk their lives to clear bomb shells in Laos and make up 40 percent of the bomb clearance teams in Xieng Khouang province.

The bomb shells they search for were dropped buy the U.S. during the Vietnam War. The U.S. had dropped 260 million cluster bombs on Laos. At the time the U.S. dropped 260 million bombs which gave the distinction of being the most heavily bombed country in the world.

The bombs targeted Ho Chi Mihn trail, which was the supply route for communist forces. Laos, however was not officially involved in the war, but because it was the neighbor of Vietnam its people were killed in the process.

Phou Vongh is part of a female team whose mission is to find and destroy unexploded bombs. This job is very dangerous but Phou Vong says she needs the work to support her family. To collect bomb shells she ears $250 a month, more than the average wage in Laos.

Up to 20,000 people have been hurt by cluster bombs in Laos since the bombing stopped. Many have lost their hands and sight because of cluster bombs exploding.

“In Laos culture, particularly in the more remote communities where accidents tend to happen, it is sometimes considered bad luck and then that person is shunned a little bit by his or her family and by their village and community as well. So that is quite a profound impact on a person,” said Colette McInerney, an Australian aid worker.

In spite of 20 years of bomb hunting in Laos, a little more than one percent of the land has been cleared.

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August 29, 2014

VN to negotiate with Laos, Cambodia on transit fees for new air route

VN to negotiate with Laos, Cambodia on transit fees for new air route

Click on the link to get more news and video from original source: http://english.vietnamnet.vn/fms/business/110731/vn-to-negotiate-with-laos–cambodia-on-transit-fees-for-new-air-route.html

VietNamNet Bridge – Airlines are taking a wait and see attitude about the proposed air route between Hanoi and HCM City that will fly over Cambodia and Laos airspace, cutting flight time compared to the current route.

Experts have said that this will be the most economical air route to follow

 

Related:

Bouncing down: The back roads of history (The Ho Chi Minh Trail)

air route, golden route, laos, cambodia

The agreements reached between the Vietnamese Minister of Transport Dinh La Thang and Lao and Cambodian counterparts have laid a foundation for the deployment of the new air route.

The  route, which is more direct path between the two cities, is expected to cut down expenses and save time. Currently airlines have to fly across the sea, which increases the amount of fuel and flight time.

However, air carriers are still hesitant to develop flights on the air route because they still cannot calculate the total expenses of every flight. The problem is that while airlines can save money on air petrol, they may have to pay higher fees when flying over Lao and Cambodian airspace.

With the current air route, airplanes fly within Vietnamese territory, while airlines have to pay a guide fee of VND3.5-4 million for every flight to the Vietnam Flight Control Corporation.

If they fly across Laos and Cambodia with a Boeing 777, they would have to pay $836 for every flight, or VND17.7 million. The fee would be VND13 million, if the plane used was an Airbus A320.

As such, the flight management cost for every two-way trip with A320, A321 and B777/330 would be $1,244, $1,274 and $1,672, respectively.

While airlines can see that the flight management cost would increase with the new air route, they still are not sure how much fuel they could save.

“To date, no one can say for sure how long the new air route will be,” an expert said.

“In reality, there might be zones that airplanes cannot go through and they have to take a roundabout. Sometimes airplanes have to fly tens of kilometers more to enter the right passage for landing, which makes the real distance longer than initially estimated,” he explained.

The air route which has been used so far has a total length of 1,274 kilometers. It takes one hour and 42 minutes and 4.7 tons of fuel to fly from Hanoi to HCM City with Airbus A320, according to the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV).

Meanwhile, the “golden air route” drawn on paper by Tran Dinh Ba, an engineer from the Vietnam Economics Association, has the total length of 1,140 kilometers.

The national flag air carrier Vietnam Airlines, after making calculations, has proposed that CAAV negotiate with Lao and Cambodian agencies to reduce transit fees in Laos and Cambodia by 50 percent for the Hanoi-Phu Quoc Island and Hanoi-HCM City flights.

Meanwhile, sources said that the 50 percent fee reduction would ensure profits for airlines, while in the worst case, the 35 percent fee reduction would be “acceptable”.

CAAV’s head Lai Xuan Thanh said that if the fee reduction were accepted, this would be a solution to benefit both sides.

The fee reductions would encourage more air carriers to fly across Laos and Cambodia, which would allow them to earn more money.

VNE/VNN

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August 28, 2014

Bouncing down: The back roads of history (The Ho Chi Minh Trail)

Bouncing down: The back roads of history

Posted On Aug 25, 2014
Click on the link to get more news and video from original source:  http://theadvisorcambodia.com/2014/08/bouncing-back-roads-history/

Antonia Bolingbroke-Kent rides the Ho Chi Minh Trail on a 1989 pink Honda cub

The Ho Chi Minh Trail, for those of you who’ve forgotten, was a transport network running from North Vietnam to South Vietnam, via Laos and Cambodia. Originally made up of primitive footpaths used for local trade, by the time of the Vietnam War the Trail was used to supply weapons, fuel and men in vast quantities to fight the Americans. According to the US government, the Trail was “one of the great achievements of military engineering of the 20th century”.

It also caused a great deal of trouble for both Laos and Cambodia: Laos was hit by an average of one B-52 bomb load every eight minutes, 24 hours a day, between 1964 and 1973. US fighters dropped more bombs on Laos than were dropped by all sides during the whole of the Second World War. And in Cambodia, American bombing provided a huge impetus for the rise of the Khmer Rouge.
The scale of the Trail was breathtaking. Covering more than 2,000 kilometres, from Sihanoukville in the south and Hanoi in the north, through thick jungle and over the 2,500-metre Truong Son mountain range in Laos, much of it was hidden from the bombers by tied-together tree canopies and trellises. The Americans used increasingly sophisticated weaponry to try to disrupt the Trail, including dousing it with Agent Orange, but all to no avail.

Agent Orange, a viciously unpleasant herbicide and defoliant, was used to strip the ground of plant cover, so the North Vietnamese would have nowhere to hide. According to the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 4.8 million people were exposed to the chemical, leaving 400,000 dead and 500,000 children born with birth defects. And reports suggest that at the end of the war, 80 million bombs had fallen on the three countries but not exploded, leaving an appalling and deadly legacy.

So, all in all, the Trail was a hugely important hinge for modern Southeast Asian history. It has been traversed before by modern travel writers, on foot and on motorbike: a guy called Chris Hunt rode the length of the Trail on a Russian-made Minsk 125cc in 1995. To top that, British-born Antonia Bolingbroke-Kent decided to make the journey on a bubblegum-pink 1989 Honda C-90 stepthru moped, because “doing it on a proper dirt bike seemed too easy”. She had to have the engine rebuilt four times during the trip, so she clearly found the difficulties she was looking for.

Pink vehicles seem to be something of a motif for Bolingbroke-Kent; previously she had driven a pink tuk tuk from Bangkok to Brighton. On the Trail, at a stately 20mph, she fords rivers, climbs mountains and braves the heat and dust and loneliness and potential tiger attacks, staying in grubby guesthouses, swatting insects and drinking warm Pepsi. If her writing is sometimes a little flat, her knowledge of the history of the Trail, as well as her views on unexploded ordnance and the effects now of the logging and deforestation along the way, are invaluable.
As economic progress turns the Ho Chi Minh Trail into well-paved routes for shipping wood abroad for garden furniture, the Trail itself is disappearing; this is a decent book on a fascinating subject.

August 24, 2014

Laos-located Don Sahong hydropower project impacts discussed

Laos-located Don Sahong hydropower project impacts discussed

 

Click on the link to get more news and video from original source:  http://english.vietnamnet.vn/fms/environment/110350/laos-located-don-sahong-hydropower-project-impacts-discussed.html

VietNamNet BridgeHydropower projects on the Mekong River, including the Don Sahong in Laos, will pose a threat to the balance of water, fish, and alluvium resources, while harming the ecosystem in the Mekong Delta region, said an expert on climate change.

Prof. Doc. Le Anh Tuan from the Research Institute for Climate Change at Can Tho University, pointed out that Don Sahong, the second hydropower project to be developed on a section of the Mekong River running though Laos, could lead to an extinction of catfish and other migrant fish species in the river.

It would also remarkably reduce the number of endemic fish in downstream areas, Tuan said at a conference held on August 21 in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho to prepare ideas to be contributed to the proposed Don Sahong hydropower project on the mainstream of the Mekong River.

Meanwhile, Nguyen Thanh Hai, office manager of the Steering Committee for Southwestern Region, said if all 12 hydropower projects are developed upstream, 55 percent of the Mekong River will become large reservoirs. Meanwhile, downstream areas, especially the Mekong Delta region, would suffer from environmental risks, he said.

At the same time, climate change and sea level rise would lead to salinity intrusion in most of the farming areas in the region, affecting the livelihood of about 30 million residents, he said.

Nguyen Huu Thien, an independent specialist, said the whole region would be affected by decisions on hydropower development in the Mekong River – one of the greatest rivers in the world possessing a rich resource that feeds millions of people.

He emphasised that the decisions must base on thorough, quality researches with consultations from governments and communities affected.

During the event, scientists updated the development process of hydropower projects on the Mekong River mainstream, assessment of environment impact of Don Sahong dam, and consultation process for Xayabury hydropower project.

Participants discussed ways to organise the consultations on Don Sahong project and how Mekong Delta localities engage in the process in a most effective manner.

The Mekong River is the world’s 12th longest river. It runs through China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.

VNA/VNN

August 24, 2014

Laos draws Vietnamese workers

Click on the link to get more news and video from original source:  http://english.vietnamnet.vn/fms/society/110348/laos-draws-vietnamese-workers.html

Workers produce fresh coffee beans at a plant run by Thai Hoa Group in Laos. There are currently around 13,500 Vietnamese workers in Laos working on investment projects between the two countries. 

VietNamNet Bridge – More and more Vietnamese workers have been going to Laos in recent years to help on investment projects between the two countries. The figure is expected to exceed 20,000 by 2015.

The Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA) told a conference early this week that most Vietnamese were skilled, adding that the present number of Vietnamese workers in Laos was about 13,500 people.

According to the Association of Vietnamese investors in Laos, nearly 7,000 were employees of the Hoang Anh Gia Lai Group, a large company that operates in furniture, real estate, football and mining.

Viet Nam Rubber Group has nearly 1,000 workers and the Song Da Corporation about 600.

Reports from Vietnamese enterprises that have invested in Laos show that Vietnamese unskilled workers in Laos are paid an average of US$250 a month while skilled workers receive about $500.

In addition to salary, the workers are also given living away from home allowances. They also benefit from Viet Nam’s social and health insurance policy and holiday system.

Tong Hai Nam, deputy director of the Department of Overseas Labour, said the presence of Vietnamese workers in Laos has helped relieve the problem of a labour shortage in the country, especially in the fields of energy, and infrastructure – and helped meet the demand of large investment projects.

He said the strong development of investment co-operation projects in Laos created strong demand for Vietnamese workers.

In addition to workers sent to Laos through mainstream channels, a considerable number come from provinces that share the same border with Laos, such as Nghe An and Ha Tinh.

Nghe An, in particular, sent many workers to Laos as it shared a 419km border with three provinces in Laos – Bolikhamsai, Xieng Khouang and Hua Phan.

Nghe An has more than 50 enterprises involved in the import and export of goods to Laos or are involved in mineral exploitation, wood processing and manufacturing, wine production, steel making, forest exploitation, tourism, small truck businesses, making farm products and consumer goods. Their total investment is said to worth more than $70 million.

Deputy Minister of Labour Nguyen Thanh Hoa said he hoped the signing of a new Labour Co-operation Agreement between the two countries would lead to a supply of Laotian workers for Vietnamese companies in Laos.

He also said Vietnamese companies would back vocational training programmes to help develop quality human resources for Laos.

Source: VNS

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