Archive for June, 2011

June 29, 2011

Laos’ opium poppy cultivation increases 58 pct in 2010

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Laos’ opium poppy cultivation rose by 58 percent, from 1,900 hectares in 2009 to 3,000 hectares in 2010, a recent UN report showed.

According to the World Drug Report 2011 released by United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) last week, the figure for Laos was higher than in any year since 2005, and has increased significantly since the lowest level of 1,500 hectares in 2007.

“Drugs are an international issue that crosses borders and Laos seems to bear the brunt as most production occurs outside our borders,” Lao Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong last week told United Nations agencies, international organizations and local media in Laos’ capital of Vientiane.

Around 40,000 people are addicted to amphetamines and 1.4 million young people in Laos are considered to be at high risk of drug abuse, President of the Lao National Committee for Drug Control and Supervision Soubanh Srithirath said.

He explained that youths are at risk of becoming involved in drug abuse because of a combination of curiosity and a lack of knowledge about the damaging effects of drugs, so they need to be educated on the issue.

Soubanh added, “in the long term, drugs have a dangerous impact on security, stability and national socio-economic development, so the Party and government are seriously committed to fighting this social evil.”

UNODC representative to Laos Leik Boonwaat told Xinhua on Monday that Laos faces a serious threat from the resurgence of opium poppy cultivation and increases in the transnational trafficking of drugs, adding that the past three years has seen significant expansion of illicit opium production and unprecedented seizures of illicit drugs.

He explained, “in the last three years, there has been an over 380 percent increase in heroin seizures from 17.5 kg seized in 2008 to 84.34 kg in 2010. Seizure of amphetamine-type stimulants ( ATS) has also increased from 1.23 million tablets in 2008 to 24.5 million tablets in 2010. This alone would bring the estimated value of seized drugs to nearly 100 million U.S. dollars.”

Leik said the Lao government must address the threat posed by illicit drugs if it is to achieve its development priorities. “I would like to reiterate our support to the Lao government for implementing the National Drug Control Master Plan,” Leik said.

On June 24, the Lao authorities destroyed 77 packets of heroin, 1.2 million amphetamine tablets, 250 grams of cocaine, 2,224 kg of dried cannabis, 7.7 kg of opium and 1.4 million tablets of a cold medicine containing a chemical precursor used to produce amphetamines in a ceremony to mark the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.

Poverty has been identified as the main reason poor people have continued to grow poppies in Laos, and eradication efforts have not been aided by an increase in the price of opium from 1,327 U.S. dollars per kg in 2009 to 1,670 U.S. dollars per kg in 2010.

The Lao government with the support of UNODC developed the National Drug Control Master Plan 2009-2013 to address these challenges. The Master Plan was approved by the government in late 2009. The UNODC-supported projects in Laos have clearly demonstrated that Alternative Development does work but efforts have to be expanded and sustained.


June 28, 2011

Laos to build 10 hydro-power dams over next five years

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

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By Deutsche Presse-Agentur

Vientiane (dpa) – Laos plans to build 10 hydroelectric dams over the next five years as part of plans to become the “battery of South-East Asia,” state media reports said Friday.

The 10-plant goal was set in the country’s 7th National Socio-Economic Development Plan for 2011 to 2015, scheduled for approval by the National Assembly Friday, the Vientiane Times reported.

Of the 10, five are currently under construction. The Nam Ngum 5 in Vientiane province is 60 per cent complete, the Theun Hinboun expansion in Khammouane province is 78 per cent complete, the Nam Xong in Vientiane province is 30 per cent finished, the Nam Nhone in Luang Namtha is 91 per cent complete, and the Xekhaman 3 in Xekong province is 90 per cent complete, according to the plan awaiting the assembly’s approval.

Laos already has 16 operational hydropower plants with a total capacity of 2,000 megawatts. The government has granted approval for feasibility studies on construction of 73 power plant projects over the past decade.

Some projects, such as the Xayaburi hydro-electric plant planned on the Mekong River, have run into regional opposition.

Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam have called for delay of the dam’s construction on the grounds that it could impact downstream fisheries and sedement flows. To date, only China has built dams on the Mekong River, the longest waterway in South-East Asia.

Hydroelectricity is the largest investment sector in Laos, having attracted 4 billion dollars over the past decade

The land-locked communist country, one of the world’s poorest, earned 146 million dollars from exports of electricity to neighbouring Thailand during the first six months of the 2001/11 fiscal year, which started on October 1.

June 28, 2011

Laos accused of rescinding promise to delay dam project

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

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Updated June 28, 2011 14:49:13
Environmentalists are accusing the Laotion government of rescinding on its promise not to go ahead with the controversial Xayaburi dam on the Mekong River.

Last month in response to concerns expressed by its neighbours Thailand and Cambodia on the impact of the dam on water levels and fish stock, Laos said that it would delay the 3 point 8 Billion dollar project subject to further studies.

But documents obtained by the Phnom Penh Post however indicate that the project is going ahead regardless.

Presenter: Liam Cochrane
Speakers: Ame Trandem, Mekong campaigner for International Rivers

TRANDEM: A letter that was leaked to us last week revealed how the Lao government has informed the Thai project developer, CH Karnchang, that the regional decision making process over the Xayaburi dam is now complete. This is extremely worrying because Laos appears now to be moving forward on the dam on a unilateral basis despite the concerns that have been raised by neighbouring governments and regional civil society. As a signatory to the 1995 Mekong Agreement, Laos has committed to cooperate with its neighbours on the sustainable management of the Mekong River, and through this agreement they’ve also said that at all mainstream projects would undergo this regional decision-making process, that goes under with Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.

COCHRANE: So does that commitment essentially continue until there is an agreement, or is there some sort of time-based sunset clause on it?

TRANDEM: Yeah well the process began last September, but just two months ago the four governments met together in order to decide whether or not this dam should be built. And at this meeting on April 19th the four governments were unable to reach an agreement on whether or not to build the dam, because Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam all had a lot of concerns regarding the dam’s trans-boundary impacts and the need for further study and consultation. And so together the four countries agreed that they would defer the decision to a ministerial level meeting that would happen later in the year, and so this meeting is expected to take place around November this year. So essentially Laos has jumped the gun and has said now that they plan forward on their own.

COCHRANE: Are you surprised by this or have any inclination about what’s caused them to jump the gun?

TRANDEM: Yes we’re absolutely surprised. Everything that has come out in the region has shown how compelling, serious the concerns are. There’s been a lot of evidence produced by the Mekong River Commission and other scientists, which confirms that the dam should not be built because the impacts will be too great, and there’s still a lot of scientific uncertainty. So for Laos to go forward it really risks increasing regional instability and also harming the river that is already providing so much to many people. The Prime Ministers of Cambodia and Vietnam have expressed their concern over the dam’s trans-boundary impacts to agriculture and fisheries. And the Prime Minister of Vietnam also met with the Prime Minister of Laos in early May, and at that meeting Laos agreed to temporarily suspend the dam. So to move forward on its own right now was a huge surprise to us.

COCHRANE: And so what can the concerned neighbours do? Thailand, Cambodia, our Cambodian listeners will of course be in no doubt about the importance of the Mekong to their fish supplies if nothing else. What can the neighbours do if anything to stop this going ahead?

TRANDEM: Well I think right now they will need to continue to work through the Mekong River Commission, and urge Laos to stop all dam construction. There’s been reports for the last few months that the preparatory work at the dam site has already been underway. And so right now the three other governments must work together and urge Laos to respect their neighbours’ decision and to wait until the inner ministerial meetings takes place in order to decide whether or not this dam should be built.

COCHRANE: And is there a need for more research to be done about the environmental impact of the dam?

TRANDEM: Yes there was a strategic environmental assessment that looked at the cumulative impacts of building the Xayaburi dam along with a cascade of other dams that are planned on the Mekong River main stream in Laos and Cambodia. And this report stated that there’s a lot of scientific uncertainty that still exists, and it recommended that more than 50 studies be done, and that part of this, this is something that’s come out by civil society groups and regional governments over and over its route the prior consultation process that took place, and because of these concerns Laos has agreed that they would carry out a study looking into these trans-boundary impacts of the dam. But to date we haven’t seen anything about the study.

June 27, 2011

Laos pushes ahead with Xayaburi Dam

Call on Laotian people to save our Land:

Help Us Save the Mekong River!

Our River feeds Millions

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

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Written by Chris Sleight – 27 Jun 2011

The government of Laos has given Thai contractor CH Karnchang permission to resume work on the US$ 3.5 billion Xayaburi hydropower project on the Mekong River, despite protests from neighbouring countries.

The dam is the first to be built on the Lower Mekong basin, and there is an agreement in place between countries that share this river – Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam – that any such development would be agreed through their joint body, the Mekong River Commission (MRC). In April Laos agreed to suspend work on Xayaburi in the face of concerns from the three other MRC and environmental groups.

One of the key concerns was that the environmental assessment for the project was inadequate, meaning that the potential impacts of the project had not been understood and explored, and that adequate mitigation measures were not in place.

Environmental group International Rivers says the livelihoods of 60 million people in the low Mekong region are at risk if the dam goes ahead without a proper assessment. Concerns centre around the impact on fish stocks, due to disrupted breeding and migratory patterns, and the impact on agricultural land, which relies on the nutrient-rich silt that is washed downstream by the Mekong.

Following the April meeting, Laos had agreed to suspend work on the project until the four country’s environment ministers could meet to discuss it in October or November this year. However, Laos has commissioned a study into the Procedure for Notification, Prior Consultation and Agreement (PNPCA) process, which found it to be complete, and therefore claims to be within its rights to push ahead with the project, having consulted adequately with the three other members of the MRC. There has been no further study of the environmental impacts of the scheme.


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A River in Peril: Laos Covertly Proceeds with Mekong Dam Construction Despite Neighbors’ Opposition

By Rachel Nuwer

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All is not well along the muddy stretches of the Mekong River. The environmental and human rights group, International Rivers, received a shocker earlier this week when a leaked letter revealed that Laos is steamrolling ahead with plans to build a massive dam across the main branch of the Mekong River. In an “egregious breach of trust” Laos has broken an agreement made with neighboring countries Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam to defer construction until further studies and discussion could take place, according to a statement made by Ame Trandem, a Mekong campaigner at International Rivers.

June 26, 2011

Change Your Life Through Meditation – Intentional Meditation

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“If you feel good, your day gets better. If you feel bad, your day gets worse.”-Abraham Hicks

I’m a very active person and sometimes I want to do two, three of four things at the same time. So it took a lot of effort for me to learn how to meditate. So many things keep coming into my mind at the same time, it is a big challenge to silence my mind and focus on just one thing.

There are a lot of definitions for meditation. I especially like one from “Meditation means awareness.Whatever you do with awareness is meditation. ‘Watching your breath’ is meditation; listening to the birds is meditation. As long as these activities are free from any other distraction to the mind, it is effective meditation.”

Meditate helps you to clear your mind and increase your inner peace. Meditation helps you to be aware of your thoughts. Through meditation we can have a better understanding of our life’s purpose. Meditation helps to raise your positive vibration. Meditation helps you to reduce stress and improves concentration. We can get a lot of benefits if we just meditate for just 10 to 15 minutes every day.

We live in a fast world. It seems like we don’t have time anymore to do things that we want to do. We just do the things we MUST do, but what is the meaning of life if we are not enjoying what we are doing? Maybe you won’t enjoy meditation the first day you try it, but I’m sure you will feel better, more relaxed, and more productive. Meditating doesn’t just help you, it helps the people around you, too, because you are less reactive to things that are happening around you. You become aware of what you are doing with your life and are able to change and enjoy it.

It is very easy to meditate. Find a quite place with fresh air (it could be outside), sit down in a comfortable position, close your eyes and relax. Release any negative emotion or feeling. Follow your breathing. Try to concentrate on just one thing at a time. It could be a candle flame, a rose or anything that brings joy to you. Let your thoughts flow, don’t try to control them. You can listen to soft instrumental music. You can start with just five minutes, increasing the time every week, until you get 15 minutes (or more) every day. Don’t meditate after you eat.

I delayed meditation for a long time. I could have found the time to do it if I wanted, but it seemed too boring for me. Since I began, I’ve found it very helpful. It helps me to be connected with my source (God), to visualize and be clearer in the things I want.

I recently discovered Intentional Meditation, and I find it very interesting, so I’m starting to practice it. Joe Vitale says, “In the Intentional Meditation (IM) method, you are focused on a specific outcome. You ARE thinking, and you are thinking with feeling. An IM is a request to the universe, through your conscious intent, to attract a particular result.”

I found this process just like visualizing the results of what you want to achieve in your life. Intentional Meditation is a little more complete because you are putting together a few techniques to make your dreams come true. You need to:

Write your intention: What do you REALLY want to achieve? Be clear – write all your DESCRIPTIVE positive affirmations about what you want and how you feel with having what you want. Writing a script could help.

Meditate for about 15 to 20 minutes every day:Relax and focus your mind on having what you want to achieve or get.

Add feelings to your intention: Visualize it. Feel all the feelings now. Remember, it is a big difference in confidence when you just wish to have and when you HAVE IT. How do you feel about having that thing? How you act? Who is sharing with you?

Believe that you deserve only good things. The universe is infinite. It has plenty of resources for everybody. You are placing YOUR order with a lot of faith and good feelings. Pay attention to the signals, do the right actions (inspired action) and expect great things. You are the creator of your life and you can create everything you want.

Meditate for about 15 minutes every day and YOUR life will change!

Patricia Anaya, creator of, has a passion for creating projects that help people, especially women and children. “ opens up a lot of possibilities to touch women’s lives and help them to improve self-esteem.” She’s also passionate about offering the very best in content and commentary, humor and high-quality merchandise that supports’s signature motto, Love Yourself! Tell the World, I’m Pretty, Sexy and Smart!

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