Archive for April, 2014

April 30, 2014

Clothing the children of Laos

Clothing the children of Laos

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By Daniele Alcinii, Sherwood Park News

Monday, April 28, 2014 2:50:04 MDT PM

Eight-year-old Carson MacMillan stands beside 45 bags of clothing with an estimated 5,600 items at École Père Kenneth Kearns Catholic School. The items will be shipped to Laos in August to clothe orphaned children.(Photo Supplied)

One eight-year-old Sherwood Park product is looking to make a difference in the lives of less fortunate children across a small landlocked country in South East Asia known as the most bombed country on Earth.

Carson MacMillan, a Grade 2 student at École Père Kenneth Kearns Catholic School (EPK), first learned about the less fortunate and bereaved children of Laos when a friend ventured last year to the Third World country during a supply mission to donate clothing to orphanages.

Upon the friend’s return, Carson began learning about the children at these orphanages, many of whom have little to no possessions and one pair of clothing, surviving on one meal of rice and very little protein per day and often sharing one bathtub between 300 kids.

“Carson wanted to go over there and initially go on the mission to distribute the clothes,” said Carson’s father, Scott MacMillan. “At the same time, he wanted to start getting his school involved to see how much clothing and fundraising he could put together for the cause.

“He’s passionate about it, and you can really feel the sense of how proud he is in what he’s trying to do.”

Starting merely two weeks ago and having spoken in front of more than 350 EPK students, Carson has collected and filled 45 boxes of clothing and blankets, or more than 5,600 items, to donate to, an organization aimed at improving the quality of the lives of Lao children while providing hope for a different future.

Accepting clothing donations until the end of July, Carson will throw the EPK classroom that receives the most amount of clothing a pizza party using his own allowance money.

With the help of his parents, Scott and Stacey, Carson has since spoken to six schools throughout the Sherwood Park area in the hopes that each will get on board with the supply mission.

“Five did (say yes), but we’re still waiting on dates. Three are for sure,” Carson said. “I’m looking to fill 300 boxes to fill one sea can (a container with an estimated value of $7,000), with 30,000 items in those boxes.”

While the MacMillans await Bev Facey Community High School to accept and confirm the family’s invitation, Holy Spirit Catholic School and Ardrossan Junior and Senior High will begin their fundraising campaigns in the coming weeks. Additionally, Carson is hoping to do a presentation at Archbishop Jordan Catholic High School during one of its next assemblies, his father said.

“I couldn’t be prouder of the situation,” Scott explained of his son’s charitable efforts. “Carson’s trying to not only develop his leadership, but also learn about the power of giving back, paying it forward and just seeing how fortunate we are here in Sherwood Park and in Canada.”

Scott continued: “Unprovoked, last week halfway through a clothing drive at his school, he literally got up in front of the entire school and said he was very proud of how everybody is doing and thanked them for their support — it’s just cool to see his leadership skills and ability just growing.”

While speaking in front of large gatherings would make most adults nervous, Carson explained that he’s able to remain calm while presenting due to his enthusiasm and passion for his humanitarian efforts.

“I started talking to my friends and realized I liked doing this (presenting). Then my mom and dad the night before, they got me really ready and I was just excited to present in front of EPK,” Carson explained.

Along with his ambitions of filling one sea can with 30,000 items of clothing — shipping in August — Carson and his mother will be travelling to the country of Laos on a nine-day mission to volunteer within these orphanages and help distribute these donations.

“I think it’s going to make them really happy,” Carson stated.

American troops heavily bombed the South East Asian country with an estimated 260 million bombs into Laos during the 19-year Vietnam War when operations crossed international boarders in 1968. Many of these munitions failed to detonate upon impact and remain armed until this day, often maiming and killing hundreds throughout the countryside.

These active cluster bombs with an average life expectancy of 47 years often leave many children orphaned.

Family members then take these children, often with only the clothes on their backs, to orphanages in an effort to obtain food and shelter.

On top of this, it remains one of the poorest nations in the world, ranking 44th, with an average income of $900 per year and Laos’ economy continues to decline each year. The government of Laos contributes only $20 per month per child to the orphanages, leaving many of their basic needs unmet, according to

Clothing and monetary donations to assist orphaned children in Laos can be made through, by dropping items in a donation bin at the MacMillan Business Centre, 104- 150 Chippewa Rd. or at a hotdog and hamburger fundraiser at Salisbury Greenhouse, 52337- Range Rd. 232 in Sherwood Park, on May 31.

“Thank you to everyone who has participated already and who is going to participate,” Carson added.

Daniele Alcinii, Sherwood Park News

April 25, 2014

ADB Approved $21.02 Billion in Financing Operations in 2013



ADB Approved $21.02 Billion in Financing Operations in 2013


April 25, 2014

Laos to borrow $566m this year

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Laos to borrow $566m this year

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Vientiane — Laos will need to borrow an estimated 4.5 trillion kip ($566 million) this fiscal year to address its ballooning budget deficit, a state media report said on Friday.

Over the year to Sept 30, Laos plans to spend 29.7 trillion kip but projects only 25.2 trillion in revenues, forcing it to borrow from foreign and domestic sources, the Vientiane Times reported.

During the first six months of fiscal 2013-14 the government collected only 9.2 trillion kip, significantly lower than forecast, the government mouthpiece said.

“The three major reasons for the large fiscal deficit have been overly optimistic revenue projections, large wage increases and allowances awarded without due regard for their impact on the country’s fiscal and external positions, and development projects financed off budget,” the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said in its latest report on Laos.

The Lao government hiked base wages for the civil service by 37% last year and plans further wage hikes this year, despite problems with making payments, the ADB said.

“A number of government officials, in particular those in the countryside, have received only February’s salary so far this year,” the Vientiane Times said.

Last year, Laos’ fiscal deficit was the equivalent of 5.8 per cent of its gross domestic product, the bank said.

April 25, 2014

Guns, Courts and Dirty Politics Puts Thailand Back on Edge


Guns, Courts and Dirty Politics Puts Thailand Back on Edge

April 24, 2014

Thai Activist Who Opposed Lese Majeste Law Killed


Thai Activist Who Opposed Lese Majeste Law Killed

BANGKOK, April 23, 2014 (AP)

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A pro-government activist who opposed a law punishing critics of Thailand’s monarchy was fatally shot Wednesday in the capital, police said.

The killing came as tensions continue over the political fate of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, whose foes are trying to force her from office to make way for an appointed government to implement reforms.

Police Col. Thanawat Watthanakul said Kamol Duangphasuk was shot by gunmen on a motorcycle in a restaurant parking lot in northern Bangkok. Kamol, a poet also known as Mainueng Kor Khuntee, was a member of the “Red Shirt” political movement which supports Yingluck and her brother, former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

“At this point, we have no idea who the gunmen were or what the motive of the attack could be,” Thanawat said.

Thailand has been plagued by political strife since a 2006 military coup ousted Thaksin from office, after demonstrators accused him of corruption, abuse of power and disrespect for King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Since the coup, Thaksin’s opponents and supporters have contended for power, staging sometimes-violent street demonstrations.

Kamol was a strong opponent of Thailand’s lese majeste law, which provides up to 15 years in prison for anyone who defames the country’s monarchy. A newly formed vigilante group has threatened to hunt down people who oppose the monarchy, describing them as trash.

Kamol’s poetry had a hard political edge, and he advocated that the Red Shirts organize in a military fashion at the local level in order to protect Yingluck’s government. Yingluck faces court rulings that could force her from office, in what her supporters call a “judicial coup.”

The judiciary is seen as part of the Thai establishment, which has long been hostile to Thaksin. Thaksin’s supporters believe the country’s elite felt their privileges threatened by Thaksin’s popularity, especially among rural and underprivileged citizens who benefited from his populist programs.

More than 20 people have been killed and over 700 hurt since November in violence related to current anti-government protests



Kamol’s poetry – บทกวีนิพนธ์ชื่อ “หญ้าแพรกอมตะ” ของ ไม้หนึ่ง ก.กุนที จากหนังสือสถาปนาสถาบันประชาชน สำนักพิมพ์หอนาฬิกา:


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