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Tae bumped down on the bed frame and it cracked. Startled, he leapt up and uttered a deferential apology to the room. This was no ordinary bed but one belonging to a senior cadre of the Pathet Lao, the Laos communist leadership that had operated from a series of 480 caves deep in the north-east of the country to escape US bombardment between 1964 and 1973.
Vang Pao was a fabled Hmong war veteran who led by example and exuded bravery, fighting a covert CIA-sponsored war against Laos Communist insurgents and Viet Minh in Laos during the Vietnam War. The General, once described as the "biggest hero of the Vietnam War" by the former CIA Director William Colby, went on to become the revered leader of the Hmong exiles in the United States.
This week sees the start of 'Human Planet', a new BBC series focusing on our place in the natural world. As these extracts from the book by Dale Templar and Brian Leith that accompanies the programmes reveal, it's a dramatic – and colourful – story
International delegates meeting in Laos – the most heavily bombed nation on earth as a result of a huge US bombing campaign during the Vietnam war, and where 80 million landmines still cause death and tragedy on a near-daily basis – have agreed on a new plan to help rid the world of cluster munitions. The agreement came as a 10-year-old Laotian girl was killed by a cluster bomb.
Sister hotel to the French colonial FCC Phnom Penh, the Quay Hotel is a 16-room hideaway beside the river. It's minimal and contemporary: think Arne Jacobsen Swan chairs, plasma screen TVs and ergonomic design. The hotel also provides local communities with coal-free cookers and was built using natural and recycled materials: environmentally aware and slick and stylish to boot.
The first confirmed sighting in more than a decade of one of the rarest animals in the world, described as the "Asian unicorn", was revealed today.
Hired and armed by the CIA in the 1960s, the Hmong remain trapped in enemy jungle, forgotten by America and the world
Look for the long queues and order seasonal dishes. Andrew Spooner offers some tips for budget diners
Prime Minister tells boy with refugee parents that he can travel to Japan
Woman convicted of drug trafficking allowed to return because she is pregnant
A pregnant Briton sentenced to life imprisonment in Laos for trafficking heroin flew home Thursday to serve the remainder of her sentence, just weeks before she was due to give birth.
The Brian Viner Interview: She has seen off muggers and slept in an attic full off cockroaches, but the British No 1 knows she will face one of her greatest battles at the All England Championships
A pregnant British woman who faces possible death by firing squad for allegedly smuggling heroin will get a fair trial, officials in Laos insisted today.
Friends believe woman may have been raped in notorious Laos prison
Anne Keothavong broke into the world's top 50 this morning - and then claimed she would have done it years ago were it not for "unprofessional people" at the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA).
This country is enjoying a surge in eco-tourism. Richard Waters reveals why