Laos

How Vang Vieng in Laos has worked hard to improve its reputation

In the scruffy Laotian town of Vang Vieng, there's only one statistic that matters. It has been more than three years since the last death on the river. From the waitress in the riverside bar, to the government official in his glacially air-conditioned office, the same boast is rolled off the tongue with relish: “Not one death, not a single one.” 

On The Road: Deep underground in the footsteps of revolutionaries

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 Soldier whose leadership of Hmong fighters led to his

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.

Next boss warns of sharp rises in clothes prices

Simon Wolfson, Next's chief executive, has warned that a "speculative bubble" in the cotton market will lead to near-double-digit price rises on clothing next year, as the fashion retailer's underlying sales slipped behind City expectations in its third quarter. Next has previously warned that a surge in cotton prices would cause a 5 to 8 per cent rise in clothing prices in the first quarter, but Lord Wolfson said yesterday that the uplift would be at the top end of the range.

The Big Six: Mekong river retreats

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.

Rare saola dies in captivity

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.

Thailand sends 4,000 Hmong asylum-seekers back to Laos

Thai troops packed more than 4,000 ethnic Hmong into military trucks yesterday for a one-way journey to Laos, all but ending the Hmong's three-decade search for asylum following their alliance with the US during the Vietnam War.

More headlines

Laos probes how jailed Brit became pregnant

Lao authorities are investigating how a 20-year-old British woman accused of heroin smuggling became pregnant in prison, a challenge because the woman has refused to reveal the identity of the father, a government-run newspaper said today.

Pregnant Briton 'will get fair trial'

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.