Travel

Springtime, just before the new century began. As Laos is now the new Cambodia, Vietnam was then the new Thailand, and my girlfriend and I had arrived – with our backpacks – to see what all the fuss was about. The capital Hanoi had dazzled, and we were due to take the train 420 miles down the coast to Hué. We were late, though. We were always late.

THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

With a new wife and baby, Dirty Harry is ready to come clean. In a frank interview, Clint Eastwood talks about his off-screen demons, his battles with former lover Sondra Locke, and his life in politics

People's Army general tackles military details

The head of the largest army on Earth, the two-million strong People's Liberation Army of China, is in Britain today on the first visit of its kind since the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989 soured relations between China and the West.

Sex as a marketing ploy

In a remote town in Vietnam's mist-shrouded Fan Si Pan mountains, a glove and an umbrella send a far more potent signal than Chanel No 5 ever can. Ruth Cowen went in search of the Loving Market

Books: Put that in your pipe and smoke it

OPIUM: A HISTORY by Martin Booth, Simon and Schuster pounds 17.99

A laid-back, sleepy Shangri-La

Laos has a violent past; more bombs have been dropped on it than on any other nation in the history of warfare. But today's travellers will find a peaceful haven, says Juliet Clough

Student travel competition: the results

THE ROUGH GUIDE

Laos takes life one step at a time

VIENTIANE DAYS

British firms to get £800m deals from Laos

The Vice-Premier of Laos, one of the poorest countries in the world, signed an agreement in London on Saturday that its promoters say should lead to at least £800m worth of business for British companies.

Obituary:William Fulbright

James William Fulbright, politician: born 9 April 1905; member, 78th Congress for Third District, Arkansas 1943-45; Senator for Arkansas 1945-74; Chairman, Senate Committee for Foreign Relations 1959-74; counsellor, Horgan & Hartston 1975-95; Honorary KBE 1975; married 1932 Elizabeth Kremer Williams (died 1985; two daughters), 1990 Harriet Mayor; died Washington DC 9 February 1995.

Obituaries:Prince Souphanouvong

Prince Souphanouvong was the first President of the People's Democratic Republic of Laos, from its establishment in December 1975 until March 1991, when he left office. Souphanouvong had been a prominent figure in the Laotian revolutionary movemen t fromthe end of the Pacific war, when through an initial association with the Vietnamese Communist leader, Ho Chi Minh, he sought to mobilise opposition to the return of French colonial rule.

Letter: 'Permanent' is not a word of peace

Sir: It may be helpful in the debate on the difference, if any, between the British government's call for a 'permanent ceasefire' and the IRA's declaration of a 'complete cessation of military operations' to recall the language used in a number of armistice and ceasefire agreements in the past:

Robert Maycock on classical music

It isn't so long ago that the only classical or traditional music of Asia that you could hear at all easily in Britain came from the Indian sub-continent. That has all changed in a cascade of Chinese operas and Japanese drummers and even musicians from Vietnam. But Laos? If you have spent the last few days in Hastings or Morecambe Bay you may be one up on the rest of us, because the tour that has called in on these resorts and reaches the Purcell Room tonight (8.00pm) is claiming to present the first group of Laotian musicians to perform in the UK.

FOOD / Tough exterior yields sweet flesh: Melons may breed like rabbits, but our cookery writer sticks with the old, thoroughbred families of fruit for her summer starter and dessert recipes

In Alexandre Dumas' Grand Dictionnaire de Cuisine, the author includes a special entry for the Provencal town of Cavaillon . . . 'not for its position on the river Durance, nor for its proximity to Avignon, nor for its arc de triomphe, but for its melons'.

Centrefold: In the line of fire: Vietnam photographer recalls life during wartime

You'll probably have heard of Tim Page: he was the Vietnam war photographer crazy enough to work in the battle zones everyone else drew the line at. The photograph on the right was taken in 1966 in Bongson, Central Vietnam, a couple of years short of full-blown warfare - when some 30,000 Korean troops had invaded the country (by 1968 there were 50,000). The image shows a Vietnamese woman trying to distract a Korean soldier from the direction her husband has taken. The picture assumes greater drama, and poignancy, when you hear Page's account of the sequence of events: 'They beat her up anyway, then caught up with her husband, dragged him back and executed him.' Strong stuff - the more so when you remember that Page kept on snapping until the soldiers turned on him too. But hardly surprising when you hear his life story.

Lost worlds rich in unique wildlife: Scientists discover two new species of deer in the remote jungle region between Laos and Vietnam

SCIENTISTS believe they may have discovered two more species of deer in a high and remote jungle region on the border between Laos and Vietnam. This brings the total number of new mammals recently found in the area to four - just one less than the total discovered worldwide this century.
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Independent Travel
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William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

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Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
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Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
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From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

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Bradley Cooper is terrific