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 You are in:   Front Page > Asia Pacific > East Asia Today > In Depth
East Asia Today
Tuesday 26 November, 2002

Laos: open roads, open season?
Laos is an often forgotten corner of South-east Asia. Land-locked, desperately poor - a country which is usually mentioned only with reference to its unwanted distinction of being, per head of population, the most bombed nation on earth. But there are signs that the hitherto reclusive Lao government is seeking to change its image. Major road projects are in progress which will link Laos with southern China, Thailand and Vietnam. In a series of special reports, East Asia Today looks at the incentives and the dangers of the slow process of opening up.

 Road to nowhere?
Laos is selling itself as land-linked rather than land-locked. It wants to be a bridge between the economic powerhouses of southern China and Thailand. But will the roads bring in more than Laos is bargaining for?

 Can Laos keep AIDS at bay?
Laos has been winning the battle against HIV-AIDS, unlike its neighbours. But as the country opens up, its record as one of Asia's AIDS success stories could be at risk.

 Laos enters cyberspace
We report on how Laos is entering the Internet age ... through the unconventional means of pedal-power.

 Embracing modernity
Young people in Laos love boy bands and David Beckham. What do the older generation, who've lived through the rigours of war and isolation, make of it all?

 Healing the wounds of war
We report how Laos and Americans are drinking from the cup of reconciliation ... and why the cup is filled with gourmet coffee.

The Jhai Foundation is a US-Lao reconciliation project which is bringing pedal-powered computer networks to Laos, and helping Lao farmers to market their coffee. If you'd like to know more, visit

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In this section
Changing times in Asia?
Laos: open roads, open season?
Living on the margins: can anyone save East Asia's environment?
East Asia reflects on 9/11
The threat of BSE in Asia
The Uneasy Bear
Tackling AIDS in Northern Thailand
China's forgotten regions
The Human Tide: People on the move in East Asia
WTO challenge to China's industry

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