Laos: Progress Amid the Potholes

Things are looking up in Laos.

In the streets of Vientiane, flooded after the monsoon rains, endless lines of cars and scooters splash through crowds of small boys swimming in the potholes. Planes land and take off on schedule at the city's busy airport, despite the fact that its six clocks have all stopped. A small factory puffs contentedly away near Luangprabang, distilling opium into heroin. Although only 15% of the population uses money and the country is almost entirely dependent on U.S. aid ($56 million in the past year), business is booming,...

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