LAOS: Fire & Water

With all their other troubles, Laotians last week watched rains raise the muddy Mekong River to near flood stage at their capital city of Vientiane. Resourcefully, U.S. Ambassador Winthrop Brown arranged for twelve planes from Bangkok to fly in 10,000 sandbags and fly out 200 American dependents. He thus was prepared for either flood or civil war—or both.

The floods are seasonal, the political troubles getting to be. Fortnight ago a brash young paratroop captain named Kong Le captured Vientiane in a predawn raid with a battalion of troops who were angry at...

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