Laos: The Land of Feeling Good

Capitalist reforms and socialism with a disco beat

Each year during the dry season, small islands and shallows appear in the Mekong River, which forms the border between Thailand and Laos. Normally it is a time for Thais and Laotians to compete in dragon-boat races, attend temple fairs and visit relatives on both sides. This year the ebbing of the great river brought instead an increase in tensions between the two countries. Vietnamese troops stationed in Laos sporadically opened fire on Thai fishermen, causing four deaths. The Thais not only shot back but...

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