Timeline Laos

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  Lan Xang, the Land of a Million Elephants, was the old name of Laos. The capital is Vientiane.
 (SFC,12/27/97, p.A15)(SFEC, 3/29/98, p.T4)

500BC-800CE        The bulk of the material at the Plain of Jars in northern Laos dated to this period. Jars up to 9 feet tall were later found to contain tools and human remains.
    (AM, 7/05, p.31)

c0AD        Stone jars at the Plain of Jars that measured on average 10-feet high and 9-feet wide are believed to be 2,000 years old and to have been used for burials. Only 300 jars are intact due to the bombing during the 1960s Vietnam War.
    (AM, Mar/Apr 97 p.E)

200-300AD    Evidence has indicated the presence of a Hindu Shrine at Wat Phu with prehistoric levels below.
    (AM, Mar/Apr 97 p.F)

500-600AD    A local legend describes a military celebration for which the stone jars of the Plain of Jars were created to ferment and store alcohol.
    (AM, Mar/Apr 97 p.E)

c800-1200    Wat Phu (mountain temple) in southern Laos was a religious complex dedicated to Siva and patronized by the Khmer of Cambodia.
    (AM, Mar/Apr 97 p.A)

889-1324    The Khmer Empire‘s dominions roughly correspond to present-day Laos and Cambodia and reached its height during the Angkor period (889-1434 AD). The kingdom flourished from the 6th to 15th centuries AD and then declined with invasions from neighboring Thailand.
    (HNQ, 8/7/00)

1000-1100    Wat Phu was last renovated by King Suryavarnam I.
    (AM, Mar/Apr 97 p.F)

1353         King Fangum is believed to have established the Kingdom of Lan Xang (Million Elephants), the forerunner of the modern Laos state that was abolished during the communist revolution of 1975.
    (AP, 1/6/03)   

1353        Luang Prabang was founded. It was the royal capital of the kingdom of Laos and a center of Laotian Buddhism and court arts.
    (AM, Mar/Apr 97 p.E)

1641        Gerritt van Wuysthoff, a Dutchman, struggled up the Mekong River through Cambodia and reached Vientiane, Laos.
    (Econ, 1/3/04, p.29)

1828        Siamese [Thailand] forces invaded Laos. Vat Sisaket, a temple in Vientiane, survived the invasion.
    (SFEC, 8/28/98, p.T4)

1893        French colonialists seized control of Laos and tried to turn the Mekong River into a thoroughfare linking their Indochina colonies.
    (Econ, 1/3/04, p.29)

1920s    Music played on the khaen, a giant mouth organ containing 16 reed pipes was recorded. It is part of the assembled music of the CD series "The Secret Museum of Mankind - Ethnic Music Classics: 1925-1948," by Pat Conte on the Yazoo label.
    (NH, 6/97, p.66)

1941        Aug, The US placed an embargo on oil shipments to Japan in response to Japan’s occupation of French Indochina (later Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam).
    (Econ, 12/6/14, p.24)

1945        At the end of World War II Thailand was compelled to return territory it had seized from Laos, Cambodia and Malaya. The exiled King Ananda returned.

1950        Dec 30, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia became independent states in a French Union.
    (MC, 12/30/01)

1953        Apr 14, Viet Minh invaded Laos with 40,000 troops.
    (HN, 4/14/98)

1953        Apr 28, French troops evacuated northern Laos.
    (HN, 4/28/98)

1953        Oct 22, Laos gained full independence from France. [see Oct 23]
    (MC, 10/22/01)

1953        Oct 23, France granted sovereignty to Laos. [see Oct 22]
    (MC, 10/23/01)

1954        Sep 8, SEATO (Southeast Asia Treaty Organization), a sister organization to NATO, was created under the Manila Pact by the Southeast Asia Collective Defense Treaty, to stop communist spread in Southeast Asia (Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos). The United States, Australia, France, Great Britain, New Zealand, the Philippines, Pakistan, and Thailand signed the mutual defense treaty. SEATO dissolved in 1977.
    (HNQ, 4/2/01)(http://tinyurl.com/hpawj)

1957        May 29, Laos Government of prince Suvanna Phuma resigned.
    (SC, 5/29/02)

1957        Aug 25, Prince Suvanna Phuma formed a government in LAOS with the Pathet Lao.
    (MC, 8/25/02)

1960        Dec 9, The Laos government fled to Cambodia as the capital city of Vientiane was engulfed in war.
    (HN, 12/9/98)

1960        Dec 18, A rightist government was installed under Prince Boun Oum in Laos as U.S. resumed arms shipments.
    (HN, 12/18/98)

1961        Mar 17, The U.S. increased military aid and technicians to Laos.
    (HN, 3/17/98)

1961        Mar 26, John F. Kennedy met with British Premier Macmillan, in Washington to discuss increased Communist involvement in Laos.
    (HN, 3/25/98)

1961        The US CIA began enlisting mountain tribes as guerrillas during the Vietnam War.
    (SFC,12/27/97, p.A15)

1961-1973    The CIA backed a secret army in Laos to help fight the communist Pathet Lao and North Vietnamese. An estimated 50,000 Hmong civilians died over this period. CIA director William Colby acknowledged the US and Hmong alliance in 1994.
    (SFC, 6/14/04, p.A1)

1962        Jan 12, The United States resumed aid to the Laotian regime.
    (HN, 1/12/99)

1962        May 6, Pathet Lao broke cease fire and conquered Nam Tha Laos.
    (MC, 5/6/02)

1962        May 15, US marines "arrived" in Laos.
    (MC, 5/15/02)

1962        Jul 23, The Geneva Conference on Laos forbade the United States to invade eastern Laos, site of the Ho Chi Minh Trail.
    (HN, 7/23/98)

1963-1974    Dr. Charles Weldon served in Laos as the chief medical officer for USAID. In 1999 Weldon authored "Tragedy in Paradise: A Country doctor at War in Laos."
    (SFC, 11/30/02, p.A23)

1964        Apr 19, There was a rightist coup in Laos. Suvanna Phuma remained premier.
    (MC, 4/19/02)

1964-1973    US warplanes carried out 580,000 bombing missions over Laos and dropped an estimated 2.3 million tons of bombs. In the years that followed over 200 people per year died from bombs that had initially failed to explode. In 2001 filmmaker Jack Silverman produced "Bombies," a documentary on the effect of cluster bombs on civilians [see 1973-1997].
    (SFEC,11/2/97, p.A22)(SSFC, 3/30/03, p.D1)(AM, 7/05, p.31)

1965        Jan 13, Two US planes were shot down in Laos while on a combat mission.
    (HN, 1/13/99)

1965        May 11, The US 10th fighter Bomber F105D was shot down at Xien Khouong, Laos.
    (SSFC, 11/9/03, p.D6)

1965        Dec, A US C-123 aircraft, the workhorses of the American herbicide campaign, crossed the Lao border for the first time. Within a week, the first wave of B-52s hit the Ho Chi Minh Trail. The details of these air operations in Laos remained largely unknown until 1997.
    (AP, 3/16/21)   

1966        Feb 1, US pilot Dieter Dengler (1939-2001) was shot down in his A-1 Skyraider over Laos. He managed to organize 6 American and Thai prisoners and escaped his captors in July. In 2007 a German documentary by Werner Herzog, “Little Dieter Needs To Fly," was expanded into a full film. In 2010 Bruce Henderson authored “Hero Found: The Greatest POW Escape of the Vietnam War."
    (SFC, 7/30/10, p.F2)

1967        Feb 23, American troops began the largest offensive of the war, near the Cambodian border. In order to deny the Vietcong cover, and allow men to see through the dense vegetation, herbicides were dumped on the forests near the South Vietnamese borders as well as Cambodia and Laos.
    (HN, 2/23/98)

1968        Jan 13, The U.S. reported shifting most air targets from North Vietnam to Laos.
    (HN, 1/13/99)

1968        Mar 10-1968 Mar 11, The ultra secret facility Lima Site 85 in Phou Phathi, Laos, was manned by USAF personnel and 11 were KIA or MIA as it was overran. The event has been characterized as the largest single day ground loss for the USAF.

1968        King Savanna Vatthana honored Dr. Charles Weldon (d.2002 at 82) for his work among the Hmong people: "Chevalier in the Order of the Million Elephants and the White parasol."
    (SFC, 11/30/02, p.A23)

1970        Mar 8, The Nixon administration disclosed the deaths of 27 Americans in Laos.
    (HN, 3/8/98)

1970        Jul 24, Capt. Donald Bloodworth and his pilot were lost on a night reconnaissance mission in a F-4D fighter-bomber. Bloodworth’s remains were returned to the US in 1998.
    (SFEC, 2/1/98, p.A14)

1970        Sep 11, In Laos the US Operation Tailwind began with the objectives of reconnaissance, intelligence collection, and a diversion for a larger operation to the north. In 1998 it was reported that the secret raid called Operation Tailwind by a Special Forces unit called the Studies and Observations Group (SOG) used the nerve gas sarin in Laos to kill American armed service members who had defected. A report in 1998 allegedly confirmed that over 100 people were killed including up to 20 American military defectors. Adm. Thomas Moorer (1912-2004), the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the time (1970-1974), confirmed in 1998 that nerve gas was used. CNN and Time magazine later recanted the story due to insufficient evidence.
    (www.scarface-usmc.org/tailwind.htm)(SFC, 6/8/98, p.A3)(WSJ, 6/26/98, p.W13)(SFC, 7/3/98, p.A1)(SFC, 2/7/04, p.A21)

1970        In Laos the introduction of Soviet-made long-range 130mm artillery pieces onto the battlefield allowed the Pathet Lao and North Vietnamese to neutralize to some extent the Royal Lao Army's advantage of air superiority.

1971        Feb 8, South Vietnamese ground forces, backed by American air power, began Operation Lam Son 719, a 17,000 man incursion into Laos that ended three weeks later in a disaster.

1971        Feb 10, Larry Burrows (b.1926), English war photographer, was killed over Laos. Combat photographers Henri Huet of AP, Kent Potter of UPI, Larry Burrows (b.1926) of Life Magazine and Keisaburo Shimamato of Newsweek were killed in a helicopter crash over Laos. In 2003 Richard Pyle and Horst Faas authored "Lost Over Laos: A True Story of Tragedy, Mystery and Friendship."
    (WSJ, 5/22/98, p.W12)(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larry_Burrows)(SSFC, 3/23/03, p.M5)

1971        Mar 18, U.S. helicopters airlifted 1,000 South Vietnamese soldiers out of Laos.
    (HN, 3/18/98)

1971        Mar 21, In Laos South Vietnamese Marines at FSB Delta, south of Route 9, came under intense ground and artillery attacks. During an attempted extraction of the force, seven helicopters were shot down and another 50 were damaged, ending the evacuation attempt.

1971        Dec 18, North Vietnamese troops captured the Plain of Jars in Laos. Throughout the Vietnam War, the Plain of Jars was a contested area between Lao tribesmen and Vietnam's communist allies, the Pathet Lao. The area was long controlled by the Pathet Lao and a continual effort had been made by the secret CIA-directed force of some 30,000 indigenous tribesmen to strengthen anti-communist strongholds there. The US committed hundreds of millions of dollars to the war effort in Laos. Details of this secret operation were not released until August 1971.
    (WUD, 1994, p. 1688)(www.arlingtoncemetery.net/aircrew-04191971.htm)

1972        Fred Branfman (1942-2014) authored “Voices from the Plain of Jars" in which he exposed details of America’s secret war in Laos going back to 1964.
    (Econ, 10/18/14, p.94)

1973-1975    Alan Davidson served as the British ambassador to Laos.
    (WSJ, 11/12/99, p.W13)
1973-1997    Some 11,000 Laotians were killed or wounded during this period by left over American bombs.
    (SFEC,11/2/97, p.A19)

1974        Jun 3, The last Air America aircraft crossed the border from Laos into Thailand. American forces left Laos and abandoned some 36,000 Laotians hired to battle North Vietnamese troops. The Hmong and Iu Mien were 2 hill tribes hired by the Americans to break codes and rescue downed pilots. Many of the soldiers fled to Thailand where they lived in refugee camps. Some 35,000 Iu Mien later moved to the US.
    (SFC,12/27/97, p.A15)(SFEC, 1/24/99, p.A8)(http://tinyurl.com/3mzgcy)

1974        Sep 5, Charles Dean (23), brother of 2004 presidential candidate Howard Dean, was captured by Pathet Lao. He was executed on or about December 14, 1974. In 2003 his remains were reported found along with Australian companion Neil Sharman.
    (SFC, 11/19/03, p.A3)(www.crocuta.net/Dean/Charlie_Dean.htm)

1975        Mar 27, In Laos Communist Pathet Lao launched an attack against Hmong defenders.

1975        Aug 23, In Laos Communists took over the administration of Vientiane city.

1975        Dec 3, King Savang Vatthana of Laos abdicated his throne and the communist Lao People's Democratic Republic (LPDR) was established. The Lao People’s Revolutionary Party (LPRP) had seized power with backing from Vietnam.
    (www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/2770.htm)(Econ, 7/23/16, p.33)

1975        About a third of the Hmong people fled Laos.
    (SFC, 6/14/04, p.A8)

1975-1980    A third of the Hmong people were killed during this period after the US withdrew from Laos.
    {Laos, USA}
    (SFC, 6/9/96, DB p.2)

1975-1986    Souphanouvong (d.1995), a member of the royal family, served as president.
    (SFC, 11/10/00, p.D6)

1978         Jan 3, Vietnamese troops were reported to be occupying 400 square miles in Cambodia. North Vietnamese Army (NVA) troops were using Laos and Cambodia as staging areas for attacks against allied forces.
    (HN, 1/3/02)

1980        Mar 11, In Laos US Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Richard L. "Dick" Etchberger (35) used an M-16 and a radio to call in air strikes and single-handedly held off the attackers until helicopters arrived at Lima site 85. After climbing into the chopper behind the others, Etchberger was fatally wounded when enemy fire struck the aircraft. The others in the helicopter made it to safety. In 2010 President Barack Obama posthumously recognized Etchberger for service "beyond the call of duty" by giving him the nation's highest military award, the Medal of Honor.
    (AP, 9/22/10)

1982        Jan 24, A draft of Air Force history reported that the U.S. secretly sprayed herbicides on Laos during the Vietnam War.
    (HN, 1/24/99)

1989        Laos opened to foreign tourists for the first time since 1975.
    (SFEC, 3/29/98, p.T4)

1992        The US restored diplomatic ties with Laos.
1992        The Asian Development Bank began building and improving transport and telecom links between China, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.
    (Econ, 11/8/03, p.42)
1992        The Greater Mekong Subregion was created grouping 5 South-East Asian countries (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam) and 2 Chinese provinces.
    (Econ, 2/6/10, p.48)(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greater_Mekong_Subregion)

1994        The lower Mekong River was spanned for the first time with a bridge between Nong Khai, Thailand and Vientiane, Laos.
    (SFC, 5/14/97, p.A22)(Econ, 1/3/04, p.29)

1994        Laos signed a bilateral Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation with Vietnam.
    (AFP, 10/10/06)

1995        Apr 5, The Mekong Agreement created the Mekong River Commission with Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam as members.
    (Econ, 1/7/12, p.34)(www.kellnielsen.dk/mekong/agreem.htm)

1996        Khamsay Souphanouvong was dropped from the Communist Party’s 49-member central committee.
    (SFC, 11/10/00, p.D6)

1996        The town of Luang Prabang with its dozens of temples was declared a World Heritage Site.
    (SFEC, 3/29/98, p.T5)

1997        Mar 10, The first Laos Int’l. Juggling Festival was held in Vientiane before a crowd of 40,000 as part of the annual That Luang Festival.
    (WSJ, 3/11/97, p.A20)

1997        May 31, The 7-member ASEAN alliance, Association of Southeast Asian Nations, met in Kuala Lumpur and agreed to allow Burma to become a member in July. Laos and Cambodia were also admitted. The members were Thailand, Singapore, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and Vietnam.
    (SFEC, 6/1/97, p.D3)

1997        Jul 23, The ASEAN trade bloc admitted Laos and Burma but barred Cambodia.
    (SFC, 7/24/97, p.A12)

1997        Aug 12, It was reported that Laos was promoting the development of the $1.44 billion Nam Theun Two Dam. It would alter 2 major tributaries of the Mekong River and flood an area the size of Singapore. The World Bank contributed $130 million to the project, which was expected to begin generating power in 2009. Environmentalists feared severe impact to the Nakai Plateau and some 120,000 people downstream as one river dries up and another swells.
    (WSJ, 8/12/97, p.A1)(SFC, 12/17/07, p.A15)

1997        Dec 27, The kip plunged to about half its value since July when the Thai baht was devalued.
    (SFC,12/27/97, p.A15)

1997        Per capita income was $400.
    (SFC, 6/27/00, p.A16)

1999        Apr 19, Michael Vang of Fresno, Ca., and Houa Ly of Appleton, Wi., crossed the Mekong River from Thailand to Laos and have not been seen since.
    (SFC, 8/5/00, p.C1)

1999        The US estimated that Laos cultivated 154 tons of opium poppy this year.
    (SFC, 6/27/00, p.A16)

2000        Jan, Charlie Vang (45), a Hmong of Minneapolis, disappeared after attempting to cross the Mekong River into Laos.
    (SFC, 8/5/00, p.C1)

2000        Mar 30, The Thankyou Very Much restaurant was bombed in Vientiane and 13 people were injured.
    (SFEC, 4/9/00, p.T15)

2000        Apr 4, It was reported that the Hmong population in Minnesota reached an estimated 60,000, the largest concentration of Hmong outside Southeast Asia.
    (WSJ, 4/4/00, p.B1)

2000        Jul, Some 60 Laotians launched an ill-fated attack at the Chong Mek border post and hoisted the royal flag in hopes of a popular uprising.
    (SFC, 12/27/00, p.C4)

2000        Nov 9, A homemade bomb exploded in Vientiane and at least 3 people were injured. Recent bombings and the defection of former finance minister Khamsay Souphanouvong indicated cracks in the communist regime.
    (SFC, 11/10/00, p.D6)

2001        Mar 27, Bounnyang Vorachit, the finance minister, was named prime minister as part of a Cabinet shuffle endorsed by parliament.
    (SFC, 3/28/01, p.D4)

2002        Aug 30, Floodwaters along the lower stretches of the Mekong have wreaked havoc in Laos, Cambodia (18), Thailand (12) and Vietnam (25), claiming at least 55 lives and leaving thousands homeless across the region.
    (AP, 8/30/02)

2003         Jan 5, The Laos government declared this day a national holiday in honor of King Fangum, "the father of Lao unity" and the 650th anniversary of the founding of Lan Xang in1353.
    (AP, 1/6/03)

2003        Feb 6, In northern Laos 10 people died in an attack on a main highway.
    (AP, 6/27/03)

2003        Apr 20, In northern Laos gunmen opened fire at a bus, killing at least 12 people and injuring 30 others, in an attack officials with the communist government blamed on Hmong rebels.
    (AP, 4/21/03)

2003        Jun 4, In Laos 2 European journalists and an American were arrested on murder charges. Belgian photojournalist Thierry Falise and French cameraman Vincent Reynaud were arrested with an American of Hmong origin for allegedly helping "bandits" kill a security official in the remote northeastern village of Khai.
    (AP, 6/11/03)

2003        Jun 7, In northern Laos suspected insurgents ambushed a bus, killing six people and wounding 10.
    (AP, 6/27/03)

2003        Jun 30, A Laotian court sentenced two European journalists and an American pastor to 15 years in jail for the slaying of a village security official. They were released Jul 9.
    (AP, 6/30/03)(AP, 7/9/03)

2003        Oct 16, Laos and Thailand signed a pact aimed at stamping out border attacks by unknown militants.
    (ST, 10/17/03, p.A13)

2003        The Laotian government promised the United Nations Drug Control Program  (UNDCP) to eliminate opium poppy cultivation by 2006.
    (SFC, 6/27/00, p.A12)(Econ, 5/1/04, p.44)
2003        The Lao government signed a 30-year agreement with a Hong Kong-registered company to set up a 1,640-hectare special economic zone built with expertise from China. The population of the Golden City in Boten peaked at 10,000, but dwindled to 2,000 in 2011 after China’s foreign ministry warned citizens not to gamble there.
    (Econ, 5/28/11, p.46)

2004        Jun 14, It was reported that Hmong commanders in Laos acknowledged 21 rebel groups with about 17,000 fighters and family members.
    (SFC, 6/14/04, p.A8)

2004        Sep 16, It was reported that mining companies had begun investing into gold and copper operations along the Ho Chi Minh Trail.
    (WSJ, 9/16/04, p.C1)

2004        Nov 29, The annual ASEAN summit opened in Vientiane, Laos.
    (Econ, 11/27/04, p.43)(Econ, 12/4/04, p.42)

2004        Dec 3, US Pres. George W. Bush signed a law extending normal trade relations to Laos.
    (AFP, 12/8/04)

2005        Mar 31, The World Bank approved financing support for the controversial $1.2 billion Nam Theun 2 dam in Laos.
    (WSJ, 4/1/05, p.A8)

2005        Jun 4, In Laos after decades on the run, 170 women, children and old men of the Hmong ethnic minority, once part of a U.S.-backed secret army fighting communists, emerged from their jungle hideouts to surrender to the government.
    (AP, 6/4/05)

2005        Jun 18, The beheaded bodies of a Laotian couple were found in southern Thailand over the weekend and were believed to be the latest victims of Muslim separatist violence.
    (AP, 6/19/05)

2005        Jul 5, Thousands of poor ethnic Hmong refugees from Laos were living without shelter in northern Thailand, forced from their homes under a Thai campaign to pressure them to return to their native land. Landlords said the government had set a July 4 deadline for them to evict the some 6,500 refugees from their bamboo shelters.
    (AP, 7/6/05)

2005        Jul 29, The ASEAN summit concluded in Vientiane, Laos. Australia agreed to sign a non-aggression pact with the group in exchange for an invitation to another summit, where ASEAN hopes to start work on an East Asian free-trade area.
    (Econ, 7/30/05, p.39)

2005        Oct 28, It was reported that the poppy crop in Laos has been reduced 73% over the last 5 years and that the number of opium addicts has shrunk from 63,000 in 1998 to 21,000. The UN drug office said yaaba, an amphetamine produced in illegal factories in Burma, was becoming the drug of choice for young people.
    (SFC, 10/28/05, p.A11)

2006        Jan 18, An American couple claiming to be of Lao royal descent were shot dead in northeastern Thailand. Anouwong Sethathirath IV (49) and Oulayvanh Sethathirath (38) were killed at a Buddhist monastery in Nong Khai. The next day Thai police said they might have been targeted by Laos' government on suspicions that they were working against the communist regime.
    (AP, 1/19/06)

2006        Apr 6, An attack in Laos killed 26 Hmong civilians, mainly unarmed women and children. In June the US called on communist-ruled Laos to investigate the murder of the Hmong civilians amid allegations that Lao military forces had killed the group.
    (AFP, 6/2/06)

2006        Apr 30, Laotians voted for a new parliament in a largely symbolic exercise since all the candidates belonged to the communist party. But in an effort to bring in fresh faces, only about a quarter were incumbents.
    (AP, 4/30/06)

2006        Jul 28, The Laos government and UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said an outbreak of the H5N1 strain of bird flu has killed more than 2,000 chicken on a poultry farm. The Xaythani district farm found 155 dead chickens on July 14, and about 2,000 dead birds the following day.
    (AFP, 7/28/06)

2006        Oct 10, Vietnam's communist party chief Nong Duc Manh arrived in Laos at the start of a four-day visit in a country where Vietnam still exerts considerable influence.
    (AFP, 10/10/06)

2006        Oct 14, Thailand's military-installed premier Surayud Chulanont visited Vientiane on the first stop of a weekend tour aimed at reassuring neighbors Laos and Cambodia that Bangkok won't pull any more surprises.
    (AFP, 10/14/06)

2006        Nov 10, Asian nations reached their first international agreement to implement what has been dubbed the "Iron Silk Road." Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Laos, Russia, South Korea, Turkey and seven other nations agreed to meet at least every two years to identify vital rail routes, coordinate standards and financing and plan upgrades and expansions, among other measures. The UN first conceived the Trans-Asian Railway Network in 1960.
    (AP, 11/10/06)

2006        Dec 13, In Laos more than 400 members of the Hmong hill tribe minority, on the run for decades from the communist government, surrendered to the authorities there.
    (AP, 12/13/06)
2006        Dec 13, Two Laotian-American men were shot to death at a bus station in northeastern Thailand after returning from a trip to Laos. Thai police said they suspect a political connection to the killings.
    (AP, 12/14/06)

2007        Mar 16, Laos confirmed its second human death from bird flu, a woman who died earlier this month, after results from a lab used by the World Health Organization (WHO).
    (AP, 3/16/07)

2007        May 16, Japanese officials said the landlocked nation of Laos has agreed to join the International Whaling Commission at Japan's request and is highly likely to support Tokyo's high-profile pro-whaling campaign.
    (AP, 5/16/07)

2007        Jun 4, In California 9 Hmong leaders, Gen. Vang Pao, a former Laotian military general, and Harrison Jack, a former officer in the California National Guard, were arrested during a sweep by more than 200 federal, state and local agents for their alleged plot, hatched last winter, to overthrow the communist government of Laos. They were charged with violating the US federal Neutrality Act. In 2009 federal prosecutors in Sacramento, Ca., dismissed charges against Vang Pao.
    (AP, 6/5/07)(SFC, 5/12/09, p.A5)(SFC, 9/19/09, p.A1)

2007        Jun 9, The Philippines and Laos, during a visit of Laotian PM Bouasone Bouphavanh, signed an agreement hoping to boost the minuscule trade between them and encourage their first investment links.
    (AFP, 6/9/07)
2007        Jun 9, Thailand deported 163 ethnic Hmong asylum-seekers to Laos who authorities said had entered the country illegally in recent years trying to reach a large refugee camp.
    (AP, 6/9/07)

2007        Aug 6, PM Surayud Chulanont said Thailand will return some 8,000 ethnic Hmong refugees to Laos despite their claims that they face persecution in their homeland.
    (AP, 8/6/07)

2007        Transparency Int’l. ranked Laos, population around 6 million, as one of the most corrupt countries in the world ranking it 168 out of 179 surveyed nations, with No. 1 being the least corrupt.
    (SFC, 12/17/07, p.A15)

2008        Aug, Samantha Orobator (20), a British citizen, was arrested in Laos and charged with trying to smuggle 1.5 pounds (680 grams) of heroin in her luggage. In 2009 a government spokesman said she will not face the death penalty because the law bans executing expectant convicts.
    (AP, 5/5/09)

2009        Jun 3, A court in Laos found Samantha Orobator (20), a pregnant British woman, guilty of trafficking heroin and sentenced her to life in prison. Under a pact signed last month by Laos and Britain that still needs ratification, Orobator could be extradited to serve her time in Britain. On Aug 6 Orobator returned to Britain to serve the remainder of her sentence, just weeks before she was due to give birth.
    (AP, 6/3/09)(AP, 8/6/09)

2009        Jun 18, A study by an environmental group said pollution in the Mekong River is putting the rare Irrawaddy dolphin in danger of disappearing from Cambodia and Laos.
    (AP, 6/18/09)

2009        Sep 25, An environmental group said a gecko with leopard-like spots on its body and a fanged frog that eats birds are among 163 new species discovered last year in the Mekong River region of Southeast Asia, which included Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.
    (AP, 9/25/09)

2009        Nov 6, Japan pledged $5.5 billion in aid over 3 years for Southeast Asia's 5 Mekong River nations (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam), seeking to deepen ties with the region amid growing influence from China.
    (AFP, 11/6/09)

2009        Dec 27, Human rights groups warned that the Thai government's planned expulsion of 4,000 ethnic Hmong to Laos could turn violent.
    (AP, 12/27/09)

2009        Dec 28, Thailand sent army troops with shields and batons to evict more than 4,000 ethnic Hmong asylum-seekers and send them back to Laos despite strong objections from the US and rights groups who fear they will face persecution.
    (AP, 12/28/09)

2010        Jan 1, A free-trade agreement between China and the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN) came into effect. The 6 richest members scrapped tariffs on 90% of goods. The 4 poorest (Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar) will not need to cut tariffs to the same level until 2015.
    (SSFC, 1/3/10, p.A4)(Econ, 1/9/10, p.44)

2010        Mar 3, In Laos senior officials from Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam met in Luang Prabang to discuss the Mekong River. The Mekong River Commission in a draft report said severe drought has dropped the river to its lowest level in nearly 20 years, halting some cargo traffic and boat tours on the waterway, the lifeblood for 65 million people in six countries.
    (AP, 3/3/10)

2010        Mar 12, It was reported that over 10% of the Buddha statues in Luang Prabang, Laos, had gone missing. Authorities suspected theft rings had stolen some 120 for resale.
    (SFC, 3/12/10, p.A2)

2010        Mar 25, China agreed to share water level data at 2 dams to ease pressure from nations downstream, including Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.
    (SFC, 4/6/10, p.A3)

2010        Mar, The Laotian government arrested an Uighur family: Memet Eli Rozi, his wife Gulbahar Sadiq, and their five children. They were later deported back to China.
    (AP, 12/28/10)

2010        Nov 21, A global tiger summit meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia, approved a wide-ranging program with the goal of doubling the world's tiger population in the wild by 2022 backed by governments of the 13 countries that still have tiger populations: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand, Vietnam and Russia. Experts said wild tigers could become extinct in 12 years if countries where they still roam fail to take quick action to protect their habitats and step up the fight against poaching.
    (AP, 11/21/10)

2010        Dec, Laos said China would build a $7.2 billion high-speed railway from the border to its capital, Vientiane. Construction was due to begin in April, 2011. The 262-mile railway was expected to take fie years just to lay the tracks.
    (Econ, 1/22/11, p.49)(Econ, 10/26/13, p.49)

2011        Jan 7, Former Laotian general Vang Pao (81), died in a Californian hospital. He once commanded a CIA-backed "secret army" of Hmong guerrillas during the Vietnam War. He fled to the United States in 1975 after communists ousted Laos' royal rulers, and was credited with helping negotiate the resettlement in America of tens of thousands of fellow Hmong. In 2007 Vang Pao was arrested in California along with eight others on conspiracy charges after authorities allegedly "interrupted a plot to overthrow the government of Laos by force and violence" according to the justice department. The charges were dropped in 2009.
    (AFP, 1/7/11)

2011        Jan 11, Laos opened its first stock exchange.
    (Econ, 1/15/11, p.46)

2011        Apr 19, Laos announced that it would defer a decision on erecting the $3.5 billion Xayaburi dam, the first dam on the lower Mekong River in the face of opposition from neighboring countries. In Dec the Mekong River Commission (Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam) members called for further studies.
    (SFC, 4/20/11, p.A2)(Econ, 1/7/12, p.34)

2011        Apr 30, Laos held legislative elections that are expected to sweep in a younger generation of lawmakers but preserve the political status quo. 190 candidates contested 132 seats in the National Assembly.
    (AP, 4/30/11)(SSFC, 5/1/11, p.A6)

2011        Oct 31, China, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand signed a regional security agreement pledging to share intelligence and to engage in joint patrols along a stretch of the Mekong between China and the Golden Triangle.
    (Econ, 11/19/11, p.45)

2012        Mar 21, Laos said it is ending gambling in the former casino enclave of Boten on the Chinese border because of worries about crime. The decision will not affect another casino in the Golden Triangle Special Economic Zone, which is on the border between Laos, Myanmar and Thailand.
    (AFP, 3/21/12)

2012        Mar 15, CH. Karchang, a Thailand construction giant, officially began work on the $3.5 billion dam at Xayaburi in northern Laos. A December agreement by the Mekong River Commission had called for further study on the environmental impacts of the dam.
    (Econ, 5/5/12, p.43)(Econ, 9/7/13, p.40)

2012        Aug, Laos won approval to joing the World Trade Organization (WTO).
    (Econ, 11/10/12, p.71)

2012        Dec 15, Laos social activist Sombath Somphone (60) disappeared in Vientiane. A colleague later said that police had taken Somphone into custody.
    (SFC, 12/19/12, p.A3)(Econ, 7/23/16, p.32)

2013        May 9, Nine young defectors from North Korea, ages 15-23,  entered Laos through China. The alleged orphans were caught by Laotian authorities on May 16 and soon returned to North Korea. On May 31 the UN human rights chief criticized China and Laos for their actions.
    (SFC, 6/1/13, p.A2)

2013        Aug 28, UN officials said flash floods and heavy monsoon rains have battered Laos, killing at least 20 people, washing away roads and damaging crops.
    (Reuters, 8/28/13)

2013        Oct 16, A Lao Airlines flight from Vientiane to Pakse in southern Laos crashed and killed all 49 aboard.
    (AP, 10/16/13)(AP, 10/17/13)

2013        A third of Laos was still contaminated by unexploded American ordnance dating from the Vietnam war.
    (Econ, 10/26/13, p.50)
2013        The American government offered $1 million for information that would help dismantle a wildlife trafficking network, which it believed was headed by Vixay Keosavang, a former soldier in the Lao People’s Army. Keosavang operated from a walled compound in the Laos province of Bolikhamxay.
    (Econ, 4/16/15, p.49)

2014        May 17, In Laos a plane carrying senior Lao government officials crashed in the Pek district of Xiangkhoung province, killing the defense minister and at least four other people.
    (AP, 5/17/14)

2014        Jun 13, Thailand deported Moua Toua Ter, a former ethnic Hmong resistance leader, to Laos after being held in Bangkok since March last year. He had been sheltering in Thailand for eight years while seeking resettlement in a third country.
    (AP, 7/2/14)

2014        Dec 20, State media reported that China has offered more than $3 billion in loans and aid to neighbors Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Thailand and Laos to improve infrastructure and production, and to fight poverty.
    (Reuters, 12/20/14)

2015        Jul 27, In Laos a Soviet-made Mi-7 Lao military helicopter missing with 23 people on board. Search teams located the crash site on July 29.
    (AP, 7/29/15)

2015        Nov 11, The Mekong-Lancang Cooperation forum (China, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam) was created by China to promote sustainable development and boost the quality of life for the millions of people living in the Mekong subregion. The forum was seen as a rival to the Mekong River Commission, formed in 1995, but excludes China and Myanmar.
    (http://tinyurl.com/y88vgs57)(AP, 1/10/18)

2015        Nov 22, In Malaysia ASEAN nations (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam) established a formal community that attempts to create freer movement of trade and capital in an area of 625 million people with a combined economic output of $2.6 trillion.
    (Reuters, 11/22/15)

2016        Jan 25, Laos PM Thongsing Thammavong assured US Secretary of State John Kerry that this small nation will help counter China's assertiveness in the South China Sea.
    (AP, 1/25/16)

2016        Feb 27, Meeting in Laos foreign ministers from the 10 countries of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) said that they were "seriously concerned" by recent developments in the disputed South China Sea region and will seek a meeting over the issue with China.
    (AP, 2/27/16)

2016        Feb 29, In Laos unknown suspects described as militants opened fire on a temporary work space being used by a Chinese company in the northern province of Luang Prabang. One Chinese citizen was killed and three injured in a shooting.
    (AP, 3/2/16)

2016        Mar 4, The World Health Organization said Laos has joined 41 countries in reporting a local transmission of Zika virus, as fears mounted over the mosquito-borne illness that has been linked to birth defects.
    (AFP, 3/4/16)

2016        Apr 20, Laos, one of the world's last communist nations, elected its top government leaders at a meeting of its newly seated National Assembly.
    (AP, 4/20/16)

2016        May 4, China’s state media said China and Laos have agreed to step up security cooperation after attacks on Chinese nationals in the poor, landlocked Southeast Asian nation in recent weeks, as Laos' new president visited Beijing.
    (Reuters, 5/4/16)

2016        May 13, Laos PM Thongloun Sisoulith banned all timber exports in an effort to save the country’s dwindling forests.
    (Econ, 6/25/16, p.34)

2016        Sep 6, President Barack Obama, in the first visit to Laos by a sitting US president, said the US has a "moral obligation" to help Laos heal and vowed to reinvigorate relations with a country with rising strategic importance to the US. Obama announced he would double spending for unexploded ordnance, committing $90 million over the three years.
    (AP, 9/6/16)

2016         Sep 7, In Laos the ASEAN summit issued a mild rebuke of China over its expansionist activities in the disputed South China Sea, and indirectly urged it to show restraint and not raise tensions.
    (AP, 9/7/16)

2016        Sep 8, President Barack Obama put the long-simmering dispute in the South China Sea front and center on the agenda at the regional ASEAN summit, as it became clear that most of the other leaders gathered in the Laotian capital were going to let China off with a mild rebuke over its territorial expansion in the resource-rich waters. Obama pledged more money to Laos to remove unexploded American bombs.
    (AP, 9/8/16)(Econ, 1/21/17, p.69)

2016        Sep 23, Conservation groups said Laos has promised to phase out farms that breed endangered tigers for their body parts, a positive step from a country believed to be a major hub of wildlife trafficking in Asia. Wildlife trade monitoring group TRAFFIC said that endangered species such as pangolins and helmeted hornbills were being openly sold in Laos and that law enforcement against the illegal trade remained threadbare.
    (AP, 9/23/16)(AFP, 9/23/16)

2017        Aug 11, Cambodia's PM Hun Sen issued a six-day ultimatum to Laos to pull back troops who have allegedly trespassed into a border area or face a military response.
    (AFP, 8/11/17)

2017        Aug 12, Cambodian PM Hun Sen, who threatened a day earlier to use force over a border crisis with neighboring Laos, announced that the situation had been peacefully resolved after he made a lightning trip for face-to-face talks with his Laotian counterpart.
    (AP, 8/12/17)

2017        Joshua Kurlantzick authored “A Great Place to Have a War: America in Laos and the Birth of a Military CIA.
    (Econ, 1/21/17, p.69)

2018        Jan 10, Cambodian PM Hun Sen and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang were joined by leaders from Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Myanmar over development in the Mekong subregion. The leaders agreed in a joint statement to enhance connectivity between their countries to accelerate industrialization, urbanization, trade and financial integration. They also called for greater cooperation in managing and utilizing water resources.
    (AP, 1/10/18)

2018        Jan 30, The US Treasury Department slapped sanctions on a gambling empire hacked from the Laotian jungle which it said was involved in drug, human and wildlife trafficking and child prostitution.
    (Reuters, 1/31/18)

2018        Mar 20, A Thai court handed a life sentence to Laotian drug kingpin Xaysana Keopimpha, who was notorious for a high-flying lifestyle and alleged social connections to celebrities and other VIPs.
    (AP, 3/20/18)

2018        Mar 31, In Vietnam the leaders of six countries along the Mekong River adopted an ambitious investment plan worth $66 billion over the next five years. The summit included the prime ministers of Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam, as well as a vice president of Myanmar and the Chinese foreign minister.
    (AP, 3/31/18)

2018        Jul 23, In southern Laos hundreds of people went missing and several were feared dead after the Xepian-Xe Nam Noy hydropower dam under construction in Attapeu province collapsed, causing flash flooding that swept away homes. A least 27 people were killed when part of a newly built South Korean-built hydroelectric dam gave way. 131 people were listed as missing.
    (AP, 7/24/18)(AFP, 7/25/18)(AP, 7/25/18)(AP, 7/26/18)

2019        Jan 9, Russia's Defense Ministry says it has received 30 Soviet WW II-era T-34 battle tanks from Laos, a move reflecting the national veneration of the weapon. The ministry said more than 58,000 T-34s were built between 1940 and 1946, making it the world's most widely produced tank. The T-34 was widely exported and used in numerous conflicts.
    (AP, 1/9/19)

2019        Apr 8, Laos police detained three American volunteers for Vision Beyond Borders, a US-based Christian evangelical organization. The three carried Gospel tracts and MP3 players with Scripture and other Christian material to share with villagers in the northwestern province of Luang Namtha. They were freed and deported into Thailand April 18.
    (AP, 4/13/19)(AP, 4/18/19)

2019        Jun 20, Laos reported its first cases of African swine fever (ASF), confirming outbreaks in the southern province of Saravane.
    (Reuters, 6/20/19)

2019        Aug 19, In Laos a tour bus carrying dozens of chinese passengers crashed killing at least 13 people.
    (SFC, 8/21/19, p.A2)

2019        In Southeast Asia the Mekong River fell to its lowest level since records began more than 60 years ago. A study in 2020 claimed that 11 dams built on the Chinese portion of the river had exacerbated the water shortage affecting Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam. Brian Eyler authored "The Last Days of the Mighty Mekong."
    (https://tinyurl.com/y767b5m6)(Econ., 5/16/20, p.30)

2020        Feb 20, China said it was helping its downstream neighbors cope with a prolonged drought by releasing more water from its dams on the Mekong River, adding it would consider sharing information on hydrology to provide further assistance in the future. The drought over the past year has severely hurt farming and fishing in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.
    (Reuters, 2/20/20)

2020        Sep 1, A power grid shareholding deal was signed between Laos state-owned Electricite du Laos (EdL) and China Southern Power Grid Co. China is Laos’s biggest creditor, and the deal will bind the landlocked, mountainous country of seven million people closer to its giant neighbor.
    (Reuters, 9/7/20)

2021        Feb 8, Laos received 300,000 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine produced by Chinese pharmaceutical giant Sinopharm.
    (Reuters, 2/8/21)

2021        Apr 22, Laos locked down its capital Vientiane and closed international borders to most traffic after identifying a COVID-19 cluster connected its neighbor Thailand. 28 new cases were confirmed a day earlier bringing the country's total to 88.
    (SFC, 4/23/21, p.A8)

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