Map Page 1124 Area 91,429 square mi (236,800 square km) Population 5,921,545 Capital Vientiane Highest Point 9,240 ft (2,817 m) Lowest Point 230 ft (70 m) GDP per capita $326 Primary Natural Resources timber, hydropower, gypsum.
LAOS, THE ONLY landlocked (without any ocean coastline) Southeast Asian country, is one of the poorest of the world, with 40 percent of its population living below the poverty line.
Its six-century-old monarchy, which also included French occupation (1893-1953), had dual capitals in Vientiane and Luang Prabang.
The monarchy ended in 1975, when the communist Pathet Lao rebel forces, backed by North Vietnam, took control of the government.
Laos turned into a communist satellite of the Soviet Union and VIETNAM but maintained a more neutral position than Vietnam and CAMBODIA.
After aid from the Soviet Union ceased in 1991, the UNITED STATES, JAPAN, and international agencies provided the aid, without which the country would have been in great difficulty.
The post-1975 collectivization of farms and nationalization of a few industries were replaced by a return to market economy and liberal foreign investment laws.
Laos remains a communist country.
Western and northern parts of Laos are mountainous; the former includes a part of the Annamite Cordillera, where there are areas that receive 80 to 120 in (203 to 305 cm) of rainfall.
Vientiane, the capital receives 68 in (173 cm) annually.
Being in a monsoon climatic regime, there is a great deal of uncertainty about rainfall.
Only 3.47 percent of the land is arable though 80 percent of the labor force is engaged in agriculture.
Rice dominates the food crops and accounts for about three-fourths of the total crops produced.
Laos is self-sufficient in rice, but it needs money to run the government and other activities.
Its primary production-related industries (tin, beef, pork, cigarettes, and wood) are in their primitive stages.
Upper reaches of the MEKONG RIVER on the western part of the country collect most of the drainage from the rest of the country.
The Mekong is suitable for navigation only in sections because of several rapids.
POPULATION GEOGRAPHY The population of Laos shows characteristics of a lessdeveloped country: more people in the lower age groups (42 percent are in the age group 1 to 14 years); high birth rates (37 births per 100 people); low life expectancy (54 years); high infant mortality rate (89 per 1,000 births); and a high fertility rate (4.94 children born per woman in reproductive age).
Sixty percent of Laotians are Buddhist and the remaining 40 percent are animists and others.
There are three strata of people in Laos: 1) Austro- Asiatic group, consisting of 25 percent of the country's population.
They were the earliest settlers but were driven into the mountains above 3000 ft (914m) by the Tai and Lao; 2) Lao Loum, who originated from South China and live in the most productive lowland river valleys, growing glutinous rice, accounting for 68 percent of the country's population.
They are the most educated and are the major decision makers; 3) Lao Sung, consisting of 9 percent of the population, are the 19th-century migrants from South China, living in the northern highlands.
There is an ongoing government policy of "Laoization," in which efforts are made to acculturate the Lao Theung and Lao Sung minorities in Lao Loum cultural traits.
The government encourages ethnic harmony.

Laos Images

Last News

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"During the week two men who were piloting a civil plane felt sickish.
The United Airlines flight routing from Huston to San Francisco with 187 people aboard, including the crew group suddenly the pilot became ill and incapacitated. Therefore, the pilot-captain had to make an emergency landing.
Before that there had been another accident. American Airlines plane from Boston to Phoenix had to make an emergency landing at the Syracuse Airport because one of the pilots died. The stewardess, who provided first hand medical attention failed to save him. There were 147 people onboard that day. "

- Allergic individuals would better avoid Czech restaurants
"The press reports that the majority of Czech restaurants do not point out the food ingredients that cause allergic reactions.
Nearly a third of cafes and restaurants “forget” to warn their clients or indicate allergic products in a wrong way. Mostly they do not specify the content of some types of crops, nuts and milk proteins. After the examination tested it turned out that 42 public places out of 114 violated the rules and didn’t provide full information about the dishes served.
The tourists, who suffer from allergies and who wishes to go to the Czech Republic it is recommended to stay on pins and needles and always carry some antihistaminic drugs in the pockets. "