LAO PEOPLE'S DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC



Laos

Sathalanalat Paxathipatai Paxaxon Lao

CAPITAL : Vientiane (Viangchan)

FLAG : The national flag, officially adopted in 1975, is the former flag of the Pathet Lao, consisting of three horizontal stripes of red, dark blue, and red, with a white disk, representing the full moon, at the center.

ANTHEM : Pheng Sat Lao (Hymn of the Lao People).

MONETARY UNIT : The new kip ( K ) is a paper currency of 100 at (cents). There are notes of 10, 20, 50, 200, and 500 new kip. K 1 = $0.00009385 (or $1 = K 10,655) as of May 2003.

WEIGHTS AND MEASURES : The metric system is the legal standard, but older local units also are used.

HOLIDAYS : Anniversary of the Founding of the Lao People's Democratic Republic, 2 December. The government generally reschedules on weekends such traditional festivals as the Lao New Year (April); Boun Bang-fai (Rocket Festival), the celebration of the birth, enlightenment, and death of the Buddha (May); Boun Khao Watsa, the beginning of a period of fasting and meditation lasting through the rainy season (July); Boun Ok Watsa (Water Holiday), a celebration of the end of the period of fasting and meditation (October); and That Luang, a pagoda pilgrimage holiday (November).

TIME : 7 PM = noon GMT.


FISHING

Edible fish, found in the Mekong and other rivers, constitutes the main source of protein in the Laotian diet. The prize catch is the pa beuk, weighing 205 kg (450 lb) or more. Despite the abundance of fish and their important contribution to the Laotian subsistence economy, there has been no systematic commercial fishery development. The total catch in 2000 was 29,250 tons.

INSURANCE

There are no private insurance firms.

HOUSING

The typical house is rectagular, built entirely of wooden planks and bamboo, with a thatched roof, and is raised off the ground on wooden pilings 1–2 m (3–6 ft) high. There is a critical housing shortage in the towns, and many dwellings are substandard. As of 1990, 47% of urban and 25% of rural dwellers had access to a public water supply, while 30% of urban and 8% of rural dwellers had sanitation service.

ORGANIZATIONS

The National Chamber of Commerce and Industry is located in Vientiane. The Lao People's Revolutionary Party and its allied social and political groups in the Lao Front for National Reconstruction have dominated Laotian life. The cooperative movement has been intensively developed. There is also a Lao Unified Buddhists' Association. The Red Cross is active.

DEPENDENCIES

Laos has no territories or colonies.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Brown, MacAlister, and Joseph J. Zasloff. Apprentice Revolutionaries: The Communist Movements in Laos, 1930– 1985 . Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Hoover Press, 1986.

Buckley, Michael. Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos Handbook. Chico, Calif.: Moon Publications, 1996.

Castle, Timothy N. At War in the Shadow of Vietnam: U.S. Military Aid to the Royal Lao Government, 1955–1975. New York: Columbia University Press, 1993.

Chan, Sucheng. Hmong Means Free: Life in Laos and America. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1994.

Cordell, Helen. Laos. Santa Barbara, Calif.: Clio, 1991.

Evans, Grant. A Short History of Laos: The Land In Between. London, Eng.: Orion, 2003.

——. Lao Peasants under Socialism. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990.

Hamilton-Merritt, Jane. Tragic Mountains: The Hmong, the Americans, and the Secret Wars for Laos, 1942–1992. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1993.

Ivarsson, Soren. The Quest for Balance in a Changing Laos: A Political Analysis. Copenhagen: NIAS Books, 1995.

Laos' Dilemmas and Options: The Challenge of Economic Transition in the 1990s. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1997.

Mansfield, Stephen. Lao Hill Tribes: Traditions and Patterns of Existence. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.

Stuart-Fox, Martin. Buddhist Kingdom, Marxist State: The Making of Modern Laos. Bangkok: White Lotus, 1996.

Stuart-Fox, Martin. Historical Dictionary of Laos. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, 2001.

——. Historical Dictionary of Laos. Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1992.

Zasloff, Joseph J., and Leonard Unger (eds.). Laos: Beyond the Revolution. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1991.

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