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Vegetable Prices Increased over New Year

Lao vegetable prices

Vegetable prices rose over the new year holiday period, while the market price of meat remained steady.

Each new year, the prices of vegetables including onions, mint, coriander, tomatoes, morning glory, Chinese cabbage, and lettuce tend to increase due to a shortage in supply.

Although a request has been made by the Vientiane Industry and Commerce Department for local authorities to take responsibility for price controls, many vendors continued to flagrantly take advance of the situation. These vendors understand that demand is higher than usual during holiday periods, and supply is lower, meaning they can charge higher rate and earn an extra profit.

Authorities have said they will ensure prices return to normal after the holiday season when vendors return to their market stalls.

During the new year weekend, the prices of coriander and onions increased to 10,000 kip per kilogram, while lettuce rose to 8,000 kip per kilogram, and other produce including melons, limes, and tomatoes hit 6,000 kip per kilogram.

These price hikes were reported at Phontong market, in Chanthabouly District, and Nonkhor and Khuadin markets in Saysettha District. Other markets around Vientiane likely increased their prices too.

Fortunately, meat prices are stable as the government strictly controls them, while vegetables are not included in the price control list and therefore fluctuates according to demand.

This season typically sees a lower price for vegetables as farmers can grow more, versus the rainy season when farming of certain vegetables is more difficult.



Govt Extends Condolences Over Terrorism in Germany, Turkey

Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith on Tuesday sent a message to the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany to extend the government’s condolences over the tragic event that occurred in Berlin, Germany on Monday.

We have learned with deep sorrow about the tragedy that occurred at the Christmas market in the heart of Berlin, Germany on December 19, which killed many victims and injured others. We strongly condemn such acts of terror perpetrated against Germany, Mr Thongloun said in the massage.

Prime Minister Thongloun, representing the Lao government and people, and on his own behalf, expressed his deep condolences and sympathy to the government and people of Germany as well as the bereaved families affected by the barbaric act.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Saleumxay Kommasith yesterday also sent a message to his Russian counterpart to extend condolences over the assassination of the Russian Ambassador to Turkey, Mr Andrei Karlov.

I have learned with the deepest sadness of the barbaric assassination of His Excellency Ambassador Andrei Karlov on December 19, 2016, while attending the opening of a photo exhibition in Ankara, Mr Saleumxay said in the message.

In the message, he noted the government’s strong condemnation of such terrorist acts against Russian diplomats, which he said was no doubt, aimed at undermining the good Russian-Turkish relations.

On behalf of the Lao government and people, and on my own behalf, I would like to convey our profound condolences and sympathy through Your Excellency to the Russian government and people as well as the bereaved family, the minister added in the message.


Source: Vientiane Times

Fortnight of Fatalities as Over 50 Killed on Nation’s Roads

Over 50 people were killed in road accidents over two weeks around the country with many more sustaining injuries, according to the Traffic Police Department.

The Traffic Police Department from the Ministry of Public Security reported that from December 5-18 there were 245 road accidents involving more than 400 people with the damage bill hitting over 3 billion kip.

In those incidents, 55 people were killed, 61 were left in a critical condition, 153 were seriously injured and 163 were slightly injured.

In the collisions, 19 vehicles were written off, 203 vehicles sustained moderate damage and 205 vehicles sustained minor damage.

Most of the accidents occurred as a result of drunken driving and speeding with the majority taking place in the evening and at night.

The most serious accidents occurred last week. In one incident on Friday morning, one person was killed and three people sustained injuries after two motorbikes were involved in a collision in Nongda village, Sikhottabong district, Vientiane.

A motorcyclist was also killed in Salakham village, Hadxaifong district, Vientiane, when his bike collided with a pickup truck.

Another incident occurred in Nongbeuk village, Sikhottabong district, when a van lost control and ran into a house, injuring four people.

Another dramatic incident involved a bus losing control and overturning at Km 16 in Xaythany district resulted in seven people sustaining moderate injuries.

Source: Vientiane Times

Three Die on Vientiane Roads Over Long Weekend

Three people were killed and others sustained injuries in road accidents in the capital over the three-day period from December 2-4.

Vientiane Traffic Police Department of the Ministry of Public Security recorded 19 road accidents in the capital from December 2-4 in which three people died, 31 people were injured and 39 vehicles sustained damage.

The accidents resulted in 12 people suffering critical injuries, while another 10 were seriously injured and nine people were slightly injured.

One vehicle was written off, 20 sustained moderate damage while eighteen vehicles sustained minor damage, according to the police report.

Police said most of the accidents occurred as a result of drunk driving and non-compliance with the traffic rules. Meanwhile, Xaythany district recorded the most number of accidents.

An officer with Vientiane Rescue 1623 under the Foundation for Assisting Poor People of the Lao PDR also reported that over the same period the group attended to over 100 accidents in capital in which over 100 people were injured. Most of the incidents occurred between the evening and early morning.

Many accidents occur on weekends and special occasions when people get together to drink. Alcohol is recognised as being a major cause of road accidents, and this year incidents of drunken driving have been higher than ever.

A recent accident occurred in Dongmakkhai village, Xaythany district when a motorbike and a bicycle were involved in a fatal collision which killed a cyclist instantly.

Another accident took place along No.13 North Road in Phangheng village, Naxaithong district when two motorbikes collided, killing the two riders instantly while the two passengers also sustained critical injuries.

Vientiane Traffic Police Department reported that Mr Vilaphon, 20, and his passenger Mr Vilaxay, 20, both of Phangheng village were entering from a side road when they collided with Mr Sinxay, 16, and his passenger.

The Vientiane Traffic Police Department is continuing to investigate the accidents.


Source: Vientiane Times

Four People Killed in UXO-related Accidents over 10 Months

Four people have died and 11people have been injured in UXO-related accidents from January to October 2016, according to a report from the Lao National Unexploded Ordnance Programme (UXO Lao).

The report was disclosed on Friday at UXO Lao’s annual meeting to summarise their work over the past year and plan for the year ahead.

The meeting was attended by Minister of Labour and Social Welfare Dr Khampheng Saysompheng, UXO Lao Director Mr Thipphasone Soukhathammavong, and other officials.

An official from UXO Lao said that from January to October of this year there had been seven UXO-related accidents in which 11 people sustained injuries and four people died.

Three of the accidents occurred in Xieng Khuang province where two people sustained injuries and one was killed.

Another incident in Savannakhet province saw two people sustain injuries.

In Attapeu province, an explosion resulted in five people being injured and one being killed.

An accident in Khammuan province injured one person and killed two, while in Champassak province an explosion injured one person.

Explosions typically occur during the transport, dismantling or burning of UXO, or while villagers are working in their fields.

U XO Lao has worked with international organisations to clear UXO from 2,147 hectares of land, of which 93 percent is needed for farming and 7 percent for development purposes.

Some 84,402 cluster munitions were cleared, including 68,639 bombies and other items. On average, 21 bombies per hectare have been found.

UXO Lao’s target is to remove UXO from 3,200 hectares of land in the provinces of Huaphan, Luang Prabang, Xieng Khuang, Khammuan, Savannakhet, Saravan, Xekong, Attapeu and Champassak.

Addressing the meeting, Dr Khampheng said UXO Lao’s goal is to reduce the number of casualties and provide assistance to the survivors of UXO-related accidents.

During the Indochina War from 1964-73 some 3 million tonnes of UXO were dropped o n Laos, including about 270 million sub-munitions from cluster bombs and about 4 million aircraft bombs.

Tests in the United States have found that cluster munitions have a failure rate of up to 30 percent, meaning a large amount of unexploded devices still remain in Laos.

A total of 87,000 square kilometres of land are thought to be contaminated with UXO.


Source: Vientiane Times

Over 40 Crimes Reported during That Luang Festival

A total of 46 crimes were reported to the Vientiane Public Security Headquarters during this year’s That Luang Festival.

The incidents took place from November 8-14, with pickpocketing being the most common crime and 31 cases reported. In addition, five bags were reportedly slashed, one fight broke out, there was one drug-related case, and five robberies and three general thefts were noted.

Losses included more than 47 million kip in cash, over 56,000 Thai baht, 14 baht weight of gold, US$6,200, 700 yuan, 18 mobile phones, one camera, and other items. The police arrested eight people including two women.

During last year’s That Luang festival there 21 crimes, with pickpocketing again the most commonly reported offence. More than 15 million kip and other items were stolen and the police arrested two men.

No crimes were reported at Lao-ITECC, where the commercial part of the festival took place.

This year, 2,481 police, soldiers and students were stationed around the festival to ward off criminals and prevent antisocial behaviour.

The Vientiane Public Security Headquarters also reported other crimes that occurred around the capital during the festival period.

reported in Vientiane with police solving 29 cases and arresting 77 people including 19 women.

Most of the incidents were drug-related, with 13 cases reported. Police solved 13 cases and arrested 35 people, including five women.

There were also 11 general thefts, with police solving six cases and arresting nine people. Police also seized 298 amphetamine pills and a gun.

The Vientiane Traffic Police reported that from November 8-14, a total of 31 traffic accidents took place in the capital, resulting in four fatalities.

Compared to last year the number of accidents dropped from 19 to 31, but the number of fatalities remained the same.


Source: Vientiane Times

Over 3km of Eroded Riverbank Slated for Protection

The repair of riverbank erosion is a priority for next year, with 3,140 metres of the Mekong and its branches in three provinces to be shored up, a leading official has announced.

Minister of Public Works and Transport Dr Bounchan Sinthavong told National Assembly members about the riverbank protection at the legislature’s ongoing session.

Dr Bounchan said the priority work would be carried out at four points to tackle erosion and shore up 3,140 metres of riverbank in the provinces of Borikh amxay, Xayaboury and Bokeo.

“About 63.6 billion kip will be spent on riverbank protection,” he said.

Borikhamxay province plans to protect an 820 metre section along the Mekong at the border area in Nakhaneua village, Thaphabath district, and another 700 metres near Phabathphonson village in the same district.

A 1,100 metre section of the Heuang River in Kaenthao district, Xayaboury province, is also slated for repair.

And a 520 metre section of the Mekong River embankment in Tonpheung district, Bokeo province, will be built up following erosion.

A Borikhamxay provincial official, Mr Keoudone Luangsouvannavong, told Vientiane Times on Tuesday that the Mekong riverbank in Nakhaneua and Phabathphonsan villages began to crumble in 2012.

These riverbanks have eroded excessively each year since because of flooding.

Earlier this month Borikhamxay province invited officials from various ministries to visit the province to witness the erosion at the Pakxan-Bueng Kan international border between Laos and Thailand.

A section of fencing at the Pakxan border has already disappeared into the Mekong because of erosion.

Borikhamxay surveyed 197 kilometres along the Mekong in the districts of Pakxan, Thaphabath and Pakkading which revealed that a 79km section of riverbank was in need of an embankment.

Ac cording to the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, the repairs along the Mekong and other rivers would cost about 4,369 billion kip.

Some 289km of riverbank along the Mekong in various parts of the country and along the Heuang River in Xayaboury province have crumbled, and about 120km has been shored up with embankments.

Dr Bounchan said there was now about 168k m of riverbank that was suffering from erosion.

Source: Vientiane Times

Over 200 Fatalities in 10 Months of Traffic Accidents

Over 200 people were killed in road accidents around Vientiane in the first 10 months of this year, with most of the crashes attributed to drunken driving.

Deputy Chief of the Vientiane Traffic Police Department, Major Sangkhom Phommalath, reported that from January to October there were 1,275 road accidents in the capital and 215 people were killed.

This was an increase on the same period last year and, once again, most road accidents occurred as a result of drunken driving and speeding.

On average about five people died each week. Most of the accidents occurred in Xaythany and Chanthabouly districts.

Some 295 people were left in a critical condition, 793 were seriously injured and 514 people were slightly injured.

In addition, 214 vehicles were written off, 1,623 sustained moderate damage and 870 vehicles sustained minor damage. The cost of the damage was estimated at over 10 billion kip. Major Sangkhom Phommalath said the Vientiane Traffic Police Department periodically runs road safety campaigns to remind motorists of the traffic regulations and hopefully prevent accidents.

Police have also been spreading the road safety message around schools and offices in the capital. They attempt to get motorists’ attention by explaining the traffic regulations, showing photos of accidents, and teaching people how to prevent accidents.

Police set up a road safety booth at the That Luang Festival this year in a bid to stem the rising number of accidents during festivals and holidays.

Last year, the police road safety booth attracted public interest thanks to its various activities and the prizes that were on offer.

The number of road accidents overall continues to increase. About 90 percent of accidents involve drunken driving, speeding and other violations of the traffic rules.

Many accidents occur on weekends and special occasions when people get together to drink. Most of the accidents involve motorbikes and occur in the evening and at night.

Source: Vientiane Times