Discussion:
Barack Obama became the first US President to visit Laos
(too old to reply)
thanouxay
2016-09-06 10:24:05 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
AFP--- Barack Obama became the first US president to visit Laos in office, touching down in Vientiane Monday for a summit of East and South East Asian leaders.

Obama arrived in the capital, where the tropical rain did not prevent a large number of airport workers coming out to greet him and cheering — before being hushed by an official.

The outgoing president’s visit comes decades after the United States launched a massive and secret bombing campaign in the country that lasted from 1964 to 1973.

More than two million tonnes of bombs were dropped. About 30 percent did not explode and are still causing casualties today.

During the trip Obama is expected to announce the ramping up of a US programme to clear unexploded devices, echoing similar moves Washington took in Vietnam as relations between the two former foes blossomed.

“Symbolically, it is important,” Obama said of hours before his visit.

“At the outset, as we’re trying to build trust, a lot of work can be done around war legacy issues. For the Lao, that involves dealing with unexploded ordnance, which is still plaguing big chunks of the countryside.”

“We should help.”

Obama’s visit to Laos will be the final trip to east Asia of his eight-year presidency, during which he has sought to refocus American military, political and economic resources on the region.

He will travel to the ancient capital of Luang Prabang on Wednesday, visiting a historic temple and meeting with students at a university growing up in a tightly controlled communist nation. AFP

AFP/CC
thanouxay
2016-09-06 10:51:30 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
VIENTIANE, Laos — President Obama on Tuesday said the United States would spend $90 million over the next three years on clearing unexploded bombs that it dropped on Laos during the Vietnam War.

Obama made the announcement during remarks delivered at the Lao National Cultural Hall in the capital Vientiane. The pledge doubles the current U.S. funding for the effort. Obama is the first sitting U.S. president to visit the Southeast Asian country.

“The spirit of reconciliation is what brings me here today. Given our history here, the U.S .has a moral obligation to help Laos heal,” Obama said. Obama said he wanted to make the two nations “whole again.”

The president arrived in Laos late Monday after attending the Group of 20 summit in Hangzhou, China, for a series of Asian summit meetings this week that will focus on security, terrorism, natural disasters and other regional issues.

Following a meeting with South Korean President Park Geun-hye, Obama said the U.S. will work with allies to toughen sanctions on North Korea after the reclusive state fired three ballistic missiles Monday. He said there was room for dialogue if North Korea changes direction.

A secret, nine-year U.S. bombing campaign aimed at blocking supplies to Vietnam and fighting communist forces in northern Laos left tens of millions of unexploded bombs in the countryside.
thanouxay
2016-09-07 11:40:14 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
B-52 bomber in south-east Asia (December 1972)Image copyrightUSAF
Image caption
Mine clearing agencies estimate that about 288 million cluster munitions and about 75 million unexploded bombs were left across Laos after the war ended
The bombs, as one Laotian recalled, "fell like rain", US President Barack Obama said on a visit to Laos, a first for any sitting US president.
"Given our history here, I believe that the United States has a moral obligation to help Laos heal," he said.
He referred to America's secret and devastating bombing of Laos during the Vietnam War in the 1960s and 70s.
Some $90m (£68m) will be spent over three years for the removal of cluster bombs and other unexploded ordnance.
That compares to $100m spent in the last 20 years.
Mr Obama did not offer an apology for the bombing.
US President Barack Obama holds a prosthetic limb as he tours the Cooperative Orthotic and Prothetic Enterprise (COPE) visitor center in Vientiane on September 7, 2016Image copyrightAFP/GETTY IMAGES
Image caption
Unexploded bombs have continued to maim and kill Laotians for decades
How many bombs were dropped?
Ordnance demolition in southern Laos (December 2014)Image copyrightPHOONSAB THEVONGSA, NPA
In his comments on Tuesday, President Obama described Laos as the most heavily bombed nation in history. Eight bombs a minute were dropped on average during the Vietnam war between 1964 and 1973 - more than the amount used during the whole of World War Two.
The US flew 580,344 bombing missions over Laos, dropping 260m bombs - equating to 2m tons of ordnance, with many targets in the south and north struck time and again as part of efforts to isolate Communist North Vietnamese forces.
Most devices dropped were anti-personnel cluster bombs. An estimated 30% of these munitions did not detonate.
Ten of the 18 Laotian provinces have been described as "severely contaminated" by unexploded ordnance (UXO).
Mine-clearing agencies estimate that about 288m cluster munitions and about 75m unexploded bombs were left across Laos after the war ended.
Why are cluster bombs so reviled?
Dozens of cluster bomblets collected in a field in a town in southern Idlib, SyriaImage copyrightREUTERS
Image caption
Children are especially vulnerable to cluster bombs, attracted by their toy-like appearance
Cluster bombs scatter explosives across a wide area and often fail to detonate on impact.
They pose a significant threat to civilians because of both their impact at the time of use and their deadly legacy.
Launched from the ground or dropped from the air, cluster munitions consist of containers that open and disperse sub-munitions indiscriminately over a wide area.
Many explosive sub-munitions, also known as bomblets, fail to detonate as designed, becoming landmines that kill and maim indiscriminately.
They are difficult to locate and remove, posing a danger to civilians long after conflicts end.
Children are particularly at risk, as they can be attracted to the bombs' toy-like appearance.
The Convention on Cluster Munitions bans the stockpiling, use and transfer of virtually all existing cluster bombs, and also provides for the clearing up of unexploded munitions.
It has been adopted by 108 states, but not the US which, according to some estimates, spent as much on clean-up efforts in Laos between 1995 and 2013 as it spent in three days of bombing during the war.
Laos is likely to ask for an extension to its commitment to get rid of UXO when Convention member states next meet in August 2020.
How many people have been killed by UXO?
UXO personnel prepare for an ordnance demolition in Laos (December 2014)Image copyrightPHOONSAB THEVONGSA, NPA
Image caption
The number of UXO casualties has been drastically reduced in recent years
The number of casualties from air-dropped explosive devices - mostly cluster munitions - in Laos since 1964 is estimated by the Landmine and Clustering Munition Monitor to be around 50,000 people. Of these about 29,000 people were killed and 21,000 injured. The overwhelming majority were civilians.
Today only a handful of people are killed and injured, the figures show.
But the threat posed by UXO stops villagers from getting to their farms and renders vast tracts of agricultural land useless until they have been cleared of munitions.
Will more US money address the problem?
Clearance operations on cluster munitions (December 2014)Image copyrightPHOONSAB THEVONGSA, NPA
Image caption
The problems caused by UXO especially affect people living in remote rural areas, NGOs say
The president's announcement has been widely welcomed by aid agencies working to address the UXO problem in Laos, which include the Halo Trust, the Mines Advisory Group, Norwegian People's Aid, UXO Laos and Handicap International.
"Before the president's announcement I feared that the UXO operation in Laos would take hundreds of years," Mines Advisory Group country director Simon Rea told the BBC from Vientiane. "Now I am optimistic this can be reduced to decades."
Map
"The president's announcement is extremely good news for us and for poor families in rural areas who lives are still blighted by UXO.
Likewise Halo Trust CEO James Cowan said the president's announcement will have a profound effect on the people of Laos.
"It will help them live and farm in safety on their land, as well as creating opportunities for development and infrastructure," he said.
"Explosive remnants of war have blighted their lives for far too long. It is a momentous step in Laos's journey towards freedom from the deadly debris of war."
What role can surveying play?
UXO team marking evidence of cluster munitions (December 2014)Image copyrightPHOONSAB THEVONGSA, NPA
Image caption
Aid agencies say that they have become much more efficient at identifying evidence of unexploded cluster bombs
"Today more than ever we are getting a much better grasp of the scale of the contamination," Norwegian People's Aid (NPA) Senior Advocacy and Research Advisor Lucy Pinches told the BBC.
"We are using survey triangulation data to place contaminated land into blocks or boxes which can then be systematically cleared of mines."
Aid agencies have also gained access to Pentagon bombing records so that they can identify which areas of land - mostly the Ho Chi Minh Trail in the south and the Lao communist party headquarters in the north - were bombed and likely to contain unexploded bombs.
"More partnerships in the last couple of years among international clearance NGOs has greatly helped in pushing this process forward," NPA Laos Country Director Jonas Zachrisson told the BBC.
But at the same time he cautions that "much of the country remains unsurveyed with limited data regarding the extent, scope and nature of the problem".
How are Laos-US relations today?
US President Barack Obama speaks at the Lao National Cultural Hall in Vientiane (06 September 2016)Image copyrightAP
Image caption
President Obama said that many Americans are unaware of the scale of US bombing in Laos
President Obama is the first US president to visit Laos and has adopted a noticeably conciliatory approach towards his hosts. He said that the US bombings had destroyed "villages and entire valleys, killing countless civilians".
His approach has been welcomed by Laotian President Bounnhang Vorachit as a way of enhancing mutual trust between the two countries after the devastating war.
The president in return has promised the government will step up its efforts to locate and return US servicemen missing in the war.
Mr Obama has made improving relations with Southeast Asian nations a foreign policy priority as Chinese influence has grown in the region.
Communist Laos' economy is heavily dependent on Chinese investment.
CASALAO
2016-09-07 12:21:37 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
a cool president of our time...

CASALAO
2016-09-07 16:33:19 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
POTUS drinking fresh coconut juice on the run. can't get more cooler than this. obama, you the man...

thanouxay
2016-09-09 06:11:01 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
As his time in office approaches an end, President Obama has periodically dropped hints of his post-presidency plans, from aspirations to own a stake in an NBA team to returning to the classroom to lecture.

Continuing his historic trip to Laos, where he’s the first U.S. president to visit, Obama shed light on his agenda after he leaves office, discussing some of the goals of his presidential center, as well as future work for first lady Michelle Obama.

“In my own work as an ex-president, I'm hoping to continue working with young people through my presidential center,” Obama said during a Young Southeast Asian Leadership Initiative town hall meeting at Souphanouvong University in Luang Prabang. “And so one of the components I've discussed with my team is how I can continue to interact with the YSEALI alumni and we can share ideas and I can continue to meet with you and we can work on projects together.”

Obama pledged to “continue to stay involved” with the YSEALI program but said the initiative will continue to run through the State Department.

“I’m confident that it will continue to do great things,” he said.
Asked what Michelle Obama planned to do after her time at the White House, Obama said she will expand the scope of her nutrition and education programs.

“My wife, I think, will continue to work on nutrition issues, but you know, she’s going to probably be more involved internationally as well as domestically more than she has been, now that our girls are getting older,” Obama said.

Obama's Historic Visit to Laos
“She can travel more. It used to be that she didn't like going too far away for too long because she wanted to make sure the girls were doing their homework and acting properly, but now that they're almost grown — Malia, she's leaving, and Sasha, she'll be gone soon as well — I think you’ll see Michelle work on these issues more internationally than she has.”

The president promised to return to Laos after he leaves office.

Building on his announcement Tuesday about the expansion of the Let Girls Learn education initiative, Obama said he is adding a women’s leadership academy for YSEALI. He also announced the launch of a website, EnglishForAll.state.gov, to send more teachers to countries around world.

Turning to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the 12-nation trade pact known as the TPP, he predicted it will be ratified — perhaps as soon as the lame duck session of Congress begins after Election Day. He said it's “the right thing to do.”

“You know, we’re in a political season right now, and it’s always difficult to get things done,” Obama said. “Congress isn’t doing much right now. They’re all going home and talking to their constituents, trying to get re-elected. So after election, I think people can refocus attention on why this is so important.”
Her Lao
2016-09-10 20:42:12 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by CASALAO
POTUS drinking fresh coconut juice on the run. can't get more cooler than this. obama, you the man...
http://youtu.be/BwMOEs3R_TE
What?, did the person video taping Obama there by the Mekong --- was it you, Casalao? --- use a Samsung Galaxy Note S7 and the battery suddenly burst into flames, after 7 seconds?
Her Lao
2016-09-10 20:45:26 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by CASALAO
POTUS drinking fresh coconut juice on the run. can't get more cooler than this. obama, you the man...
http://youtu.be/BwMOEs3R_TE
http://youtu.be/x08uLnSryXs


As you know, I am not the deep, one-liners... so I prefer winding videos like this...
Her Lao
2016-09-10 21:35:37 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
http://youtu.be/x08uLnSryXs

The young Lao man/student, it turned out --- at the 23:45 minute mark --- asked perhaps the most salient question.

And the answer Obama gave, to him, was likely the best in the whole forum.

Singapore, indeed, is a good example, in SE Asia.

Switzerland, ANOTHER LAND-LOCKED COUNTRY LIKE LAOS, is a good example in the heart of Europe: neither Singapore nor Switzerland is big in population or rich in natural resources (fishery, wood, oil, gas, minerals, precious metals, etc).

Why are they doing so well, in their unique situations? Education. That's it. The level of education in both their respective countries are, on average, above those around them. Education allows them to use THEIR HUMAN CAPITAL, in the place of raw natural resources (which they don't have too much).

Take another country, which, on a PER CAPITA BASIS, has MORE RAW NATURAL RESOURCES AVAILABLE TO THEM than most people of the world === Venezuela === and yet its people are starving for bread, beans, rice, and potatoes, most of which must be imported from outside.

Why? The leaders blame outsiders, like the US, but ultimately it is a matter of CORRUPTION and INABILITY to innovate, to use the abundant oil revenues to EDUCATE ITS PEOPLE.

When virtually ALL OF YOUR EXPORT EARNING is from OIL, like Venezuela's case, and oil prices go down 30-50%, and you haven't educated your people --- from technology, to farming, to education, to trade, etc. --- this is what happens... It's called a total mis-management of people, country, and resources.

Note that NORWAY also has tons of oil and other natural resources; but its people are highly educated, and even without oil, like the Swiss, the Norwegians would likely live very developed, comfortable lives. Because unlike Venezuela and other countries, northern European countries SPEND A LOT OF THEIR TIME AND RESOURCES ON EDUCATING THEIR CHILDREN.

EDUCATION really is more important than any other single factor or physical resource in the lives of both nations and individuals.
CASALAO
2016-09-15 14:03:24 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
thank you president obama for visiting laos and contributing 90 million dollars to the UXO cleanup. in my mind it should have been more much much more like at least half a billion dollars.

y***@gmail.com
2016-09-15 14:40:14 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by CASALAO
thank you president obama for visiting laos and contributing 90 million dollars to the UXO cleanup. in my mind it should have been more much much more like at least half a billion dollars.
http://youtu.be/6ZXHhhY65wo
no matter how big $'s, not sure how much it's remained by the time it reached XK. hate to see more bmw's in the streets of VT while deaths continue over there... no accountability... so sad...
y***@gmail.com
2016-09-06 17:16:07 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by thanouxay
AFP--- Barack Obama became the first US president to visit Laos in office, touching down in Vientiane Monday for a summit of East and South East Asian leaders.
Obama arrived in the capital, where the tropical rain did not prevent a large number of airport workers coming out to greet him and cheering — before being hushed by an official.
The outgoing president’s visit comes decades after the United States launched a massive and secret bombing campaign in the country that lasted from 1964 to 1973.
More than two million tonnes of bombs were dropped. About 30 percent did not explode and are still causing casualties today.
During the trip Obama is expected to announce the ramping up of a US programme to clear unexploded devices, echoing similar moves Washington took in Vietnam as relations between the two former foes blossomed.
“Symbolically, it is important,” Obama said of hours before his visit.
“At the outset, as we’re trying to build trust, a lot of work can be done around war legacy issues. For the Lao, that involves dealing with unexploded ordnance, which is still plaguing big chunks of the countryside.”
“We should help.”
Obama’s visit to Laos will be the final trip to east Asia of his eight-year presidency, during which he has sought to refocus American military, political and economic resources on the region.
He will travel to the ancient capital of Luang Prabang on Wednesday, visiting a historic temple and meeting with students at a university growing up in a tightly controlled communist nation. AFP
AFP/CC
Wow... $90 million! That's lots of money. Hope it go towards the real job and not the pockets of the authorities. Otherwise in the next 10-20 years the bombs still explode...
j***@yahoo.com
2016-09-06 21:25:53 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by thanouxay
AFP--- Barack Obama became the first US president to visit Laos in office, touching down in Vientiane Monday for a summit of East and South East Asian leaders.
Obama arrived in the capital, where the tropical rain did not prevent a large number of airport workers coming out to greet him and cheering — before being hushed by an official.
The outgoing president’s visit comes decades after the United States launched a massive and secret bombing campaign in the country that lasted from 1964 to 1973.
More than two million tonnes of bombs were dropped. About 30 percent did not explode and are still causing casualties today.
During the trip Obama is expected to announce the ramping up of a US programme to clear unexploded devices, echoing similar moves Washington took in Vietnam as relations between the two former foes blossomed.
“Symbolically, it is important,” Obama said of hours before his visit.
“At the outset, as we’re trying to build trust, a lot of work can be done around war legacy issues. For the Lao, that involves dealing with unexploded ordnance, which is still plaguing big chunks of the countryside.”
“We should help.”
Obama’s visit to Laos will be the final trip to east Asia of his eight-year presidency, during which he has sought to refocus American military, political and economic resources on the region.
He will travel to the ancient capital of Luang Prabang on Wednesday, visiting a historic temple and meeting with students at a university growing up in a tightly controlled communist nation. AFP
AFP/CC
Mr. Yong,

I hope this is a positive gesture toward moving LAOS in the right direction of TRULY SELF-GOVERNING without being a puppet of CHINA or VIETNAM and where the people are rule by LAWS and ORDERS.

Jim
Loading...