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NEW UPDATES Asean Affairs   6  January 2014  

Laos Breaks Ground On Railway Project Linking Thailand to Vietnam

Laos has broken ground on an ambitious high-speed railway project linking the country’s western border with Thailand to Vietnam and is likely to begin full construction this month, according to sources.

Giant Consolidated, a Malaysian company that will construct and operate the 220-kilometer (140-mile) railway, held a groundbreaking ceremony to mark the laying of the “foundation” for the project last month in Savannakhet, multiple sources in the province confirmed to RFA’s Lao Service.

The Dec. 18 event was held in Outhumphone district’s Ban Naxai, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

An official from the Lao Ministry of Planning and Investment, citing sources at Giant, told RFA that full construction on the railway was likely to begin this month.

“According to Giant Consolidated, work is expected to begin in January,” said the official, who also asked not to reveal his name.

The official did not provide further details on construction plans for the project.

Malaysia’s Giant was in November 2012 awarded a contract to construct and operate the railway from Savannakhet, on Laos’s southwestern border with Thailand, to the Lao Bao border gate with Vietnam in the east.

RFA was unable to contact the company to confirm that it plans to proceed with construction in January, or whether it had obtained a loan it had sought in connection with the project.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More






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