Grain drain, Laos’ sand mining damaging the Mekong

Grain by grain, truckload by truckload, Laos’ section of the Mekong River is being dredged of sand to make cement — a commodity being devoured by a Chinese-led building boom in the capital.

But the hollowing out of the riverbed is also damaging a vital waterway that feeds hundreds of thousands of fishermen and farmers in the poverty-stricken nation.

“Today, it’s more complicated for us to go fetch water for crops,” DeamSaengarn told AFP from the muddy river’s shores, describing how its gentle slopes have given way to steep embankments.

Rough Waters of Lower Sesan II Dam

According to the Vietnam River Network, Lower Sesan II dam in Cambodia will affected both environmental and social aspects, not only around the project site but also from the upstream Sesan River to downstream at the Sekong River, Tonle Sap, Vietnam Mekong Delta region and also some parts of Laos and Thailand. However the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report for this project only refers some affects around the dam and the transboundary impacts were not mentioned in EIA report.

River of Change: Hydropower dams and the Mekong River’s uncertain future

From the snowy plateaus of Tibet to the mountain gorges of China’s Yunnan province and beyond to the jungled borders of Myanmar, Thailand, Laos and down to the plains of Cambodia and paddy fields of Vietnam – the Mekong River is of crucial importance to tens of millions of people.

Yet, the future of the mighty Mekong is far from certain.

Irrevocably change is underway upriver and downriver – from China to the Mekong delta – as countries along the river’s length pursue hydroelectric dams as a path to power generation.

New book: Licensed Larceny: Infrastructure, Financial Extraction and the global South

This new 144-page book, just published by Manchester University Press, argues that the current push worldwide for Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) is not about building infrastructure — roads, bridges, hospitals, ports and railways – for the benefit of society but about constructing new subsidies to benefit the already wealthy. It is less about financing
development than developing finance.

China-Asean Economic Ties

East Asia’s economy is entering a new phase of uncertainties and challenges stemming from complex geopolitics, a weakened European Union (EU) after Brexit, domestic political unpredictability in the US and an economic slowdown in China.

To maintain economic dynamics, regional countries need to deepen and speed up social, economic and financial reforms. The region needs to continue promoting an open and inclusive regionalism.

Work on Thilawa ‘Zone B’ to begin after rainy season

The investors behind Myanmar’s first special economic zone will start accepting proposals for factories in second zone known as “Zone B” at the end of the rainy season, as both phases of “Zone A” near completion, with US$760 million in foreign investment committed to the project so far.

Myanmar Thilawa SEZ Holdings chair U Win Aung told The Myanmar Timesthat the first zone, covering 400 hectares, is almost finished. Seventy-three foreign investors from 16 countries have agreed to invest in the project, which is located in Thanlyin township, around 25 kilometres (16 miles) south of Yangon.

Vietnam, Laos discuss Vientiane-Hanoi expy project

At a meeting in Laos on Wednesday, the two sides agreed the route layout and related issues for the 760-kilometer expressway connecting the capitals of the two countries, according to Vietnam’s Ministry of Transport.

The agreement was reached based on results of a pre-feasibility study conducted by Vietnam’s Transportation Design Consultancy Corporation (Tedi).

The expressway is planned to start from Vientiane, passing through Laos’ Pakxan and Nghe An Province’s Thanh Thuy, and end in Hanoi.