rial Over Falun Gong
By The Associated Press, 6 April 2011
Two Falun Gong practitioners face trial in Vietnam for transmitting programs about the spiritual group into China, their lawyer said Wednesday. Tran Dinh Trien, the lawyer, said that Falun Gong was not banned in Vietnam and that his clients should not be charged. The trial starts Friday for Vu Duc Trung, 30, and his brother-in-law, Le Van Thanh, 35. If convicted, they face up to five years in jail. State media reported that the men broadcast 18 hours a day for more than a year. They already started last year, in 2010. They were emitting from their home and on shortwave and the signal was travelling 800 kilometres north to China. They were diffusing some programs that are free to get. It's very easy to get. They come from the Radio Sound of Hope radio network. This is a Falungong media and they were broadcasting the signals to China to make the Chinese learn about mainland politics, economics, but in particular about what was happening for the Falungong in China.China bans Falun Gong and has jailed practitioners of the group it denounces as a cult. A human rights group is alleging China put pressure on Vietnam to arrest the men as part of its long-running suppression of the Falun Gong spiritual movement.
Activists fight to stop dam across Mekong
AP 8 April 2011
A plan for the first dam across the Mekong River anywhere in its meandering path through Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam has set off a major environmental battle in Southeast Asia. The $3.5 billion Xayaburi dam is slated for the wilds of northern Laos and would generate power mostly for sale to Thailand. The project pits villagers, activists and the Vietnamese media against Thai interests and the Laotian government in its hopes of earning foreign exchange in one of the world's poorest countries. A decision on whether the dam gets the green light, is axed or deferred for further studies is expected April 19 during a meeting in the Laotian capital among Laos, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia.
Opponents warn it could open the way for 10 more dams being considered along the lower Mekong. "Our lives and livelihoods depend on the health of the Mekong River," said Kamol Konpin, mayor of the Thai riverside town of Chiang Khan. "As local people have already suffered from dams built upstream in China and watched the ecosystem change, we are afraid that the Xayaburi dam will bring more suffering. "China has placed three dams across the upper reaches of the Mekong, but otherwise its 3,000-mile (4,900-kilometer) mainstream flows free. The Xayaburi would cut across a stretch of the river flanked by forested hills, cliffs and hamlets where ethnic minority groups reside, forcing the resettlement of up 2,100 villagers and impacting tens of thousands of others.
Environmentalists say such a dam would disrupt fish migrations, block nutrients for downstre
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