Hidden deep inside the jungle-covered Karst Mountains of northern Laos lies a secret cave-city where revolutionary leaders survived nearly a decade of United States bombing during the Vietnam War. Now, over 30 years since the conflict ended, the communist country has opened up the remote wartime hideaway to tourism.
World heritage status has turned the former Lao capital, Luang Prabang, from a ghost town into a tourism hub, but too much of a good thing could soon prove the kiss of death, say experts and residents. In recent years a trickle of backpackers has turned into a flood of tourists coming to the sleepy town of glistening Buddhist temples and palm-shaded French colonial mansions sitting pretty on a Mekong river peninsula.
Bill Gates is set to meet communist Vietnam's leaders on Saturday to promote licensed Microsoft products in the country where an estimated 90% of software is counterfeit. Gates was expected to speak about joint efforts with government bodies and schools and visit a village post office outside Hanoi on Saturday to launch a project that uses Vietnamese-made computers with Microsoft programs.
Vietnam was set to host an international conference on Tuesday on the effects of the Vietnam War defoliant Agent Orange, bringing together veterans and delegates from at least six countries. Vietnamese civilians and soldiers from all sides of the conflict claim health defects from the chemical that United States forces used to strip away jungle cover and destroy food crops.
A Vietnamese court on Friday convicted former British glam rocker Gary Glitter of sexually abusing two underage Vietnamese girls and sentenced him to three years in prison. The faded 1970s pop star was found guilty of "committing obscene acts with children" -- two girls aged 11 and 12 -- last year in the South China Sea resort town of Vung Tau.