Loas

Modern-day Laos has its roots in the ancient Lao kingdom of Lan Xang, established in the 14th Century under King FA NGUM. For 300 years Lan Xang had influence reaching into present-day Cambodia and Thailand, as well as over all of what is now Laos. After centuries of gradual decline, Laos came under the domination of Siam (Thailand) from the late 18th century until the late 19th century when it became part of French Indochina. The Franco-Siamese Treaty of 1907 defined the current Lao border with Thailand. In 1975, the Communist Pathet Lao took control of the government ending a six-century-old monarchy and instituting a strict socialist regime closely aligned to Vietnam. A gradual, limited return to private enterprise and the liberalization of foreign investment laws began in 1988. Laos became a member of ASEAN in 1997.

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Southeastern Asia, northeast of Thailand, west of Vietnam
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18 00 N, 105 00 E
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total: 236,800 sq km

country comparison to the world: 84

land: 230,800 sq km
water: 6,000 sq km
Lao 55%, Khmou 11%, Hmong 8%, other (over 100 minor ethnic groups) 26% (2005 census)
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Buddhist 67%, Christian 1.5%, other and unspecified 31.5% (2005 census)
general assessment: service to general public is poor but improving; the government relies on a radiotelephone network to communicate with remote areas
domestic: multiple service providers; mobile cellular usage growing very rapidly
international: country code – 856; satellite earth station – 1 Intersputnik (Indian Ocean region) and a second to be developed by China (2008)
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Lao (official), French, English, various ethnic languages
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41 (2010)

country comparison to the world: 104

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total: 9
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 3 (2010)
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total: 32
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 9
under 914 m: 21 (2010)
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refined products 540 km (2010)
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total: 36,831 km

country comparison to the world: 92

paved: 4,811 km
unpaved: 32,020 km (2007)
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4,600 km (primarily on the Mekong River and its tributaries; 2,900 additional km are intermittently navigable by craft drawing less than 0.5 m) (2010)

country comparison to the world: 24

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total: 1

country comparison to the world: 156

by type: cargo 1
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Southeast Asian states have enhanced border surveillance to check the spread of avian flu; talks continue on completion of demarcation with Thailand but disputes remain over islands in the Mekong River; concern among Mekong Commission members that China’s construction of dams on the Mekong River will affect water levels; Cambodia is concerned about Laos’ extensive upstream dam construction
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estimated opium poppy cultivation in 2008 was 1,900 hectares, about a 73% increase from 2007; estimated potential opium production in 2008 more than tripled to 17 metric tons; unsubstantiated reports of domestic methamphetamine production; growing domestic methamphetamine problem
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Japan

In 1603, after decades of civil warfare, the Tokugawa shogunate (a military-led, dynastic government) ushered in a long period of relative political stability and isolation from foreign influence. For more than two centuries this policy enabled Japan to enjoy a flowering of its indigenous culture. Japan opened its ports after signing the Treaty of Kanagawa with the US in 1854 and began to intensively modernize and industrialize. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Japan became a regional power that was able to defeat the forces of both China and Russia. It occupied Korea, Formosa (Taiwan), and southern Sakhalin Island. In 1931-32 Japan occupied Manchuria, and in 1937 it launched a full-scale invasion of China. Japan attacked US forces in 1941 – triggering America’s entry into World War II – and soon occupied much of East and Southeast Asia. After its defeat in World War II, Japan recovered to become an economic power and an ally of the US. While the emperor retains his throne as a symbol of national unity, elected politicians hold actual decision-making power. Following three decades of unprecedented growth, Japan’s economy experienced a major slowdown starting in the 1990s, but the country remains a major economic power. In March 2011, Japan’s strongest-ever earthquake, and an accompanying tsunami, devastated the northeast part of Honshu island, killing thousands and damaging several nuclear power plants. The catastrophe hobbled the country’s economy and its energy infrastructure, and severely strained its capacity to deal with the humanitarian disaster.

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Eastern Asia, island chain between the North Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Japan, east of the Korean Peninsula
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36 00 N, 138 00 E
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total: 377,915 sq km

country comparison to the world: 62

land: 364,485 sq km
water: 13,430 sq km
note: includes Bonin Islands (Ogasawara-gunto), Daito-shoto, Minami-jima, Okino-tori-shima, Ryukyu Islands (Nansei-shoto), and Volcano Islands (Kazan-retto)
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Japanese 98.5%, Koreans 0.5%, Chinese 0.4%, other 0.6%
note: up to 230,000 Brazilians of Japanese origin migrated to Japan in the 1990s to work in industries; some have returned to Brazil (2004)
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Shintoism 83.9%, Buddhism 71.4%, Christianity 2%, other 7.8%
note: total adherents exceeds 100% because many people belong to both Shintoism and Buddhism (2005)


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Canada

/Volumes/Data/Users/hafneque/Desktop/Geography_brochure.pages

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