Laos. According to Countryaah, the disappearance of Laotian agricultural expert Sombath Somphone has attracted international attention. The award-winning Sombath, 60, worked to develop ecologically sustainable and small-scale agriculture in Laos and had also made himself known as an opponent of the disputed Xayaburi dam construction, which is a joint venture between Laos and Thailand. A TV film, made December 15, 2012, revealed how Sombath was abducted by unknown offenders after being stopped at a police posting. Both EU parliamentarians and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called on the Laotian regime to investigate Sombath’s disappearance.
After about 15 years of negotiations, Laos joined the World Trade Organization in February.
Laos was also noticed when an aircraft belonging to the national company Lao Airlines crashed in the Mekong River and killed all 49 people on board. The plane was on its way from the capital Vientiane to Pakse in southern Laos when it crashed in the Mekong. The cause of the accident was reported to be bad weather with harsh winds.