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  2. Coalition Government Is Short-Lived
  3. One-Party Rule Continues as International Relations Improve

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National name: Sathalanalat Paxathipatai Paxaxon Lao

Current government officials

Languages: Lao (official), French, English, various ethnic languages

Ethnicity/race: Lao 55%, Khmou 11%, Hmong 8%, other (over 100 minor ethnic groups) 26% (2005 census)

Religions: Buddhist 67%, Christian 1.5%, other and unspecified 31.5% (2005 census)

National Holiday: Republic Day, December 2

Literacy rate: 73% (2005 est.)

Economic summary: GDP/PPP (2011 est.): $17.41 billion; per capita $2,800. Real growth rate: 8%. Inflation: 7.6%. Unemployment: 2.5% . Arable land: 4%. Agriculture: sweet potatoes, vegetables, corn, coffee, sugarcane, tobacco, cotton, tea, peanuts, rice; water buffalo, pigs, cattle, poultry. Labor force: 3.69 million (2010 est.); agriculture 75.1%, industry and services NA(2001 est.). Industries: copper, tin, and gypsum mining; timber, electric power, agricultural processing, construction, garments, tourism, cement. Natural resources: timber, hydropower, gypsum, tin, gold, gemstones. Exports: $2.131 billion (2011 est.): garments, wood products, coffee, electricity, tin. Imports: $2.336 billion (2011 est.): machinery and equipment, vehicles, fuel, consumer goods. Major trading partners: Thailand, Vietnam, China, (2011) .

Communications: Telephones: main lines in use: 107,600 (2011); mobile cellular: 5.481 (2011). Broadcast media: 3 TV stations operating out of Vientiane - 2 government-operated and the other jointly-owned by the government and a Thai company; 22 provincial stations operating with nearly all programming relayed via satellite from the government-operated stations in Vientiane; relays from Hanoi provide access to a Vietnamese TV station; broadcasts available from stations in Thailand and Vietnam in border areas; multi-channel satellite and cable TV systems provide access to a wide range of foreign stations; state-controlled radio with state-operated Lao National Radio (LNR) broadcasting on 5 frequencies - 1 AM, 2 SW, and 2 FM; LNR's AM and FM programs are relayed via satellite constituting a large part of the programming schedules of the provincial radio stations; Thai radio broadcasts available in border areas and transmissions of multiple international broadcasters are also accessible (2011). Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 1,532 (2012). Internet users: 300,000 (2009).

Transportation: Railways: 0 km. Highways: total: 39,568 km; paved: 530 km; unpaved: 39,038 km (2007 est.). Waterways: about 4,600 km, primarily Mekong and tributaries; 2,897 additional km are sectionally navigable by craft drawing less than 0.5 m. Ports and harbors: none. Airports: 42 (2012).

International disputes: 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 River Commission members that China's construction of dams on the Mekong River and its tributaries will affect water levels; Cambodia and Vietnam are concerned about Laos' extensive upstream dam construction.

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